Manchester City won their first Premier League away match since February with a resounding victory.
It is indicative of the rise of Manchester City to become one of the World’s best known football clubs that every day appears to be accompanied by a clamour of news.
The fact that City pulled off such a comprehensive and well orchestrated away win despite all of the distractions surrounding the club, almost makes the sublime football more astonishing.
Pep Guardiola rang the changes for this match, rotating his players again. This time there were 6 changes from the 5-0 home victory over Newcastle including a whole new back four.
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This is a sign of what may be the back four to play at Wembley next weekend and I would expect most of these to be rested in midweek. But today we saw Benjamin Mendy, Aymeric Laporte, Eric Garcia and Kyle Walker and we looked comfortable throughout.
City needed a win to guarantee second spot in the Premier League and a place in the Champions League for next season. And City looked dangerous almost from kick off.
Raheem Sterling scored the first goal with a well hit shot from outside the area, beating the outstretched arms of Matthew Ryan in the Brighton goal. The run of poor form going into lockdown completely banished and City look like they have a new and rested player, striding into form at the critical point of the season.
Goal scoring chances flew by before Gabriel Jesus added a second, tapping in from a corner and reacting quickest to the breaking ball.
Sterling added his second early in the second half. This time it was an excellent header after delaying his run into the area and comnecting with a curling Riyad Mahrez cross.
Bernardo Silva added a fourth goal – his first in 20 games – with a rasping shot after his original attempt was saved.
Sterling completed the rout and secured his second hat trick of the campaign with a bizzare but satisfying goal. Losing his balance in the 6 yard box in a tangle with the defender, the ball bounced off his head whilst he was on the floor, through the keeper’s legs and evaded the desperate clawing attempts by the defender to clear.
City had dominated the game. The only slight downside was that Kevin De Bruyne had moved no closer to the Premier League Assist record, still there is always mid week.
This was job done. Second spot secured with a commanding performance, players fresh and rotated and the first of the remaining big games looming on the horizon in just 7 days time.
Until then attention turns to off field matters as the CAS result is expected tomorrow. But right now we should sit back and enjoy the beautiful football City are serving up.