Football News

Man City make it 30 games unbeaten as Foden receives Ballon d’Or shouts

By James Amey

Published: 22:06, 25 April 2024

Man City cruised past Brighton to close the gap at the top of the Premier League table. 

After watching title rivals Arsenal crush Chelsea 5-0 and Liverpool fall to defeat in the Merseyside derby, it was the Citizens’ chance to show what they can do and they made light work of a Brighton side that played straight into Pep Guardiola’s hands.

City, who had 65.6% possession in the first half, opened the scoring after just 17 minutes, but in a surprising way. The goalscorer wasn’t a shock, as Kevin De Bruyne made it 18 goal involvements across all competitions in 2024 after he got the end of Kyle Walker’s cross. But it was the manner of the goal, as the Belgian scored a header for the first time ever in the Premier League, in what was his 255th appearance in the competition. It was also a rare combination, as it was just Kyle Walker’s second Premier League assist for Kevin De Bruyne, with the other coming against Norwich in July 2020.

Pep’s side looked comfortable and doubled their lead just nine minutes later as Phil Foden’s free-kick deflected not once, but twice, past Jason Steele into the Brighton net to mark a milestone goal for the 23-year-old. That strike made it 50 Premier League goals for Man City as he became just the third player to score 50+ top-flight league goals under Pep Guardiola while aged 23 or younger, after Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland.

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That milestone goal wasn’t enough for the fantastic Foden though, as within eight minutes of his first, he had another against his favourite opponent in the Premier League to make it 3-0 at the break. Bernardo Silva intercepted the ball from the struggling Barco and Foden did the rest as he swept the ball into the bottom corner with his left-foot to make it eight Premier League goals against the Seagulls, his most against a single opponent in the top-flight.

Infact, only Mohamed Salah (9) has scored more Premier League goals against Brighton since their promotion from the Championship back in 2017 than Foden (8), as he continued his run of scoring in every single one of his four Premier League appearances at the Amex Stadium. It was his 24th goal across all competitions this season and his 15th in the Premier League in 2024, the joint-most of any player in the competition alongside his formed teammate Cole Palmer.

Roberto De Zerbi switched it up at HT with the introduction of Simon Adingra and Odeluga Offiah and it seemed to have some impact on his side as they were denied a penalty on more than one occasion. After 62 minutes however, they were further behind. Kyle Walker raced clear and after a touch that looked to have gotten away from him, slid in before the oncoming Steele to put the ball on a plate for Julian Alvarez to end his 10-game goalless run in the league and make it nine league goals for the season, equaling his highest tally across a single campaign in the competition and wrapping the game up at 4-0.

City are now unbeaten in each of their last 30 matches in all competitions (W24 D6), making them the third English top-flight side to go 30+ matches without defeat, after Nottingham Forest (40 in 1978) and Manchester United (twice – 34 in 1993-94 & 33 in 1998-99). In the Premier League that total stands at 18, as City are once again stepping it up at the business end of the season.

Pep’s side have won each of their last 11 league matches in the month of April and between January-May in the last four seasons have won a staggering 78.2% of their Premier League matches during that time and this season they owe a lot of the that to the form of the incredible Phil Foden, who confirmed after the game his best position.

“I’ve always said that I see myself centrally.” He said speaking to Jamie Redknapp on Sky Sports.

“I think this year I’ve moved more inside and it’s helped my game game come on massively. Obviously playing with the best players in the midfield like Kev (De Bruyne) helps my game and I enjoy it in the middle, it’s where I want to be and I feel like I can score a lot of goals in there and create things”

Kevin De Bruyne also agreed with his teammate after being asked the same question.

“I think he will end up centrally. I’ve always see Phil from the beginning and he’s always been a number 10”.

He has been fantastic wherever he has played so far this season and is now even starting to receive not only shouts for Premier League Player of the Season, but even for the Ballon d’Or.