Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne fire Man City past pesky Seagulls

Manchester City vs Brighton recap: Erling Haaland scored two more goals, and Kevin De Bruyne chipped in one of his own, as the two-time defending Premier League champions won 3-1 at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

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Saturday’s brace gives Haaland 17 goals in 11 PL games (plus five more goals in three Champions League games) to start the season and his Man City career. The victory moves Manchester City to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal, who are set to face Southampton on Sunday.

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What we learned from Manchester City vs Brighton

Man City not at their best, but they have Haaland

When a side has a goalscorer of Haaland’s quality and consistency, they’ll win more games than not even when they turn in a 5/10 or 6/10 performance (by their own standards), and that’s the biggest difference between Manchester City this season and in years past. Saturday’s game is one they might have very well drawn a season (or two or three) ago, as they created just a handful of scoring chances and found themselves uncharacteristically out-possessed and out-passed.

Now, they have the undisputed best striker in the world to make the absolute most of those key moments that too often went against Man City before his arrival, and he’s putting up the most gaudy, absurd numbers we’ve ever seen in the Premier League.

Brighton back down from no one

The Seagulls have earned every last plaudit they’ve received over the years for their steadfast commitment to dominating possession and playing some of the prettiest free-flowing football anywhere outside of Manchester. First under Graham Potter and now Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton play the same way whether they’re hosting Swindon Town in the FA Cup or visiting the champs on their best day.

The sides posted virtually identical numbers across the board, as they gave Guardiola and Co., a small taste of their own medicine (only without the same success in front of goal). The way Brighton play out of the back, build through midfield with overlapping full backs and unlock defenses in the final third often looks eerily similar to what we’ve come to expect from Man City over the years, and they acquitted themselves well against the best in the world.

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How to watch Manchester City vs Brighton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: Peacock
Online: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines

City have won nine of their 10 meetings against Brighton and they have won each of their last eight home league meetings against the Seagulls by an aggregate score of 21-2. The likes of Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne will be angry about losing at Liverpool last week but defeats like that happen throughout a season. City still look dominant and the reigning champs will come flying of the traps this weekend. Brighton had a fantastic start to this season but losing Graham Potter was obviously a huge blow and Roberto De Zerbi has a tough challenge to keep their rise going. They haven’t scored in their last three games under the Italian coach and although they are dominating possession and creating chances, that finishing touch is just missing once again.

In-form players to keep an eye on

Obviously Erling Haaland, who didn’t score at Liverpool but came close on a number of occasions. Phil Foden is also in superb form in attack and Kevin de Bruyne continues to pull all the strings and Rodri is a machine in midfield. Brighton’s Leandro Trossard continues to work wonders down the left flank, while Pascal Gross and Solly March are also creating chances galore.

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

John Stones, Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips remain City’s three absentees through injury, although Walker and Stones could return sooner than expected. Given they’ve had a full week to rest, expect to see a similar lineup to the team which lost at Liverpool.

Brighton team news, injuries, lineup options

Jakub Moder and Kaoru Mitoma remain out, while Levi Colwill has a knock. The Seagulls may switch things up in attack and start Deniz Undaz to try and give Danny Welbeck a bit of a rest.

Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne fire Man City past pesky Seagulls originally appeared on NBCSports.com