Brighton 0-4 Man City: Player ratings as champions punish woeful Seagulls

  • Man City eased to a comfortable 4-0 victory against Brighton at the Amex Stadium
  • Kevin De Bruyne's header and Phil Foden's double killed the game before half-time
  • Julian Alvarez provided a fourth after the break to punish a sorry Brighton side
Phil Foden was star of the show for Man City
Phil Foden was star of the show for Man City / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Manchester City waltzed to a routine 4-0 victory against Brighton on Thursday night to keep them in control of the Premier League title race.

Pep Guardiola's side found themselves out of sight with a three-goal lead at the break, with Phil Foden's brace adding to Kevin De Bruyne's earlier fantastic diving header.

Julian Alvarez's effort added some gloss to the scoreline in the second half as Man City moved to within one point of league leaders Arsenal with a game in hand.

How the game unfolded

After Arsenal demolished Chelsea and Liverpool fell to defeat in the Merseyside derby, the pressure was on the reigning champions to secure victory on the south coast. They made a bright start to proceedings, enjoying the majority of possession, but it was Brighton's Danny Welbeck who drew the first save of the evening from Ederson with his tame long-range strike.

However, it didn't take long for City to make their territorial dominance count and it was De Bruyne who put them ahead with a remarkable effort after 17 minutes. Kyle Walker's cross found the midfielder in the box and his brilliant diving header looped over the outstretched glove of Jason Steele.

It took just eight minutes for City to double their advantage and there was some controversy surrounding Foden's effort. The England international won a free-kick on the edge of the box after slipping under no contact, with his subsequent effort taking a huge deflection off Pascal Gross en-route to the back of the net.

But there was nothing contentious about City's third, with Foden grabbing his double to kill the game before the break. Brighton were caught playing out from the back and Bernardo Silva's interception fell at the 23-year-old's feet before he curled an effortless shot into the far corner in the 34th minute.

Brighton felt they should have had a penalty just a minute after the restart when Gross went down after contact with Rodri, but the referee and VAR didn't deem it enough to award a spot kick.

City did eventually grab a fourth just after the hour mark and the home side were once again left frustrated by the officials. The ball appeared to brush Walker's hand on its way to Alvarez following a collision with Steele, with the Argentine slotting home from close range. Referee Jarred Gillett was left unmoved by the incident, as was VAR official John Brooks.

Brighton's anger at the officials reached boiling point in the 70th minute when Joao Pedro appeared to be tripped in the penalty area by Josko Gvardiol. Once again, protestation fell on deaf ears.

But the hosts were unable to rally and reduce the deficit heading into the closing minutes, with City holding on for an incredibly comfortable - and crucial - victory at the Amex.

Brighton player ratings (4-2-2-2)

Valentin Barco
Valentin Barco was guilty of overplaying for Man City's third / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Jason Steele - 5/10 - Clearly instructed to play out from the back at all costs and, despite his passing being accurate, he often put teammates in trouble.

RB: Joel Veltman - 5/10 - Booked for booting the ball away as frustrations grew, with the Dutchman enduring a difficult evening. Hooked at the break.

CB: Jan Paul van Hecke - 5/10 - Made some decent blocks but struggled to cope with Man City's movement in the final third.

CB: Lewis Dunk - 5/10 - Some loose touches hardly inspired confidence at the back and he was sloppy in possession when playing out under pressure.

LB: Valentin Barco - 4/10 - The youngster's needless pass was picked off for Man City's third and he often struggled defensively against Walker. A baptism of fire on his first Premier League start.

CM: Carlos Baleba - 5/10 - Showed glimpses of his quality in more advanced positions, but he was bypassed far too easily by Man City's midfield. Booked for a cynical foul in the second half.

CM: Jakub Moder - 6/10 - Put in the hard yards in the engine room and did his best to stifle Man City's attacking threats.

AM: Pascal Gross - 5/10 - Unfortunate that he deflected Foden's free kick past Steele but he did very little to positively impact the game as Brighton's chief creator.

AM: Adam Lallana - 5/10 - Bar one neat Cruyff turn in midfield, the former Liverpool man was anonymous. Unsurprisingly withdrawn at half-time.

ST: Danny Welbeck - 6/10 - Tried his best with very limited service and was the liveliest of the forward unit.

ST: Joao Pedro - 6/10 - Signs of life in the second half and arguably could have won a spot kick with a smart run. Missed a sitter late on.


SUB: Simon Adingra (46' for Lallana) - 6/10

SUB: Odel Offiah (46' for Veltman) - 6/10

SUB: Igor (56' for Moder) - 7/10

SUB: Mark O'Mahony (75' for Welbeck) - 6/10

Subs not used: Bart Verbruggen (GK), Adam Webster, Facundo Buonanotte, Julio Enciso, Ansu Fati.


Roberto De Zerbi - 3/10 - A suicidal approach from the Italian as Brighton were continually picked off when trying to play out from the back. You simply can't play like that against the champions and expect to get away with it.

Man City player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne opened the scoring with a beautiful effort / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

GK: Ederson - 6/10 - Bar the odd bit of sweeping, he was rarely involved.

RB: Kyle Walker - 8/10 - Tested Barco with his frequent flying runs down the right and set up De Bruyne's opener and Alvarez's strike.

CB: Manuel Akanji - 7/10 - Seldom tested by Brighton's forward line and was tidy playing out from defence.

CB: Nathan Ake - 7/10 - Spurned one half-chance prior to Man City's opener but it mattered little in the end. A very quiet evening for the Dutchman defensively.

LB: Josko Gvardiol - 6/10 - Stepped forward when required but often wasn't needed in attack. Perhaps could have been punished for tripping Pedro in the penalty area.

CM: Rodri - 6/10 - A few wayward passes could have put Man City in trouble had Brighton been more clinical. The Spaniard also could have given away a penalty moments after the break.

CM: Mateo Kovacic - 7/10 - Drove forward impressively from midfield and offered some dynamism in central areas.

RM: Bernardo Silva - 7/10 - A subtle performance from the Portuguese, who kept things ticking along in the final third.

AM: Kevin De Bruyne - 8/10 - A fantastic first headed Premier League goal from the Belgian, who was gliding across the Amex turf effortlessly. Another influential outing.

LM: Phil Foden - 9/10 - Another majestic display from Foden who grabbed himself two first half goals. The first was slightly fortunate, but the second was typically graceful.

ST: Julian Alvarez - 7/10 - Some really good runs beyond the Brighton backline and his persistence paid off when he ended his goalscoring drought in the second half.


SUB: Jack Grealish (71' for Foden) - 6/10

SUB: Matheus Nunes (71' for De Bruyne) - 6/10

SUB: Jeremy Doku (78' for Silva) - 6/10

SUB: Rico Lewis (78' for Walker) - 6/10

SUB: Sergio Gomez (78' for Rodri) - 6/10

Susb not used: Stefan Ortega (GK), John Stones, Ruben Dias, Oscar Bobb.


Pep Guardiola - 8/10 - A sensational performance from his side, who cut Brighton open repeatedly and punished their risky tactics. Made a potential banana skin fixture look so, so simple.

Player of the match: Phil Foden (Man City)