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Into the Final Third
Manchester City moved into third place in the Premier League table Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Brighton.
A Phil Foden strike just before half-time is all the visitors would need to claim their seventh straight victory in all competitions.
The 1-0 result was probably a fair scoreline given the quality of City in comparison to Graham Potter’s side.
The Seagulls were resilient creating some good opportunities in the second-half but just lacked the quality it takes against a superior side.
Robert Sanchez played brilliantly through much of the match to keep the Sky Blues at bay.
He stoned Kevin De Bruyne who was sent in clean by Ilkay Gundogan in the 14th minute and saving the Belgian’s long-range effort in the 41st minute.
Phil Foden broke the deadlock in the 44th minute when De Bruyne picked him out brilliantly.
The City striker did well to turn away from his marker and place his shot in the bottom-left corner beyond the reach of Sanchez.
Brighton’s best chance came in the 56th minute when City failed to clear a corner from Tau.
The ball fell to Davy Propper on the edge of the area who drilled his effort at goal but Ederson came up with the save.
Sanchez and a little good fortune kept the match from getting out of hand in the second half.
In the 59th minute, he did well to stop an Ilkay Gundogan strike which came to Bernardo Silva whose rebound smashed against the post.
It should have been 2-0 when City got a penalty in the 92nd minute.
A weak header from Lewis Dunk back to his keeper forced Sanchez to take down De Bruyne.
Sterling stepped up to take the penalty but sailed his shot well over the bar.
In the end all it didn’t matter as City came away with three points.
Man of the Match
Playing against a pesky but resilient side Phil Foden’s quality won the day for City once again.
He was dangerous and creative down the right and had some great link-up play against a stingy Brighton defence.
City’s striker leads the team with eight goals in all competitions this season.
Five of those goals are game-winners.
With his proven quality to perform in the clutch, you got to wonder why he’s only started seven Premier League games this season.
Raheem Sterling’s going through a bit of a dry spell but it’s clear his manager still has full confidence in him.
Today was his 220th appearance under Pep Guardiola making him the most used player in the Spaniard’s illustrious coaching career.
His appearance moves him past perhaps the best player Guardiola ever coached Lionel Messi with Barcelona.
Sterling’s missed penalty means he’s now goalless in his last six matches across all competitions.
Freezing on the Spot
Penalty kicks might be an area City should get more practice at.
They haven’t had nearly the same amount of in-game practice as their arch-rivals from Old Trafford but they’ve missed two of their five spot-kicks this season in all competitions.
Since the start of last season City has missed seven penalties in the Premier League which is more than any other top-flight team.
Aiding in the goals
Kevin De Bruyne continues to be the main provider for Man City.
His assist today marks his 14th in all competitions this season which is more than any Premier League player.
Right now the Belgian is making a good case as to why he deserves Lionel Messi type money.
Today was his 99th assist with the club.
City boss Pep Guardiola says Brighton made life difficult at times for his side today.
“My first thought is Palace on Sunday. Because no matter if you are a top side or if you have the quality of players we have, when you are up against the personality and courage that Graham Potter’s team have it always will be difficult – we knew it.”
Seagulls boss Graham Potter said there’s a lot of positives his team can take from this game.
“So proud of the players, they gave everything against a top team. Second half I thought we improved our game, a bit more aggressive and it was a really really good performance. I thought the boys gave everything.
Results are hard to come by in this league, we have to make sure we perform well and with spirit. Our season won’t be defined by Manchester City away.”
City will host Crystal Palace on Sunday as they look to stretch their unbeaten run to 15 Premier League games.
The kickoff is at 7:15 pm. (JSL).