Manchester City eased to victory over Brighton as Sergio Aguero hit two goals to continue his record of scoring in all four of his team’s Premier League games this season.
Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne set the reigning champions on their way when he poked David Silva’s low cross over the line after just 68 seconds.
Aguero finished off a free-flowing move to double the lead before producing a sumptuous curl from the edge of the penalty after half-time.
Substitute Bernardo Silva completed the scoring with his second touch after replacing David Silva.
However, City lost French defender Aymeric Laporte to injury. The former Athletic Bilbao player was carried off on a stretcher after a collision with Adam Webster before being taken to hospital.
Ruthless City show no mercy
City have scored 14 goals in their first four matches this campaign.
Having hit five against West Ham on the opening weekend of the season, they scored two against Tottenham and put three past Bournemouth before notching another four against Brighton.
If they carry on scoring at this rate, averaging 3.5 goals per game throughout the season, they will end up with 133 top-flight goals.
At the age of 31, Sergio Aguero continues to show the same desire and hunger as when he first joined in 2011 from Atletico Madrid for £38m.
Having scored 21 in each of his last two season’s to help City to back-to-back league titles, the Argentine already has six goals from four matches this term and is the Premier League’s leading scorer.
Despite the score, this was not vintage City but Aguero’s two goals and assist inspired his team as he took his tally to 237 goals for the club. Fitness permitting, he will be past 250 by Christmas.
After De Bruyne broke the deadlock from close range in the second minute, Aguero finished off a superb move started by Kyle Walker and involved Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne.
His third was a superb curler past Mat Ryan before Bernardo Silva got in on the act with a clever finish.
Laporte injury a worry for Guardiola
Despite his side’s routine win, Pep Guardiola will be concerned at the loss of Laporte – particularly as central defence is not an area of strength for City.
Laporte cut across Webster, who was making his Premier League debut, as he tried to stop Brighton surging forward.
He went down heavily and there was a delay while the player received treatment on the pitch before being taken to hospital to have the injury assessed.
Guardiola, who opted not to replace defender Vincent Kompany after the Belgian left in the summer, sent on Fernandinho to operate alongside Nicolas Otamendi, with John Stones injured.
Although Brazilian Fernandinho is more than capable of doing the job, the loss of Laporte for any length of time could cause Guardiola problems.
Brighton plan undone by early goal
A visit to City, who clinched the title at the Amex Stadium on the final day of last season, was pretty much a free-hit for Brighton who will target maximum points in their next two games against Burnley and Newcastle.
Having suffered nine defeats in 12 games against the teams that finished in the top six last season, few gave them a chance to avoid defeat – although Crystal Palace’s surprise win at the Etihad last December was not lost on Graham Potter.
“We need a bit of luck, to play well and hope they have a bad day,” said the Brighton boss before the game.
His side’s plan to frustrate and hit the champions on the break did not last two minutes as De Bruyne struck early, yet Brighton did create chances.
Ederson saved from Leandro Trossard at the end of the first half while the Belgian spurned another chance after half-time.
Having taken four points from the first two games, Brighton have lost two back-to-back games and will target a quick return to winning ways after the international break.
Man of the match – Sergio Aguero (Man City)
99 not out – the stats
- Man City forward Sergio Aguero has scored 99 Premier League goals at the Etihad – only Thierry Henry at Highbury (114) and Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford (101) have scored more at a single venue in Premier League history.
- Brighton remain winless in every away league match they have played against City.
- City have won 17 of their last 18 Premier League games since losing 2-1 to Newcastle United in January.
- Since his Premier League debut in August 2010, City’s David Silva has assisted 87 Premier League goals – 27 more than any other player.
- City’s Kevin de Bruyne has been involved in nine goals in his last seven Premier League starts.
Both teams have a two-week recess due to the first international break of the season, but Norwich City await Manchester City at Carrow Road on 14 September (17:30 BST) – the same day Brighton host Burnley (15:00 BST).