EPL

Manchester City 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Haaland double gets champions back on track

By Sports Desk October 22, 2022

Erling Haaland got back on the goal trail as his first-half double helped Manchester City to a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The Norwegian was kept quiet as City fell to their first defeat of the Premier League season at Liverpool last Sunday, but he bounced back in convincing fashion by putting the Seagulls to the sword.

Haaland was the beneficiary of an Ederson assist when he tapped into an empty net for his first, then rifled home a penalty to double up shortly before half-time.

Leandro Trossard dragged Brighton back into contention after the break, but Pep Guardiola's champions weathered the storm before Kevin De Bruyne made the points safe with a trademark long-range strike.

City toiled as Brighton kept things tight in the opening 20 minutes, but the hosts benefitted from a more direct approach when Haaland latched onto Ederson's lofted ball before shrugging off Aaron Webster to score the opener.

Lewis Dunk denied De Bruyne with a last-ditch block following a give-and-go with Jack Grealish 10 minutes later, but the Brighton defender was at fault when Haaland extended City's lead.

After a lengthy VAR review ruled Dunk had tripped Bernardo Silva in a crowded penalty area, Haaland blasted the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner, giving Robert Sanchez no chance.

However, Brighton needed just eight minutes to half the arrears after the break, as Trossard cut inside from the left before beating Ederson at his near post from 18 yards out, Solly March with the assist.

Trossard then forced Ederson into a reflex save as Brighton continued to push, but their efforts were undone when De Bruyne picked out the top-left corner with 15 minutes remaining, having been teed up by Silva. 

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    Montreal were beaten 3-1 by Columbus Crew in midweek and are now without a victory in six games in all competitions.

    That includes a three-game losing streak in MLS, leaving them 13th in the Eastern Conference, and Courtois is eager to get back on track.

    "It's up to me to find the winning formulas and discern the phases of the game," head coach Courtois said after the loss to Columbus.

    "We have to grit our teeth and find solutions. The difficult times we are going through help me identify my group. I want to know the players better. 

    "From all the negative aspects we can observe, I can identify a few individual aspects to improve the game or the team itself."

    Monreal's rivals Toronto have themselves lost back-to-back games ahead of Saturday's Canadian Classique at BMO Field.

    Nashville SC scored twice late on to snatch a 2-0 win in the Reds' most recent match, but acting head coach Jason deVos admits there can be no excuses.

    "The last ten minutes, two mistakes cost us and that's the cruelty of football sometimes - that it's a 90-minute match and you need to put in a 90-minute performance in," he said. 

    "The players are aware of that. They know where the growth areas are for us as a team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

    Montreal have conceded three or more goals five times across their 12 MLS games this season, which is tied with San Jose Earthquakes for the most in MLS.

    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

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    City head into the final day of the season in pole position, two points ahead of Arsenal and on the brink of an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title.

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    "At that moment, the destiny is in our hands," he said. "But if you are waiting for [Arsenal] to drop points again, you are wrong.

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    West Ham - Jarrod Bowen

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    MATCH PREDICTION: MAN CITY WIN

    This will be Moyes' 198th and final Premier League game in charge of West Ham – no permanent manager has a higher win rate for the Hammers in the competition than the Scotsman.

    However, Opta's model does not fancy the Hammers' chances. West Ham have lost 5-2 at Crystal Palace and 5-0 at Chelsea in their last two Premier League away games; the last team to concede 5+ goals in three consecutive top-flight away games were Blackburn Rovers (April-August 1965), while West Ham last did so in April 1932.

    City are the only side yet to lose a home Premier League match this season (W13 D5). City are looking to remain unbeaten at home in a top-flight season for a fourth time, along with 1904-05, 1920-21 and 2011-12, while manager Pep Guardiola has only gone a full top-flight season unbeaten once before, with Barcelona in 2009-10.

    West Ham have conceded at least once in all 17 of their Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium – only Tottenham have played at a specific venue more in the competition without ever keeping a clean sheet (18 at Emirates Stadium).

    City are unbeaten in their last 16 Premier League games against West Ham (W13 D3), since a 2-1 home loss in September 2015.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

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