Man City player ratings vs Brighton as Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden brilliant

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: Phil Foden of Manchester City celebrate with Kevin De Bruyne after scoring a goal direct from free kick during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City at American Express Community Stadium on April 25, 2024 in Brighton, England.(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Phil Foden celebrates scoring for Man City vs Brighton -Credit:Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Manchester City leapfrogged Liverpool and moved to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal with a ruthless display at Brighton on Thursday.

City went into the game having seen Arsenal move four points ahead of them in their last two games, while Liverpool could only move one point ahead in their two fixtures since the Blues last played. Liverpool's defeat to Everton on Wednesday gave City a perfect opportunity to leapfrog them with a game still in hand this week, and also move just a point behind Arsenal having played one game less.

But they still had to beat Brighton to make the most of the opportunity, and went strong at the Amex Stadium to do that - Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva completed the attacking midfield trio behind Julian Alvarez in Erling Haaland's absence. The teamsheet justified itself before the break, with De Bruyne guiding in a brilliant diving header before a Phil Foden brace that had two slices of fortune but were both earned by Foden's relentless pressing.

Alvarez added a fourth in a quieter second half, as Guardiola made changes to his side ahead of a quick turnaround before the trip to Nottingham Forest on Sunday.

ALSO READ: Man City vs Brighton highlights and reaction

We rated the players at the Amex below:

Ederson: Rarely tested, and calm in possession. Always looking for a long-ball assist, but that didn't quite come off against Brighton this time! 6

Kyle Walker: Often the furthest man forward, Walker clipped a perfect ball back for De Bruyne's opener, and got a second assist when he burst into the box for the fourth. 7

Manuel Akanji: When do we start to consider Akanji as a first-choice defender? Picked ahead of Stones and Dias, Akanji is now comfortable moving into midfield and helped Rodri well. 6

Nathan Ake: Solid defending when called upon, and often left as a one-man defence in possession. Could have scored with a difficult chance from a first half free-kick. 6

Josko Gvardiol: Continues to improve game-on-game, and is getting better at knowing when to go forward and when to check back. Helped Foden and Alvarez by reading their movements and reacting accordingly. 6

Rodri: Quietly effective as ever, helped by having Kovacic alongside him. Given a rest towards the end. 6

Mateo Kovacic: Did well to break the lines and set De Bruyne and Foden on his way in a physical midfield battle. 6

Kevin De Bruyne: A wonderful diving header continued his good scoring form, and was incredibly his first headed goal in the Premier League. There was no sign of rustiness here, and this was De Bruyne back to his marauding best - just in time for the run-in. 8

Bernardo Silva: Given something of a free role, Bernardo used his tactical versatility to allow others to flourish. His press provided Foden with the simplest of goals for the third. 7

Phil Foden: Maybe a slice of luck with his deflected free-kick and gift of a second, but Foden was brilliant throughout. He now has 24 goals for the season, and his seventh and eighth against Brighton mean the Seagulls are his favourite opponent to face. 50 Premier League goals is a fine landmark for a player cementing his status as favourite for the Player of the Year awards. 8

Julian Alvarez: Operating more out wide as Foden and De Bruyne rotated as false nines, Alvarez was disciplined in dragging the two centre-backs wide. He has just one goal in 17 games now, however this was one of his better performances in Erling Haaland's absence. 7

Grealish (on 72): Hard to influence the game with so many changes, but bright on the left. 6

Nunes (on 72): Some nice touches and runs forward. 6

Doku (on 78): Could have scored a fifth. 6

Gomez (on 78): Came on in Rodri's position in midfield rather than left-back. 6

Lewis (on 78): Good footwork at right-back. 6