The Warmdown: De Bruyne stars as Manchester City retain top spot
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion at Etihad Stadium on April 20, 2022 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Manchester City bounced back to winning ways on Wednesday night, as they ran riot in the second half to ease past a stern Brighton outfit at the Etihad Stadium.

Goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva ensured that the reigning champions remain in pole position to pick up the Premier League crown in May, as they lead Liverpool by a point with just six game to go.

Here are the key talking points from the Premier League clash.

De Bruyne Remains The Main Man

Kevin De Bruyne was left on the bench when Manchester City won 4-1 at the Amex in October, with some questioning whether the out-of-form Belgian was still the main man in this Manchester City side.

And, after a slow start to the season, you could see why those questions were being asked. De Bruyne struggled for any real consistency in the early months of the season, with the hangover from a physically taxing 2020/21 campaign evident to see.

However as the age old adage goes; form is temporary class is permanent and Kevin De Bruyne showcased that once again last night.

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KDB went the closest in a largely frustrating first half, firing a low effort just wide of Robert Sanchez' post and, with the game, and their position at the top of the Premier League table, in doubt, the City faithful were starting to get a touch frustrated inside the Etihad Stadium.

Not for the first time this season, it was Kevin De Bruyne who bailed them out. The two time Premier League POTY shrugged off three Brighton players to set up Mahrez for the opener, before ensuring the three points would be heading City's way by teeing up Bernardo for the third.

There was no goals for De Bruyne, but he was a class above everyone else on the pitch.

More Injury Scares

Pep Guardiola would have been delighted to welcome Ruben Dias back into the action on Wednesday evening, as the Portuguese international made his first appearance in over two months after picking up a hamstring injury in the Citizens FA Cup win at Peterborough in March.

However it wasn't all smiles on the City bench, as Nathan Ake, who was brought off for Dias at half-time, was seen to by the physios for what looked to be an ankle injury.

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If that wasn't bad enough, John Stones was then replaced late on for what Pep described as "tightness in his muscles." The extent of both injury's remain unknown.

However with the fixtures coming in thick and fast, City can ill afford to lose two of their four first team centre back. There will be hope inside the Etihad campus that both will recover in time for this weekend's clash with Watford.

Another disappointing night for Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish was one of the stars of the show when the two sides met in October, linking up expertly in a front three alongside Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

There was hope that the £100M man could kick on from that performance and show why the higher powers inside the Etihad were so keen to bring him to East Manchester, yet he has failed to do so.

Wednesday night was another disappointing one for Grealish, who remained on the bench for the entirety of the match, in fact he wasn't even sent out to warm up at any point in the evening.

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He returned to an empty Etihad Stadium post-game to complete a warm down alongside one of the club's conditioning coaches, a world away from the title winning performances that many had hoped to see from the 26-year-old when he arrived in August.

There is still time for Grealish to turn his fortunes around at Manchester City, but for the time being at least, it would appear he is slipping further down Pep Guardiola's pecking order.

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