With City’s number 42 taking the captain’s armband for the evening, there was a similar feel to the opening day of the season, with the Blues taking total control of proceedings from the off and surging into the lead shortly after the quarter-hour mark as Danilo raced onto a perfectly weighted through ball before tucking home into the corner.
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Almost instantaneously at the other end came the only sour note of the evening, as Claudio Bravo – selected ahead of Ederson in goal – reminded fans of the reason he lost his place as the side’s first-choice goalkeeper.
The Chilean unnecessarily raced out of his goal in the hopes of halting a Brighton attack, only to be unable to thwart the danger and leave himself on the byline with little defensive back-up – and Pascal Groß’s subsequent cross was met by Leonardo Ulloa to level things up.
Despite the calamitous keeping, City were back in the lead before the break, as recently coronated PFA Young Player of the Year Leroy Sané – who had already set-up Danilo’s opener – notched his second assist of the night for Bernardo Silva’s drilled finish.
The German then continued his impressive form into the second period, as his hat-trick of assists was completed when he cut back for Fernandinho to score City’s third, proving enough to see City over the finish line one last time in front of their own fans.
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The win leaves City just three points shy of triple figures while another couple of records were also toppled within the 90-minutes, as Chelsea’s record points and goals tally fell by the wayside.
All that remains now is one final trip down to the South Coast to take on ex-boss Mark Hughes and Southampton, with the Saints looking secure in their Premier League status for another year following a positive set of midweek results.
Years and years and Yaya
Despite not having the greatest impact on this particular campaign, Toure’s legacy at the Etihad is one that will go down in folklore amongst City’s faithful.
The Ivorian was a central figure in the Blues’ resurgence in domestic football, making telling contributions along the way as City managed to break their sustained trophy drought.
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His FA Cup final winner against Stoke secured the blue half of Manchester their first trophy in 35 years and Toure has gone on to play an instrumental role in nearly all of the subsequent six trophies he has collected in his time at Eastlands.
Though the arrival of Pep Guardiola has limited his playing time in the past couple of seasons – this game was in fact his only league start of the whole campaign – his impact in getting City to the position they are in today and the summit of English football is immeasurable.
316 appearances, 82 goals and seven major trophies in a blue shirt – and with that Yaya Toure will never be forgotten!