Sergio Aguero nets as Manchester City battle to opening win
Premier League, Amex Stadium - Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Manchester City 2 (Aguero 70, Dunk OG 75)
Manchester City scored twice in the final twenty minutes to earn a hard-fought victory over newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion to kick-off their Premier League campaign.
Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock on 70 minutes and moments later Lewis Dunk headed into his own net, under pressure from Gabriel Jesus.
The title favourites had dominated possession in the first-half, but struggled to break down a stubborn Brighton defence. And, when an opportunity did open up, Brazilian striker Jesus could only head straight at Mathew Ryan from a matter of yards.
City’s frustrations increased after the restart when Aguero missed a gilt edged opportunity. However, it mattered little as the Argentine made amends shortly later - Kevin De Bruyne capitalised on Dale Stephens' mistake as he found David Silva, who slipped the ball through to Aguero with a first-time pass, with the striker making no mistake in front of goal.
Brighton’s defensive plan had been on point, until they conceded. And five minutes later City struck again when Dunk towered above Jesus but inadvertently headed in from Fernandinho’s teasing cross.
Lewis Dunk Manchester CityGetty Images
Different season, same old problems for City? Once again, Pep Guardiola’s side created plenty of opportunities, but as was the case so often last season, his strikers failed to put the majority of them away. OK, they did eventually find the break-through – but only after a Brighton mistake. Time will tell if Guardiola has truly found a way to address the problem. City looked fine defensively, but Brighton asked very few questions of them.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kyle Walker (Manchester City): The England international worked the channels wonderfully, offering an option in attack but also fulfilling his defensive duties. A solid addition to the Manchester City squad.
Brighton: Ryan 7; Bruno 6, Dunk 6, Duffy 6, Suttner 6; Brown N/A, Propper 7, Stephens 5, March 6; Gross 6; Hemed 6. Subs: Murray 5, Knockaert, 5, Murphy 6.
27’ – City’s goal disallowed! A great ball from De Bruyne feeds Jesus in behind the static Brighton defence. However, the Brazilian clearly handles the ball before he puts it into the back of the net. Bizarrely, he is given a yellow card for handling the ball. Weird, because it was clearly accidental.
33’ – MISS! Fantastic football from City, and the move warranted a goal. Silva and Aguero link up beautifully down the right side before the latter delivers a cross for Jesus inside the penalty area. However, the Brazilian sees his header from a few yards out brilliantly saved by Ryan.
53’ - GREAT CHANCE! Aguero capitalises on some poor defending from Brighton as he closes in on goal. However, he inexplicably curls it wide of the target. Could it possibly be Brighton's lucky day? The Argentine doesn't normally miss those!
56’ - SO CLOSE! City can only partially clear from the corner. The loose ball falls to Duffy who smashes it towards goal, but it goes inches wide of the post. It was almost a dream goal for the defender.
70’ - GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Manchester City. The break-through finally comes for the visitors - and it's Sergio Aguero on the score-sheet. He's played through by David Silva and makes no mistake as he slides the ball coolly past Ryan.
75’ - GOAL! Brighton 0-2 Manchester City. Under pressure from Jesus, Dunk heads the ball into his own net, after Fernandinho delivered a delicious cross. Game over, surely.
Les joueurs de Manchester City contre Britghton.Getty Images
- Manchester City have won each of their last seven opening day contests in the Premier League, the best current run in the competition.
- Brighton have won just one of their last six opening fixtures to a league season (D1 L4).
- Sergio Aguero has now scored against 30 of the 31 sides he has faced in the Premier League (only failing to score against Bolton).
- Aguero has bagged six goals in his seven opening day Premier League games.
- Lewis Dunk is the seventh player to score an own-goal on his Premier League debut.
- Since his Premier League debut in August 2010, David Silva has provided 65 assists in the competition, 14 more than any other player (Wayne Rooney next on 51).
- Brighton & Hove Albion have scored just one goal in total in their last four league games.
- Goalkeeper Mat Ryan attempted more passes than any outfield Brighton player in this match (27).
- Brighton enjoyed just 21.9% of the possession against Manchester City; last season their lowest share in a Championship game was 31.5% (vs. Huddersfield in February).
- Manchester City have failed to find the net in just one of their last 12 Premier League games, netting 29 in total in that run.