Man City 1-0 Brighton LIVE highlights and reaction as Phil Foden wins it for Blues
Manchester City returned to the Premier League tonight with a nervy win over Graham Potter's Brighton side.
City are looking to keep in touch with the top of the Premier League table after Manchester United moved three points clear last night. The Blues have two games in hand over United and Liverpool, and their next six fixtures are favourable compared to the top two, who face each other on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola, however, will be without five players for the clash against the Seagulls, with Sergio Aguero still isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. Cole Palmer and Eric Garcia are still isolating after their own positive tests, while Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are still injured.
Guardiola continued with a false nine again, with Bernardo Silva central and Phil Foden on the left. In a nervy game, City won the three points thanks to Phil Foden's well-taken goal on the stroke of half time.
Follow below for build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from the Etihad tonight.
Phil Foden has never had it easy at Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola refused to give the youngster minutes for the sake of it, forcing him to train with a smile on his face every day and improve until he could force one of the many world-class stars out of the team on merit.
As late as December, when the 20-year-old had gone seven league games without a start, there were still legitimate questions about whether a loan may be necessary for his development. A man-of-the match performance at Arsenal before Christmas ended with the manager declaring that Foden needed to learn to play at different paces.
On his fourth consecutive start, Stockport's finest showed that he has surely answered the questions that both Guardiola and the wider world had: he is no longer the future, he is the present.
With City struggling against a well-organised and brave Brighton, it was Foden that made the critical breakthrough as half-time approached.
Read the full report here.
Ederson: Did everything he needed to, be it making saves, commanding his area from corners or throwing the ball on quickly to start counter-attacks. 7
Cancelo: Was forced to do more defending than he has done in recent weeks and struggled to be as effective, although did nearly score a very nice individual goal in the second half. 6
Stones: A crunching header in the openings seconds of the game set the tone for one of his most dominant performances of the season. Brighton tested the defence but never got past him. 8
Dias: Comfortable on either side of the defence, Dias led the backline terrifically and also ventured forward as City probed. One of the leaders of the team already. 8
Read the full ratings here.
Phil Foden tells BT Sport that City are back to their best.
I feel we're back to our best. We can take confidence from the last few results. Today we could have done better but we dug deep to get the win so I'm proud of the team. We kept going to the final whistle. Overall it's a great result.
They defended well, they had a good game plan, and made it difficult for us to break them down. To get the goal before half time was really important and it ended up being the winning goal so I'm delighted.
I don't score too many right foot so when they come along I enjoy it. I always like to score goals and be there in the box. I want to keep scoring goals and I'm enjoying it at the moment.
We know we have a game in hand and have to think about next opponent and not too far ahead. We want to keep going with this form and pushing to win the league hopefully.
FT - City 1-0 BrightonKEY EVENT
A late Brighton free kick comes to nothing and the referee blows full time!
90+2' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Awful penalty. Sterling chips over the bar.
90+1 - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Kevin De Bruyne gets to a ball ahead of the goalkeeper and is brought down,
90' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
City are close to a win, but Brighton aren't done yet.
89' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Brighton have had two corners in the last couple of minutes. The first didn't beat the first man, and Ederson had an easy catch for the second. Wasted chances for the visitors and City won't complain one bit.
86' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Kevin De Bruyne is pushed over by Veltman in possession and has some words for the booked Brighton man but the referee tells them both to move away.
Khadra is on for his Brighton debut. Trossard off.
84' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Gabriel Jesus has moved into the middle, so Steve McManaman has calmed down. Sterling on the left.
82' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Phil Foden is replaced by Raheem Sterling.
81' - City 1-0 BrightonSimon Bajkowski
City need to get a handle on this game. This is where they need leaders to see it out and play at their pace. Guardiola just screamed at Jesus after he gave the ball away in his own half.
79' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Brighton sense they can nick a goal here, and are pressing forward as we approach 80 minutes. Ederson has been caught out a couple of times, and the visitors are growing in confidence.
77' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Webster gets a booking for Brighton, bringing down Bernardo.
76' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Steve McManaman, on BT Sport commentary, is incredulous that Gabriel Jesus has gone out to the left wing with Bernardo Silva staying central.
If he'd seen the game at the weekend, he'd know Jesus operated from the wing, and as he continues to recover from isolation, it's a better option to have him in the wide position.
68' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Gabriel Jesus is on for Riyad Mahrez, who doesn't seem happy with it as he speaks to Pep Guardiola before sitting down.
Brighton replace striker Percy Tau and Davy Propper. Neal Maupay and Solly March are on.
66' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Cancelo tiptoes into the area past a few helpless defenders and his shot is beaten away. Moments later, Kevin De Bruyne sees a shot saved too. Better from City.
65' - City 1-0 BrightonSimon Bajkowski
The good news is City are creating chances, the bad news is they really need to take them. This game is opening up so more opportunities should come but Guardiola will know they should be out of sight by now.
63' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Joel Veltman catches Phil Foden late and earns a booking.
Gabriel Jesus is being readied.
61' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Gareth, you know what to do.
59' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Riyad Mahrez is through on goal, shapes up the body and aims for the far corner but shoots wide, wastefully.
Then, Ilkay Gundogan forces a save and Bernardo sees a rebound come back off the post after doing well to keep possession.
58' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Phil Foden is putting on a show for the England manager.
56' - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
Davy Propper fires a volley towards goal from the edge of the area. Ederson is grateful it's straight at him and he collects.
52' - City 0-0 BrightonSimon Bajkowski
Jesus, Torres, and Sterling all warming up at the start of this season half as City hunt a second goal. Brighton showed enough in the first half for Guardiola to be concerned about this scoreline.
45' - City 0-0 BrightonJoe Bray
We're back underway!
HT - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
He's becoming an expert at those low, sharp finishes right in the bottom corner.
HT - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray
HT - City 1-0 BrightonJoe Bray