Manchester City moved back ahead of Liverpool in their continued hunt for the Premier League crown, thanks to a 3-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday.
Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva wrapped up the three points for City on a night when they struggled to break the Seagulls down in the first half, but were much more effective after the break.
Unusually for a City game, the match wasn’t on TV, so we’ve rounded up a few bits which may have slipped under the radar from the Etihad…
No shortage of options
After Saturday’s loss at Wembley, City’s squad was very much under the microscope and questions were asked whether it lacks depth compared to Liverpool’s. In fact, the Sky Blues only had 12 senior, fit options on the bench for the FA Cup semi-final.
But that wasn’t a problem which affected the team against Brighton, with City boasting a bench containing seven first-team players, as well as Zack Steffen and Romeo Lavia.
Cole Palmer was also named among the substitutes for the first time in over three months, while Ruben Dias came on and played his first minutes since 1 March.
While it was a relief for Pep Guardiola to be able to call upon so many options, he will be concerned with John Stones’s early withdrawal from the game.
The defender seemed to pick up a knock late on and kicked the ball out in order to be taken off in the 77th minute.
Stones was moving gingerly when he made his way across the pitch and appears to have picked up a knock.
Third century for De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne was magnificent once again for City at the Etihad, and played a key role in two of the goals, while also driving the team on in the first half when their levels dipped.
The Belgian made his 300th appearance for the club on Wednesday and became just the 39th player to achieve such a feat for City.
After a slow start to the season, De Bruyne has really found his best form again in recent weeks and is regularly producing game-changing moments for City.
Laporte’s new trick
City started with Stones and Aymeric Laporte at centre-back, and they saw a lot of the ball in the opening period, as City had 66% possession and struggled to break Brighton down.
In an effort to find a way through, Laporte took it upon himself to drive forward with the ball as Rodri stepped in to plug the gap created by the defender.
Interestingly, this is a similar tactic used by Liverpool and Joel Matip, with Fabinho often sitting in and allowing the centre-back to surge forward.
Phil Foden beats Messi & Sterling stat
Foden started his 50th game for City on Wednesday, which incidentally, was his 50th under the management of Guardiola.
As per Opta, at 21 years and 327 days, Foden is the youngest player to reach a half century of starts under the Catalan, beating the likes of Sergio Busquets, Raheem Sterling and even Lionel Messi.
Foden marked the occassion by netting City’s goal of the night, which was deflected en route to goal.