Manchester City confirmed their position as Premier League title favorites with a 2-0 professional win over Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening match on Saturday. While rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool gave uncertain start to the campaign, the city dominated its game against the new boys of the division. Only a failure to turn his dominance of the ball into goals raised doubts about his credentials. Pep Guardiola’s team played with a 76 percent possession, but only scored two goals, through Sergio Aguero after 70 minutes and a own goal of Brighton defender Lewis Dunk five minutes later.
Against a crowd of 30,415 spectators at Amex Stadium, Brighton failed to force a single save from Ederson, who had one of the quietest debuts of any goalkeeper in Premier League history.
It was the first game of the Great Seagulls since 1983. Coincidentally, their previous home game at this level had also been against City, a 1-0 defeat that confirmed their descent.
City also came down that season, but while Brighton can fight back on this evidence, the city looks in the mood to match the turnover of bookmakers.
Guardiola also gave debut to Kyle Walker and Danilo and Walker Pass gave the early nerves of the home side as he advanced to the right before cutting back a dangerous cross that Brighton cleared with difficulty.
Then Gabriel Jesus pulled the ball over Dunk’s head, only for his final pass to be intercepted by Ireland midfielder Shane Duffy.
Brighton seemed impressed by its visitors and it was fortunate for them that Danilo fired wildly after Solly March could not track his career.
As the men of Chris Hughton repeatedly gave him the ball, it seemed that it was only a matter of time before City put the ball in the net.
It happened after 27 minutes when Jesus entered Dunk to get a lofted pass from Aguero.
But when the ball bounced off the striker’s knee, he pushed Mathew Ryan with his arm before hitting the Australian goalkeeper.
Winded, needed treatment before rising from the grass to show him a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver.
– De Bruyne pounces –
Jesus should have scored a legitimate goal after 33 minutes.
Walker crossed again from the right, the ball passed over the giant Duffy to leave the Brazilian who was heading a free header.
Ryan got down well for parry, but it looked like Jesus should score from the rebound. Instead, he kicked the ball.
The city had given Brighton a lesson in possession and movement, but it did not end.
That should have changed when the City had an erroneously rejected goal within six minutes of the second half.
The assistant referee made a mistake when David Silva picked up Fernandinho’s forward and passed Jesus past an empty net.
But City had no excuses a minute later when the scary pass from Duffy sent Aguero. However, with only Ryan to beat, he deflected his shot wide.
Suddenly, there was a flurry of attacks from Brighton. After a corner kick, Duffy saw his shot deflect wide, but Dunk’s effort was blocked and Davy Propper crashed just beyond the post.
However, it was a brief respite from City’s continued attack.
Brighton were forced to step back in front of their own penalty area and could not get out, Walker almost a full time striker.
Kevin De Bruyne appealed for a penalty when his shot hit Dunk’s arm, but referee Oliver shook his head.
The breakthrough finally came with 20 minutes to play.
De Bruyne stole a tired Stephens to the right before playing the ball inside Silva and sent Aguero through to beat Ryan.
Five minutes later, Brighton also failed to clear their lines and the center of Fernandinho from the right was headed beyond his own goalkeeper by the unfortunate Dunk.