The volume of inquiries Pep Guardiola fielded regarding the player in the opposing dugout eventually turned into a bit of a downpour. The Manchester City manager turned to a staff member and joked that perhaps he might represent Roberto De Zerbi. Everyone chuckled.
De Zerbi is the one who is widely expected to replace Guardiola when the Catalan decides to hang it up. And with good reason—since choosing Brighton at the beginning of last season, no one has improved a club quite like the Italian. capable of bossing games like these; brave and bold.
Guardiola said why the 44-year-old is someone he respects and considers a friend, which is an uncommon statement regarding a coworker. He then suggested Brighton’s “body shape” is what makes them so dangerous. De Zerbi has put a lot of effort into improving both individually and collectively to maximize their sharpness through the thirds.
This is all wonderful. Brighton are excellent and, barring major setbacks from Europe, will likely finish in the top four this season. However, De Zerbi made a tactical mistake by using James Milner as the right back.
Currently, I’m 37 years old. Identifying Doku, who has been flying since a significant summer shift. Before the international break, Veltman, a vivacious 31-year-old who started at right back against Liverpool, sat on the bench. Milner’s physique frequently highlighted Doku’s heels.
They probably lost a point or perhaps more as a result. Not necessarily, as they were behind by a couple of goals when Milner was replaced for Veltman at halftime. More so than not, they limped in what was a fruitless first half due to the additional effort and focus needed to offset the disparity.
Since Danny Welbeck had already hobbled off the field earlier, Brighton might have been pursuing a winner during the frantic final 15 minutes when Manuel Akanji was sent off for a second booking. Additionally, this game ended with a concerning injury to Solly March. Ansu Fati’s late goal gave City the chance to close it out and earn their first victory in three games. Crisis within crisis avoided.
After seven minutes, it’s always simpler when they are ahead. Even though Gross had gone over to assist Milner since it was obvious that he needed it, Doku could not be stopped by him. Before shifting into a different gear, heading to the byline, and leaving Brighton exposed, the Belgian stood him up. Alvarez caught the cutback and launched himself onto his right foot with his left foot. It circled over Steele, and the City were off.
Prior to the veteran’s introduction, the key decision was who Guardiola choose to play between the sticks. Ortega was replaced on the bench by Ederson, who had previously played for Brazil against Uruguay on Wednesday. Guardiola’s decision is likely influenced by the journey, but Alvarez also gave Argentina 78 minutes in Peru on the same day.
When Haaland battered in the second in the 18th minute, similar rage had been sparked. Brighton botched a straightforward throw-in as Carlos Baleba swarmed on the ball after receiving a challenging pass and gave it to Haaland. The Norwegian, who is typically a box finisher, caught Steele early with a finish more akin to his time at Borussia Dortmund in uncommon stadium situations.
Guardiola seemed upset anytime City turned right rather than left, but the attention stayed on Doku. Lewis Dunk was not even called for a foul after bodychecking the winger, and Milner miraculously avoided receiving a caution. Even though they appeared much more capable until Veltman entered, they couldn’t handle it.
And more dangerous, as Kaoru Mitoma’s power grows. Before he assisted substitute Ansu Fati’s goal with 17 minutes remaining, the Japan international had already threatened with a number of long, raking dribbles that brought two or more defenders with him. Before the winger from a corner managed to miraculously head into the side-netting, Ortega had already flown out to deny Mitoma. One of those times when the entire away end rose in jubilation before falling silent in shock at the outcome.
As Brighton menacingly broke through the middle of the pitch, City hurried clearances and booked Akanji for bringing down Fati, but they didn’t create many other chances. If De Zerbi had played his cards well, he might have surpassed Guardiola.