First half goals from Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland helped 10-man City return to action in winning style as we overcame Brighton 2-1 at the Etihad to regain top spot in the Premier League table.

The victory also saw City set another new Premier League record as it was our 21st consecutive win at the Etihad – beating the previous best run of 20 set by Manchester United.

Alvarez and Haaland had fired City into a 2-0 lead at the break before Brighton narrowed the deficit after the break through substitute Ansu Fati to set up a nervy last 15 minutes made all the more twitchy when Manuel Akanji was sent off deep into nine minutes of injury time after picking up a second yellow card.

But City held firm to provide the perfect response after successive league setbacks against Wolves and Arsenal and it also marked the ideal return in the wake of the October international break.

With Arsenal drawing 2-2 at Chelsea later on Saturday it meant City retained top spot on goal difference following a performance that was full of positives for Pep Guardiola and his players.



The meeting with Roberto De Zerbi’s side brought together two of the Premier League’s most attacking and aesthetically pleasing sides. Beforehand there was a poignant moment as a huge Tifo in tribute to the late, great Francis Lee was draped across the East Stand.

Ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola had spoken of his admiration for Seagulls boss De Zerbi and his philosophy and from the off it was clear both teams had come to play. A fifth minute sweeping move saw Jeremy Doku fire just wide before City struck with a seventh minute opener through Alvarez.

Doku was the architect this time, powering down the left flank before arcing into the box and drawing the ball back to the waiting Argentine.  Alvarez’s left-footed strike might not have been the sweetest of his career, but it powered in via his other foot to deceive Seagulls keeper Jason Steele and nestle in the back of the net.

It was his seventh goal of the season and one that helped get City off to the perfect start.Brighton continued to try and play but City looked in the mood – none more so than Haaland who demonstrated his hunger by rifling home a stunning strike to double our advantage on minutes.

The Norwegian received the ball midway in the Brighton half and powered forward before unleashing a thunderous 20-yard strike past Steele to rack up his 13th goal of the season and end a run of four games without a goal.

Phil Foden and Doku looked electric every time they received the ball, with Guardiola’s side continually asking searching questions of Brighton with our Belgian winger unlucky to see a 26th minute shot whistle wide after another surging run initiated by Foden.

With Rodrigo restored as the holding midfielder after his three-match ban and an imperious John Stone making his first Premier League start of the season there was both a grace and guile about City in the opening 45 minutes that made for bewitching viewing at times.

Brighton provided a reminder of their threat six minutes after the restart when Pascal Gross pinged in a close range shot that was just the wrong side of Stefan Ortega’s goal after wriggling free in the City box.

However more Foden brilliance teed up Haaland on 67 minutes as the England international’s teasing ball found our striker in the centre of the box. On this occasion though Steele was able to parry away the City man’s shot.

Goalkeeper Stefan Ortega then came to City’s rescue after substitute Fati had spotted a gap and put in the dangerous Mitoma. However, Ortega – making his first Premier League appearance of the season – rushed out of his box and made a fine stop to deny the Brighton man.

At the other end Dunk then prevented an Alvarez goal after Steele had dashed out of his goal to nick the ball off the advancing Doku.

Brighton were threatening though and on 74 minutes they narrowed the deficit through Ansu Fati, the on-loan forward neatly converting from close range after City had failed to clear a dangerous attack.

It made for a nervy finale - made all the more so when Manuel Akanji was sent off deep into injury time after picking up a second yellow card. But City deservedly held firm to claim a vital three points.

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