Manchester City 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero sent Manchester City top of the Premier League with victory over Brighton.

City had to wait until nearest rivals Liverpool had drawn with third-placed Chelsea in Saturday’s late game to discover whether their stay at the summit would be a brief one, but Pep Guardiola’s side ended the day top on goal difference.

The outcome of this match was never in doubt once Sterling broke the deadlock after 29 minutes, sliding home Leroy Sane’s cross after a swift counter-attack opened up the Seagulls defence for the first time.

The defending champions continued to dominate and Aguero made sure of the points on 65 minutes, firing home from a Sterling pass to finish a move he started.

City had 28 attempts at goal, while the visitors had just four.

And while Seagulls keeper Mat Ryan was kept busy throughout, the only action Ederson saw in the City goal was to comfortably collect an early looping header by Shane Duffy.

This was exactly the kind of emphatic win Guardiola will have wanted before his side attempt to get their Champions League campaign back on track against Hoffenheim this week.

City, surprisingly beaten at home by French side Lyon in their last home game, never looked like suffering a similar upset against the Seagulls.

Their Premier League record at the Etihad since the start of last season includes 20 wins from 23 games, and this was among the most convincing.

True, it took them time to find a way to break down a well-drilled Brighton side, but they had so much of the ball they always appeared in control.

City enjoyed 80% of possession and played 851 passes, compared to 210 by a Brighton side who sat deep and offered next to no threat on the counter-attack.

Brighton, who have not won on the road in the top flight since November 2017, are getting used to returning to the south coast empty-handed.

This was their 17th successive away league game without a win, and the 12th in that period in which they have failed to score.

There were few moments in this game when they looked like improving that record, and not many statistics offer them any encouragement to take away from Etihad Stadium.

The Seagulls had a late penalty appeal turned down when the ball appeared to hit Fernandinho’s arm in the box, but otherwise their attacking threat amounted to three corners and six touches inside the City area. At the other end, the home side managed 61.

Chris Hughton’s side as good as matched City in terms of work-rate, collectively covering only 1km less, but that was the only area on the pitch where there was not a noticeable gulf.

Their only positives came at the back – through the organisation of their defence and also a collection of fine saves by Ryan that helped keep the scoreline respectable.

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