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Five Things We Learned: Brighton 1-4 Manchester City (Premier League)

Manchester City ran away comfortable winners after a dominant first-half against Brighton in the Premier League at the Amex Stadium.

A brilliant opening spell saw City go into the break 3-0 leaders, with two goals from goals and an opener courtesy of Ilkay Gundogan.

However, Brighton came back into the game, levelling in the second half from the penalty spot after a misjudgement from Ederson gave the hosts some hope of getting back into the tie.

Despite a late scare for Pep Guardiola's side, Riyad Mahrez wrapped up the win in injury time, securing a hard-fought three points that saw the Sky Blues put a five-point gap between themselves and the Seagulls. 

Here's what we learned from an entertaining clash in the south coast-


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Brilliant Bernardo gets even better

Without a doubt, City's best player so far this season has been Portugal star Bernardo Silva. The midfielder wanted to leave in the summer, but has started the season on fire and shows no signs of slowing down yet. 

Against Brighton, the 27-year-old treated the City faithful to another dazzling performance, as he ran the show in the middle of the park with Kevin De Bruyne named amongst the substitutes.

On current form, one could make a pretty good argument that only Mohamed Salah is better in the Premier League right now, but there might be one other City player who could make the same claim.


Foden figuring out the false nine

For a long time, the player chosen to occupy Guardiola's famous 'false nine' position in this City side would usually be in for a pretty tough game. Goals and assists from that spot were rare, and they would usually be tasked with keeping the centre-backs busy. 

Judging by Phil Foden's excellent display against the Seagulls, those days could be coming to an end. The 21-year-old played like someone who is really coming to understand the demands of the position, and he's got the finish to back it up too.

While his second goal was fortunate, the first was an excellent example of the job of a centre forward. His assist for Mahrez at the death was just as impressive, having the awareness to pick out his man.


The right-wing remains a puzzle

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No, I'm not talking politics- I'm talking about the dilemma Pep Guardiola has on his hands on the right side of City's attack.

While Foden, Ferran Torres, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling can all play there, the battle for that spot this season has been between Mahrez and Jesus. Both are in excellent form, and both seem pretty set on playing on that side going forward- so how does Pep keep both happy? 

There's no doubt left, by the way, that Jesus will operate as a winger for City now. Against Brighton, he was excellent once again; his excellent footwork set up Grealish for the shot that he then followed up via a deflection, and the Brazilian also won the ball for City's first goal. 

With Mahrez comfortably City's top scorer right now, and Jesus in some of the best form of his career, I don't envy Pep when he has to choose who to start for each game. 


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Mr. Whippy's still got it!

There's constantly debate in the football world over whether City can win the Premier League title without a recognised striker in their ranks. It's easy to forget that Guardiola's side did exactly that last season. 

That achievement was largely down to Gundogan, who notched up a staggering 11 goals in 12 league games over a period of two months- 40% of City's total goals in that time.

And against Brighton, the German opened the scoring with a goal that was very much reminiscent of his hot streak last year. He nipped into space to turn home Bernardo Silva's pass, making a run into the box from deep just as he did to great effect against Spurs and Liverpool in the 2020/21 campaign. 

With Torres injured and Jesus now a winger, I'm sure we'll see at least a few more goals from the ex-Dortmund man this season.


Brighton will help City this season

When you're in a tight title race, it's good to know that some of the so-called 'smaller clubs' are capable of doing you the occasional favour and taking points from your rivals. 

City's victory at the Amex reinforced suspicions that Brighton away from home is one of the toughest fixtures most teams will face this season. The Seagulls pressed relentlessly in the second half, coming close to scoring far more than their one goal suggested, and did all that without a couple of key players. 

Guardiola will be relieved to get through this one with all three points, because I have no doubt that Graham Potter's side will take points from some of the other title challengers this season.


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