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Manchester City have put their recent slump of form behind them with a convincing victory over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium. The Blues looked back to something close to their best for much of the game on Saturday afternoon with the returns of John Stones and Rodri undoubtedly contributing towards that.
Julian Alvarez opened the scoreline in the first minute after some tremendous work from Jeremy Doku, who was a menace down the left wing throughout. Ten minutes later and City had doubled the lead through Erling Haaland who scored a rare goal from outside the penalty area.
Brighton boss, Roberto de Zerbi would have been hoping for a better performance after the break but the Seagulls failed to ever really get into the match until Ansu Fati was introduced. The ex-Barcelona man gave his team more impetus and he pulled one back for Brighton with 20 minutes to go.
De Zerbi’s men pushed for an equaliser but one wasn’t forthcoming as City defended their lead expertly. The Blues have now leapfrogged Liverpool in the Premier League table after the Reds defeated Everton earlier in the day.
Man City 2-1 Brighton player ratings
7′ – GOAL: Jeremy Doku blitzes past James Milner on the left wing before pulling it back to Alvarez who sticks the ball past Steele.
19′ – GOAL: Erling Haaland picks up the ball near the edge of the box and rifle an effort past Steele to double City’s lead.
27′ – Jeremy Doku’s effort whistles past the far post after tucking in on to his favoured right foot.
67′ – Mitoma finds himself one on one with Ortega but hits it straight at the City keeper.
71′ – GOAL: Brighton pull a goal back through Ansu Fati after some tremendous work from Mitoma down the wing.
90+4′ – Manuel Akanji is sent off for Manchester City for a second bookable offence.
Star man – Jeremy Doku – 9/10
Jeremy Doku is a big problem for the rest of the Premier League in the sense that he provides Manchester City with a brand-new dimension. While Jack Grealish is adept at keeping the ball and drawing fouls, Doku is a throwback type of winger who looks to beat his fullback at every opportunity.
Against Brighton, Doku may well have made James Milner consider an early retirement with the experienced ex-Liverpool man run ragged by the Belgian. Time and time again he got behind the Brighton defence and was worth more than his solitary assist. If Doku can keep this level up then Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez are only going to get more goalscoring chances – a scary thought.
Jeremy Doku – First half by numbers
⭐️ 7.9 rating ⭐️
2 shots off target
4/5 successful dribbles
1 key pass
86% pass accuracy
6/8 ground duels won
— Matt’s stats (@MattsStat) October 21, 2023
Man City player ratings
Stefan Ortega 7/10 – Made a good save to deny Mitoma and his distribution was good.
Kyle Walker 5/10 – Was turned inside out by Mitoma on a few occasions in the second half.
John Stones 7/10 – A great return to action for the Englishman.
Manuel Akanji 3/10 – His sloppy touch gifted Fati a goal which brought Brighton back into the game and then got himself sent off in stoppage time.
Josko Gvardiol 6/10 – Solid defensively but not great offensively.
Rodri 7/10 – Provided the Blues with more composure in midfield.
Bernardo Silva 7/10 – Had a great first half and always seemed to be on the ball.
Phil Foden 6/10 – Can’t fault his effort but it just wasn’t his day.
Jeremy Doku 9/10 – A dazzling performance from the exciting winger.
Julian Alvarez 8/10 – A scruffy finish for his goal but they all count.
Erling Haaland 7/10 – Thumped the ball past Steele to put City 2-0 up.
🕸️ Julián Álvarez, on fire at Manchester City this season…
🏟️ 14 appearances
⚽️ 7 goals
👟 5 assists
…and 9 goals in 9 PL games for Erling Haaland, business as usual. 🤖 pic.twitter.com/98wV1BU9S2
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 21, 2023
Ruben Dias 6/10 – Provided some much-needed stability in the dying minutes.
Jack Grealish 6/10 – Retained possession at the top of the pitch for City.
Brighton Player Ratings
Jason Steele 6/10 – Couldn’t have done anything about the goals but he was a bit rash with his distribution.
James Milner 3/10 – Torn apart relentlessly down City’s left wing.
Lewis Dunk 6/10 – Was a bit sloppier than usual but made a crucial goal-line clearance.
Igor 6/10 – A solid enough performance from the Brazilian.
Solly March 5/10 – Was twisted in and out in the first half.
Carlos Baleba 6/10 – Grew into the game after a poor start.
Pascal Gross 6/10 – Was good in possession but was lazy out of it.
Simon Adingra 6/10 – Wasn’t his day but he never stopped trying.
Danny Welbeck N/A
Kaoru Mitoma 7/10 – Had a quiet first half but gave Walker a torrid time in the second.
Joao Pedro 6/10 – Linked the play up nicely but the ball wouldn’t quite fall to him.
Evan Ferguson 6/10 – Was a handful but didn’t really get a sniff at goal.
Joel Veltman 6/10 – Fared slightly better against Doku.
Ansu Fati 8/10 – Deserved his goal and drove Brighton on.
Billy Gilmour 6/10 – Provided some energy in the middle.
Man City 2-1 Brighton player ratings: The final word
Although Pep Guardiola won’t have been overly concerned about their recent defeats to Wolves and Arsenal, he will have been pleased to have seen his team back in form on Saturday. The reintroduction of Stones and Rodri made City far more comfortable and composed in possession which allowed them to stifle Brighton throughout.
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