Preview: Manchester City vs. Brentford
anchester City will return to the top of the Premier League table – albeit for a matter of hours – if they claim maximum points against Brentford at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.
The Bees, meanwhile, are required to pull off an upset against the reigning top-flight champions if they wish to head into the World Cup break inside the top half of the table.
It is fair to say that Man City have thoroughly enjoyed playing on home soil in recent months as they have put together an impressive 16-game winning run at the Etihad across all competitions dating back to April, scoring 61 goals in the process.
The Citizens followed up their last-gasp 2-1 Premier League victory with 10 men against Fulham last weekend, with a 2-0 success against Chelsea in the EFL Cup third round, courtesy of second-half strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez.
Pep Guardiola’s side, who will discover their fourth-round opponents in Thursday’s draw, will now turn their attention back to the Premier League with a fourth successive home match this weekend, which is also their final fixture before a six-week break for the World Cup.
Man City have won seven of their last eight top-flight matches, but they still sit two points behind league leaders Arsenal; the Citizens can only finish the weekend at the summit if they beat Brentford and hope that the Gunners drop points away at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday evening.
Indeed, Guardiola and co will be confident of success against Brentford after beating them home and away without conceding last season. City have never claimed three successive league wins against the Bees across 10 previous meetings, though.
After conceding a 96th-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 away at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League last weekend, Brentford suffered a disappointing EFL Cup exit at home to League Two outfit Gillingham on Tuesday night.
Mikael Mandron scored in the final 15 minutes to cancel out Ivan Toney’s third-minute opener, and the visitors managed to hold out for a penalty shootout, with Mikkel Damsgaard hitting the crossbar after 11 successive spot kicks to send the 2020-21 semi-finalists crashing out in the third round.
The Bees seem to have lost their sting, with Thomas Frank’s side having won only one of their last nine matches across all competitions – a 2-0 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion in mid-October.
Brentford have slipped down to 11th place in the Premier League standings with only three wins on the board after 14 matches, and hopes of heading into the World Cup break on a high will be a tall order against the reigning top-flight champions.
The Bees, who had no more than 24% possession in either of their two encounters with Man City last season, will be seeking to claim their first away victory against the Citizens since a 2-0 triumph on Christmas Day back in 1937.
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
Brentford Premier League form:
Brentford form (all competitions):
We say: Manchester City 3-0 Brentford
Man City came away with maximum points after dominating both encounters against Brentford last season, and the Citizens will be firm favourites to secure another victory at the Etihad this weekend.
The Bees have looked defensively vulnerable in recent away games and hopes of keeping a clean sheet against Guardiola’s side are slim, especially if goal machine Haaland is back in action.