Kevin De Bruyne stood out as Manchester City retained the top spot on the Premier League table with a 3-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Manchester City dominated the proceedings from start to finish, with Brighton & Hove Albion barely getting a sniff at Ederson Moraes’s goal. But despite their dominance, the hosts could not find a way past Robert Sanchez, even though the Brighton goalkeeper tried to gift them a strike in one instance.

Riyad Mahrez was the guilty party in the opening period, as he spurned a few opportunities to break the deadlock, especially when he got the ball at his straight from Sanchez. But Mahrez made amends by breaking the deadlock early in the second half, although he needed a stroke of luck as his shot took a wicked deflection off Joel Veltman.

Manchester City doubled the advantage over Brighton midway through the second period with another deflected effort, as Phil Foden’s tame strike from outside the box somehow found its way past a wrong-footed Sanchez. But a slick move rounded off the win for Manchester City, as Oleksandr Zinchenko intercepted a clearance before finding Kevin De Bruyne.

De Bruyne then produced a brilliant first-time pass to find Bernardo Silva, whose snapshot went into the back of the net. The 3-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion took Manchester City back to the top of the Premier League table after Liverpool had momentarily scaled the summit following their 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.

Ederson Moraes: 6/10

Ederson replaced Zack Steffen in the Manchester City goal and barely had anything to do on Wednesday. The Brazilian goalkeeper had just one save to make and completed all but three passes, with Brighton hardly troubling him.

Joao Cancelo: 6/10

Cancelo started the game as the right-back before moving to the left flank and finally ending the game as a right-back again. The Portuguese international looks much better as a left-back, although he was solid enough against Brighton. But Kyle Walker’s return cannot come soon enough.

John Stones: 6/10

Danny Welbeck hardly troubled John Stones on Wednesday, meaning the English international practically had the night off apart from making a couple of interventions. All Stones had to do was pass the ball forward quickly, which he did without much fuss. He went off in the second half due to a knock.

Aymeric Laporte: 7/10

Laporte was a rock at the heart of the Manchester City defence, making numerous clearances (six) to keep the ball as far away from Ederson Moraes as possible. The Spanish international was also precise with the ball at his feet and moved the ball forward quickly in what was a professional display.

Nathan Ake: 6/10

A day after receiving praise from Pep Guardiola, Ake’s run in the side continued as he started as the left-back. But the Dutch international was not as influential as he has been lately, with the demands of the position not suiting him. Guardiola hooked him off at half-time due to a knock.

Kevin De Bruyne: 9/10

De Bruyne was the clear standout performer across the two teams, as he constantly looked to make things happen, playing a game-high five key passes. The Belgian playmaker deserved more assists than the one he grabbed late on with a delectable first-time ball to release Bernardo Silva for Manchester City’s third. Nonetheless, it was a solid display by De Bruyne.

Rodri: 6/10

Rodri replaced Fernandinho in the starting lineup and was hardly an upgrade in the middle of the park. While the Spanish international never looked in trouble, he was slow to move the ball, meaning Manchester City did not pose as great a threat as they would have liked. He needs to do better next week against Real Madrid.

Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10

Gundogan was not quite at his best, even though he constantly looked to push Manchester City forward. The German international lost the ball cheaply on a few occasions and never looked like scoring. The Gundogan of last season is nowhere to be seen.

Riyad Mahrez: 7/10

Mahrez returned to the starting lineup and could have had a first-half brace if not for poor finishing. The Algerian international should have definitely done better after Robert Sanchez gifted him the ball. But he made amends with a deflected goal early in the second half before grabbing the assist for Phil Foden’s strike.

Bernardo Silva: 7/10

Bernardo Silva produced a performance that took everyone back to the season’s first half. The Portuguese international ran his socks off and was never lacking for effort. And he capped off a solid outing with a superb first-time finish after receiving the ball from De Bruyne.

Phil Foden: 7/10

Foden concentrated more on circulating possession instead of foraying into the Brighton box, with Tariq Lamptey pinning him to the left byline for large parts. While that did not curb his creative output, Foden did not look his domineering self until he unleashed a strike that deflected into the back of the net.

SUBSTITUTES

Ruben Dias: 6/10

Ruben Dias was the Player to Watch in our preview, and he got the perfect game to ease his way back into the thick of the action. The Portuguese international barely broke a sweat, won all his duels and completed all but two passes in a solid second-half showing.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7/10

Zinchenko replaced an injured Stones and showed tremendous awareness to win the ball in the build-up to Bernardo Silva’s goal, finding Kevin De Bruyne with the “pre-assist”. Otherwise, he was solid enough and helped see the game out.

Gabriel Jesus: N/A

A late introduction, Jesus barely got a touch on the ball in the game’s dying embers.

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