Thursday, May 23, 2024

Brighton 0-4 Manchester City: Foden at the double as champions leapfrog Liverpool

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Apr 2024

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Phil Foden scored twice as Manchester City leapfrogged Liverpool and kept the Premier League title race in their own hands by thrashing Brighton 4-0.

Foden moved onto 16 league goals for the season with a first-half brace at the Amex Stadium, seeing a free-kick deflect past a wrongfooted Jason Steele before stroking home after some reckless play from the Seagulls.

De Bruyne had earlier given City the lead with what was his 68th Premier League goal but the first with his head, as Pep Guardiola’s men made light of Erling Haaland’s injury-enforced absence.

Julian Alvarez added a fourth as City pulled two points clear of Liverpool and within one of Arsenal with a game in hand, knowing five further wins will guarantee they retain their crown.

Brighton, meanwhile, stay in the bottom half with 44 points, having been surpassed by Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Nathan Ake could not keep his shot down when presented with the first half-chance after a low-key start, but City went ahead with a brilliant goal after 17 minutes.

Foden slipped Kyle Walker in on the right flank, and De Bruyne watched the full-back’s cross all the way before sending a wonderful diving header into the top-right corner.

There was more fortune about City’s second, which arrived just nine minutes later as Foden’s free-kick deflected in off Pascal Gross amid Brighton complaints about how Foden won the set-piece.

Brighton only had themselves to blame when Foden got his second after 34 minutes, though. Valentin Barco conceded possession cheaply on the edge of his area, and Foden swept the loose ball into the bottom-left corner.

Ederson denied Joao Pedro as Brighton improved in the second half, but City had further daylight just after the hour mark, Walker breaking in behind and beating Steele to a loose ball, with Alvarez on hand to turn home.

Brighton were enraged when Josko Gvardiol avoided conceding a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Pedro, who skewed wide late on as City – who went close to a fifth through Jeremy Doku late on and face struggling Nottingham Forest next – claimed a statement win.

Foden’s star still rising

Foden has emerged as the favourite to be crowned Premier League Player of the Season, and he has gone up a gear in the run-in, also scoring a hat-trick on his last league appearance when City thrashed Aston Villa 4-1 earlier this month.

He was in imperious form again on Thursday, even if Brighton’s fans were not happy with the way he went down for the free-kick that ultimately resulted in his first goal.

That strike was Foden’s 50th in the Premier League, making him just the third player to score 50 top-flight goals under Guardiola while aged 23 or younger, after Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland.

It is no wonder Brighton’s fans are sick of the sight of the England man; he has eight goals in his last eight Premier League appearances against the Seagulls, more than he has scored against any other club in the competition.

Seagulls’ wings clipped

Hampered by injuries to the likes of Pervis Estupinan, Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson, Brighton have seen their European hopes falter in recent weeks and now appear to be limping to the finishing line.

Roberto De Zerbi’s team are winless in their last five Premier League games (two draws, three defeats) and sit six points adrift of the top seven with matches against Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Chelsea and Manchester United to come.

Brighton have even seen their supply of goals dry up, scoring just four times in eight league matches since thrashing Sheffield United 5-0 in February.

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