Manchester City Breaks Down Resilient Brighton & Hove Albion to Claim Opening Win
Many pundits' pick for the Premier League title welcomed Brighton and Hove Albion to the Premier League in Saturday's late kick-off, as the raucous AmEx Arena hosted its first top flight game.
David Silva has also shaved his head and it's really weird.
As was to be expected with City's enormously bolstered forward line, Pep Guardiola's side flew out of the traps against their hosts, with only some dogged Seagulls defending keeping them from falling behind within the first five minutes, with Gabriel Jesus looking sharper than one of his manager's suits.
Guardiola's Citizens quickly exerted something resembling a stranglehold on proceedings, camped in Brighton's third, with very little offered, even on the break, for the bedraggled Seagulls, whose backs were basically stapled to the wall at points.
Things went from bad to worse for Hughton's side after 23 minutes, when young, promising, Chelsea loanee (imagine that) Izzy Brown had to be withdrawn through injury, to be replaced by Jamie Murphy.
City had the ball in the net after 26 minutes through Jesus, but the goal was ruled out due to an accidental ricochet onto the Brazilian prodigy's arm on it's way into the net. It was a shame, as Kevin De Bruyne's assist was nothing short of staggering.
Stranger still was the fact that Jesus effectively got booked for being both really brave (Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan totally wiped him out), and really unlucky.
Gabriel Jesus died and got a yellow card on the same play— Taylor Sturm (@TSturm13) August 12, 2017
Ryan thwarted Jesus even further less than ten minutes later, with a fine, point-blank save from a close range header, with the rebound crashing off the post too.
Brighton were able to hold firm, and received a roar of approval from their home fans when the half time whistle sounded.
The second half continued in much the same vein; City even had a glorious move and goal denied by the linesman's flag once again.
Brighton's endeavour was nearly undone shortly after when Shane Duffy gave possession away in the cheapest possible fashion, only for Sergio Aguero to blaze wide under an uncharacteristic amount of pressure.
Jesus and Aguero have both missed extremely good chances now. Wasters. Iheanacho would've scored those.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 12, 2017
Brighton's first attempt at a counter then saw new signing Davy Propper head over Ederson's goal, but City looked nervy for the first time, especially when Duffy missed narrowly from the ensuing corner.
Every time the Seagulls took a corner, there was utter bedlam in the City box, with Ederson largely at fault for haplessly missing the ball from the deliveries, and causing loads of stress for his teammates.
Everything was just a few yards/seconds/touches away from properly clicking for Pep's side, but Brighton's discipline and concentration was certainly impressive, particularly considering their inexperience in the Premier League, and the pedigree of their opposition
Brighton's back line was finally breached after some superb work from De Bruyne, as he pressed excellently, and started another flowing move, which saw Aguero played in by David Silva, to give City their long-deserved lead.
With the best part of 20 minutes still on the clock, everything started to go right for Pep's men, and soon after they were 2-0 up, with Gabriel Jesus yet again denied, as the headed finish went down as a Lewis Dunk own goal; exceedingly harsh on both men, who were very impressive all game.
Pep then started showing off by bringing on the likes of Leroy Sane, and Bernardo Silva, just because, y'know, he can. City proceeded to see out a victory, with a scoreline that didn't do justice for how hard they had to work for it.
Despite the defeat, Brighton can hold their heads high; they defended ably (better than Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, in fact), and held off the best attack in the league for a long period of the game, and going forward look an interesting proposition on the counter.
For City, however, it looks like the first of many victories this season.