Phil Foden’s dazzling performance saw Manchester City unstoppable and threatening the top of the Premier League.Champions refuse to enjoy everything they’ve achieved, writes Matt Barlow


manchester city They have been champions for more than a thousand days since winning the title in May 2021, and there is evidence that they are in no mood to give up the honour.

Of all the attributes of Guardiola and his team, perhaps the most impressive is the desire to keep going. Refuse to enjoy everything they have accomplished. Dealing with the disappointment of losing to Real Madrid in the Champions League on penalties and calling for more.

On Tuesday, they saw Arsenal beat Chelsea five times. Liverpool dropped three points in Wednesday’s Merseyside derby. They reacted like champions. Seems immune to anxiety.

Despite Haaland’s absence, he scored three goals in the first half against Brighton to take control of the game. Kevin De Bruyne scores his first Premier League header. Phil Foden added two more in his most prolific season yet. Julian Alvarez ends his personal fight drought.

Manchester City are threatening and are just a point away from the top with a game to go. They are at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, where leaders Arsenal clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after opening the scoring against Brighton

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after opening the scoring against Brighton

In the 17th minute, De Bruyne's diving header bypassed goalkeeper Steele.

In the 17th minute, De Bruyne’s diving header bypassed goalkeeper Steele.

In the 26th minute, Phil Foden's free kick was deflected, doubling Manchester City's advantage.

In the 26th minute, Phil Foden’s free kick was deflected, doubling Manchester City’s advantage.

Foden scored the third goal in the 34th minute after a mistake by Brighton's Valentin Bacco

Foden scored the third goal in the 34th minute after a mistake by Brighton’s Valentin Bacco

An unprecedented four consecutive championships are coming. Of course, the 115 accusations of financial misconduct are hotly debated, but if they succeed, it would be an epic feat of sporting endurance and one that would surely be appreciated by Russ Cook, a An inspiring Worthing runner, dubbed the toughest old man, ran nearly 10,000 miles across Africa in 352 days.

Cook, who has raised more than a million dollars for charity, returned to Sussex shores last night to witness Manchester City’s ruthless machine crush his hometown club.

Plagued by injuries, Brighton are stumbling towards the finish line. It’s been a grueling journey and it’s their first time experiencing the complexities of European competition. However, they are challenging in the top half and any game at the Amex Stadium could be an embarrassing one even for those teams in contention for the title.

Match facts and player ratings

Brighton (4-2-3-1): Steele 5.5; Veltman 5 (Ofea 46 minutes, 6), Van Herk 6, Dunk 6, Bako 5; Baleba 5, Modern 5.5 (Igor 56, 6); Lara Na 5 (Adingra 46, 5), Gross 5, Pedro 5; Welbeck 6.5 (O’Mahony 75, 5).

reserved: Veltman, Baleba.

manager: Roberto De Zerbi 5.

Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Ederson 6; Walker 7.5 (Luis 79), Akanji 6.5, Ake 6.5, Gvadio 7; Rodri 7 (Gomez 79); Silva 7 (Doku 78), Deb Laune 7.5 (Nunez 72, 6), Kovacic 7, Foden 8 (Glarish 72, 6); Alvarez 7.5. Scorers: De Bruyne 17, Foden 26, 34, Alvarez 62.

manager: Guardiola7.

referee: Jared Gillette 5.5.

Attendance rate:31,596.

Roberto De Zerbi opted for a back five and Jakub Model advanced into midfield after winning possession, as if trying to overtake Guardiola in a fluid, varied formation that saw the forwards stretch towards midfield. Space, creating space for the midfielders.

Everything looked good and the home team got off to a confident start. They controlled the game for 15 minutes when Danny Welbeck sizzled on the turf, forcing Ederson into an early save.

Then City found a rhythm with Foden at its core. In the opener, he probed left to right along the edge of Brighton’s penalty area before releasing Kyle Walker, who crossed to De Bruyne, who summoned him unmarked. Keith Houchen inside.

De Bruyne soared, caught the ball perfectly in mid-air and headed it into the top corner, just like he does every week.

If it was an aesthetic treat, City’s second brought good luck. Foden was once again the catalyst, accelerating suddenly and falling as he reached the penalty area. He made a tackle and Lewis Dunk put his arm around his waist and gave him a tap, but Foden kept going and appeared to slip on the edge of the box rather than dive.

Referee Jared Gillett ruled it a foul. He delivered on most of what City asked for throughout the evening, much to the dismay of the home fans. They booed him at the end, and indeed, nearly every marginal decision went to the championship team.

Still, the referee was not the reason for the result, and there was no doubt about it from the moment Foden won the free-kick to make it 2-0. He sprinted toward goal and his curling shot hit Pascal Gross on the back and deflected, leaving Jason Steele stranded.

Brighton had just overcome their sense of unfairness when they handed their third trophy to the visiting team. Junior Valentin Barco played a complex one-touch pass into his own box but made a mistake under pressure.

Bernardo Silva swooped in and quickly passed the ball to Foden, who effortlessly passed the ball to Steele. It was a clinical performance that resulted in three goals in 17 minutes. From a positive start, Brighton found themselves out of contention.

Julian Alvarez scored the fourth goal when he fired the ball into the net after a run by Kyle Walker

Julian Alvarez scored the fourth goal when he fired the ball into the net after a run by Kyle Walker

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson tackles Brighton striker Joao Pedro

Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson tackles Brighton striker Joao Pedro

Pedro collapses after altercation with Ederson and Josco Gvardiol

Pedro collapses after altercation with Ederson and Josco Gvardiol

'The toughest old man' Russ Cook joins Brighton fans ahead of Thursday night's game

‘The toughest old man’ Russ Cook joins Brighton fans ahead of Thursday night’s game

They might consider Dunk’s chance when the game is tied at 1-0. Dunk climbed up to the corner without any hindrance. However, his header was too close to the goalkeeper and City’s mood was so damaging that they soon got rid of the goalkeeper.

Alvarez, who has not scored in the Premier League since January, made it 4-0. The goal this time was a brutal, simple long pass. Ederson shot the ball towards Walker 80 yards from his own penalty area. Steele rushed out of the line, stuffed the ball at Walker’s feet, and the ball flew out.

A handball claim was made. Steele thought the rebound had caught Walker’s arm and turned to Alvarez, who found the net. VAR made no save. Then Joao Pedro fell down in the penalty area and referee Gillette did not award a penalty kick.

It was Brighton’s 100th defeat in the Premier League, against a team that first lost in 2017. They won’t enjoy the symmetry, but moving on, Manchester City, English football’s toughest old boys, are five wins away from their crowning glory.



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