Six things we learned from Albion's defeat to Manchester City

Lewis Dunk shoots for goal. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Lewis Dunk shoots for goal. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion suffered a 2-0 defeat to Manchester on their return to the top flight of English football today - but what did we learn from the game?

The Seagulls defended well for long periods, before City won with two goals in the final 20 minutes.

Albion debutant Davy Propper tackles Sergio Aguero. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion debutant Davy Propper tackles Sergio Aguero. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

A day to remember

While the scoreline wasn't one Albion fans would have been hoping for, the club's first-ever Premier League game will live long in the memory.

More than 34 years since they last played in the top flight of English football, an Amex record crowd of 30,415 was in attendance.

The Seagulls have come through a lot in the past 20 years - from almost going out of the Football League and playing home games at Gillingham and Withdean - before moving to their state-of-the-art home.

A rendition of Build a Bonfire got an early airing and the Albion fans were in good voice throughout. Few left early as they gave the Seagulls players a warm reception at the end of the game.

Punished for mistakes

Albion kept out City for more than an hour and prevented their dangerous attacking players any clear chances, apart from a header from Gabriel Jesus in the first half and an opening for Sergio Aguero in the second period.

However, when Dale Stephens got hold of the ball on the halfway line - instead of team-mate Markus Suttner - and was then dispossesed by Kevin De Bruyne, the visitors broke quickly to punish the Seagulls.

De Bruyne found David Silva and he played in Sergio Aguero - who had uncharacteristically missed a one-on-one early in the second half - and he clinically fired into the far corner from 12 yards.

City's second came after Albion's players got in each other's way on the edge of the penalty area when they looked to clear, Aguero played in Fernandinho down the right and Lewis Dunk headed into his own net under pressure from Jesus.

One thing to bear in mind is City were the big spenders in the Premier League this summer and are one of the favourites for the Premier League title, so Albion won't be up against this quality every week.

Keep hold of the ball

Manchester City had almost 80 per cent possession as Albion struggled to keep hold of the ball for long periods.

While it was expected that City would dominate and have the bulk of possession, Brighton gave the ball away too cheaply in the opening half-an-hour on the occasions when they did get into City's half.

The visitors held a high line for much of the match as the game was played in Albion's half and the Seagulls only managed to get in behind a couple of times. Jamie Murphy failed to get the ball under control when a chance presented itself in the first half and then had no-one up in support after a quick break in the second period.

It's fair to say that when Albion play some of the teams who will be and around them in the table this season, they will need to look after the ball better and make the most of their chances.

Hand of Jesus

Manchester City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus was booked in the first half for diverting Kevin De Bruyne's cross into the back of the net with his hand, after it originally hit his chest.

English football fans will never forget Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal when Argentina beat England in the 1986 World Cup.

There would be no repeat at the Amex this afternoon, though, as Michael Oliver was quick to spot Jesus had pushed the ball into the back of the net with his hand. Once the City frontman received some treatment after being injured in the incident, he was shown the yellow card.

Five debuts and more to come

Five summer signings made their Albion debuts as the club returned to the top flight of English football.

Mathew Ryan made one outstanding save in the first half to keep out Gabriel Jesus's close-range header but was beaten twice in the second half, by Sergio Aguero and then Lewis Dunk's own goal.

Pascal Gross did not get hold of the ball much in an attacking midfield role, owing to the amount of possession City had, but Davy Propper had a solid-enough first game in the middle of the park.

Markus Suttner, at left-back, will prove another solid addition but Izzy Brown's Albion Premier League debut came to an early end when he went off with a hamstring injury after 24 minutes.

Jose Izquierdo is set to join from Club Brugge, after Albion agreed a fee with the Belgian club, and will give the Seagulls much-needed pace going forward.

Another striker is also a priority. While Albion look solid enough at the back, the big worry for fans at the moment is where enough goals are going to come from.

Firepower

Just looking at the Manchester City bench before the game showed what the Seagulls were up against.

City had £200.4m worth of talent among their seven substitutes, including £37m summer signing Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, who cost £49m Liverpool two years ago, and Yaya Toure. Academy product Phil Foden, who impressed City boss Pep Guardiola throughout pre-season, has been with the club since he was nine and was also on the bench.

For Albion, Anthony Knockaert was on the bench after limited minutes in pre-season owing to an ankle injury, along with last-season's top-scorer Glenn Murray, who missed the friendly with Atletico Madrid last week through suspension.

Both came on in the second half but despite all Albion's battling and heart, City's quality told in the end.

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