Phil Foden was the standout performer while Kevin De Bruyne was once again excellent as Manchester City eked out a 1-0 win over Brighton on Wednesday.
Manchester City dominated the proceedings as expected, but did not have too many chances to take the lead in the first half. Kevin De Bruyne came the closest to scoring before they actually broke the deadlock, with Robert Sanchez denying him fabulous stops on each occasion. On the other end, Leandro Trossard was wasteful at the end of a counter-attacking move.
The goal finally came moments before half-time, as De Bruyne teed up Phil Foden, who produced a fine finish to make it 1-0. Post the interval, City started to pile on the pressure, but could not add to their advantage, with Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva all coming close.
The worst miss of the lot, though, came from Raheem Sterling, who failed to convert from the spot in the final minute after De Bruyne had been brought down by Sanchez inside the Brighton box. However, Foden’s goal was enough to earn all three points, as Manchester City climbed to third on the Premier League table. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.
Ederson Moraes: 7/10
Back into the starting lineup after regaining his fitness, Ederson was not tested a great deal by the Brighton attack. However, the Manchester City no. 1 was at hand to deny Davy Propper. Most importantly, he moved the ball quickly to ensure that the tempo did not drop from the onset of the moves.
Joao Cancelo: 7/10
Starting ahead of Kyle Walker in the right-back slot, Cancelo was not given as many opportunities to charge forward as he would have liked. Fairly solid at the back, he won 6 duels and completed a couple of tackles as well. However, it is a wonder how Riyad Mahrez did not finish off from a superb pass by the Portuguese international, who also came close to scoring himself. A solid day at work.
John Stones: 8/10
Back in the starting lineup, Stones continued his solid partnership at the heart of the Manchester City defence with Ruben Dias. The Englishman covered a lot of space on the right side of the pitch and was dominant in the air, while also making an important block to preserve the clean sheet.
Ruben Dias: 8/10
Another dominant performance at the back by Dias, who was once again a defensive leader for Manchester City. The Portuguese international won 4 duels while making some crucial clearances on the night. Tidy in possession, Dias lost the ball just 5 times all game while boasting a brilliant 96 percent passing rate. Such an important player for City.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: 6/10
Installed in the left-back role ahead of Benjamin Mendy, Zinchenko did not grab his opportunity all too well. The Ukrainian international was targeted by Brighton in order to create the openings, with Percy Tau, in particular, having a lot of joy against him. Having said that, Zinchenko was neat in possession, completing 98 of the 104 passes he attempted.
Kevin De Bruyne: 8/10
Kevin De Bruyne’s game by numbers vs. Brighton:
87% pass accuracy
32 final third passes
5 shots [3 on target]
4 tackles won
3 successful take-ons
3 chances created
3 fouls suffered
1 penalty won
Probably should’ve taken the penalty too. 😅 pic.twitter.com/aWvSKO5KMG
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 13, 2021
Manchester City’s talisman was in his elements once again versus Brighton. The Belgian playmaker engineered several openings and came close to scoring a couple of times as well. De Bruyne set Phil Foden up for the winner and also won a late penalty that Raheem Sterling should have converted.
Stationed at the base of the midfield once again, Rodri was an able protector of the Manchester City defence on Wednesday. The Spaniard saw a lot of the ball and moved it forward efficiently. Won 6 duels while also making 4 clearances. Such a reliable figure.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6.5/10
A game of hits and misses for Gundogan. While the German international was a catalyst in the dominance that Manchester City enjoyed in midfield, he could have also been on the score sheet. Typically put a shift in off the ball, though, while also creating a decent chance.
Riyad Mahrez: 6/10
Another player who was hit and miss against Brighton. Mahrez played in as many as 3 key passes and hardly misplaced passes. However, he also made that inexplicable miss from Cancelo’s pass. Needs to do better in front of goal.
Bernardo Silva: 6.5/10
Essaying the false nine role, Silva had the movement to excel in it and bring his teammates into the game. Never stopped putting in an effort and completed each of the 4 take-ons he attempted. The 26-year-old also created a couple of chances but was denied by the woodwork with his only effort. Growing in stature again.
Phil Foden: 9/10
Phil Foden has now scored eight goals across all competitions this season, more than any other Man City player.
Guardiola's new go-to goalscorer. pic.twitter.com/iESMFzRXJe
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2021
The man who made all the difference for Manchester City against Brighton. The English prodigy was a constant outlet on the left flank and created a couple of decent opportunities. The big moment for Foden, though, was the brilliant finish that earned City all three points on Wednesday. Now the club’s top scorer this season, Foden is becoming indispensable.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
On for Mahrez, Jesus struggled to get into the game and did not aim a single shot at goal. Needs to step up to usurp the other regulars in the side.
Raheem Sterling: N/A
A late introduction, Sterling had the chance to add sheen to the scoreline, but his miss from the spot was horrendous.