Six things we learned from Brighton's defeat at Manchester City

Yaya Toure. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Yaya Toure. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Brighton lost 3-1 to Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium tonight. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Pressure off but positives for Albion

Anthony Knockaert on the run. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Anthony Knockaert on the run. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion again produced a spirited performance on the road and will be reflecting on the small margins on their journey home from the Etihad Stadium.

The Seagulls were disappointed with the goals they conceded, especially the third, and they had a golden opportunity to make it 2-2 midway through the second half when Anthony Knockaert blazed over from close range.

Despite having 74 per cent of possession, City found it hard to create clear opportunities throughout the match and striker Gabriel Jesus did not have a shot on target.

Brighton will take positives from their showing and will hope to finish the season on a high note when they travel to Liverpool on Sunday.

Huddersfield's 1-1 draw at Chelsea tonight means that, for just the third time in Premier League history, the three promoted sides from the Championship have stayed up.

Albion sealed their survival with a 1-0 win over Manchester United on Friday, so the pressure was off somewhat tonight, and Newcastle had already guaranteed their safety.

It all means the Premier League will have a fresh look to it next season when Wolves, Cardiff and one of Fulham Aston Villa, Middlesbrough or Derby head up into the top flight.

Yaya says goodbye as Pep rings the changes

City legend Yaya Toure said goodbye to the Etihad Stadium tonight after eight successful years with the club.

Toure captained City as Pep Guardiola made eight changes from his side's 0-0 draw with Huddersfield on Sunday - while Seagulls manager Chris Hughton made just the one change, with Leonardo Ulloa coming in for Glenn Murray.

Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi were among the City players who dropped out of the squad completely, while Kevin De Bruyne was an unused substitute.

Toure won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three League Cups with City. Tonight was his first league start of the season and his 316th match in total for the club.

The 34-year-old's name was sung throughout the match and he was subbed to a rapturous reception in the closing stages.

Pace to burn

Despite making eight changes, City still had a team packed with internationals and their quality shone through - especially when Leroy Sane was involved.

The Premier League's young player of the year was on top form and set up a hat-trick of City goals.

There was little Albion could do about the quality of City's opener. Sane burst forward from inside his own half and played an inch-perfect through ball for Danilo to race on to and fire home low inside the far corner. Gaetan Bong appealed for offside but Danilo timed his run to perfection to open the scoring.

Sane was also the provider of City's second as his low cross found Bernardo Silva at the far post and he took a touch, before drilling the ball home from 15 yards.

Sane then set up the third as City took a quick corner and his low ball in was swept home by Fernandinho to wrap up the points 17 minutes from time.

Back on the scoresheet

Leonardo Ulloa scored his first Premier League goal in 17 months when he headed home Albion's equaliser in the first half.

The Argentinian frontman returned to the Seagulls on loan from Leicester in January and scored in the 3-1 FA Cup win against Coventry in February but this was his first league goal since December 2016, when he scored in a 2-2 draw for Leicester at Stoke.

He has had limited game time since re-joining Albion owing to the form of Glenn Murray and tonight was just his second Premier League start for the Seagulls.

However, he certainly made it count tonight as he rose highest to head home Davy Propper's inch-perfect cross just four minutes after City had taken the lead.

Anthony Knockaert released Propper with a lovely pass and with City keeper Claudio Bravo racing out into no-man's land, Propper crossed for Ulloa to head home into the empty net from close range.

Record-breakers

Manchester City broke two records this evening as they recorded their 31st Premier League win of the season.

The champions have been a class apart this season and now have the most points in a Premier League season, along with the most goals scored in a season.

They moved on to 97 points with the 3-1 win - over-taking Chelsea's record of 95 in the 2004/05 campaign. They also moved on to 105 goals for the season, beating Chelsea's total of 103, with Bernardo Silva's strike which made it 2-1.

If Manchester City win at Southampton on Sunday, they will become the first team to reach 100 points in an English top-flight season. The record - based on three points for a win - is currently held by Liverpool, who claimed the equivalent of 98 points across 42 games in 1978-79.

Knockaert on song again

It's fair to say Anthony Knockaert hadn't quite hit the heights of last year for much of the season but the French winger has been outstanding since his return from suspension.

He was man-of-the-match as Brighton sealed Premier League survival with victory over Manchester United on Friday and he was a thorn in Manchester City's side tonight.

He was involved in Albion's goal and his work-rate was second to none.

The only criticism would be he didn't get the ball on target when he could have equalised in the second half but City boss Pep Guardiola praised Knockaert afterwards, saying he's one of the most dangerous wingers in the league.