On target: Erling Haaland. Alamy Stock Photo
Premier League wrap

Manchester City back to winning ways as Erling Haaland helps sink Brighton

Newcastle up to fifth following easy win over Palace, while Brentford beat Burnley and Wolves come from behind against Bournemouth.

LAST UPDATE | 21 Oct 2023

ERLING HAALAND GOT back on the scoresheet as Manchester City returned to winning ways with narrow 2-1 win over Brighton.

Evan Ferguson was introduced off the bench early in the first half, yet the Ireland striker had few opportunities to turn the game in Brighton’s favour.  

After suffering successive defeats prior to the recent international break, the champions were in danger of falling to three consecutive Premier League losses for the first time under Pep Guardiola.

That did not seem likely once play began at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as early goals from Julian Alvarez and Haaland – his first City strike in four matches – put them on course for three points.

A reply from Brighton substitute Ansu Fati 17 minutes from time made for a nervous finish – and tension increased when Manuel Akanji picked up a second yellow card in stoppage time – but City held on.

Sky Sports Premier League / YouTube

For most of the game, City had looked more like their assertive selves with Rodri back after his costly recent suspension. The return of John Stones also brought more assurance, even though first-choice goalkeeper Ederson was on the bench after his recent international exertions for Brazil.

Brighton have impressed under Roberto De Zerbi – of whom Guardiola continually speaks highly – but, for all their enterprising play, their defence is proving leaky and their openness was quickly exploited.

Phil Foden troubled the visitors early on as he seized possession and broke forward to release the lively Jeremy Doku, who cut inside and curled over.

The opener was not long in coming and again Doku glided through the defence to reach the byline and pull back for Alvarez.

The Argentinian World Cup winner’s strike was not the cleanest but such is his confidence that his first-time shot had too much power as he beat Jason Steele for his seventh goal of the season.

City maintained the pressure with another break from deep ending when Josko Gvardiol shot straight at Steele.

Kaoru Mitoma had Brighton’s first opportunity but his tame effort was easily dealt with by Stefan Ortega and the Seagulls suffered a blow when Mancunian Danny Welbeck was forced off injured after 15 minutes.

Haaland took further advantage of Brighton’s defensive weakness as he ended his recent – by his extraordinary standards – goal ‘drought’ by doubling City’s lead on 19 minutes.

The Norwegian was given too much space as he powered towards the box before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner from distance.

Alvarez attracted the attention of the VAR after a push on Pascal Gross but nothing was given and Doku threatened again when he beat veteran former City player James Milner but missed the target.

Brighton started to show life early in the second half as Gross skewed a shot wide under pressure.

Haaland latched onto a Foden pass just after the hour but his strike was beaten away by Steele.

Mitoma had another good chance after getting behind the City back line but Ortega rushed out to block on the edge of the area.

That was a warning City failed to heed and moments after Alvarez’s attempt to lob a stranded Steele dropped short, they were caught on a rapid counter-attack.

Brighton quickly shifted the ball upfield and, although Mitoma’s attempt to pass into the danger area was cut out by Akanji, Fati was on hand to turn in the rebound.

Brighton pressed to the end but struggled to create meaningful chances. Akanji’s late dismissal brought more jitters for the home fans, but City completed the job. 

newcastle-uniteds-callum-wilson-celebrates-scoring-their-sides-fourth-goal-of-the-game-during-the-premier-league-match-at-st-james-park-newcastle-upon-tyne-picture-date-saturday-october-21-2023 Newcastle's Callum Wilon celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Elsewhere, Newcastle, whose early-season struggles are now a distant memory, romped to a 4-0 win against sorry Crystal Palace, with goals from Jacob Murphy, Anthony Gordon, Sean Longstaff and Callum Wilson.

The win, their fourth in five Premier League matches, lifts Eddie Howe’s men to fifth in the Premier League.

Sky Sports Premier League / YouTube

Brentford beat Burnley 3-0 while Wolves came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Sasa Kalajdzic.

Luton recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against Nottingham Forest, with Ireland’s Chiedozie Ogbene scoring his first Premier League goal.

Manchester United play bottom club Sheffield United in the late kick-off, with Old Trafford in mourning over the death of club great Bobby Charlton.

Tottenham, who started the day at the top, are not in action until Monday, when they host Fulham.

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