Chance to make it 10 consecutive Premier League wins – Brentford vs Manchester City Preview
League leaders and current Premier League champions, Manchester City travel down to West London on the 29th as they face Thomas Frank's Brentford side in Matchweek 20 of the Premier League calendar. The game kicks off at 20:15 and will be broadcast live on Amazon Prime in the UK.
With COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant spreading throughout the league, things can change at any time leading up to the game. As we stand currently, according to the training video published by the club on Monday, John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Rodri were not present. It was also feared that Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko were a doubt given they could not be spotted on the video, too – however, City have confirmed they are available for tomorrow's game, and the Portugal international was pictured in training this afternoon.
City also announced Ferran Torres' move to Barcelona today so he will no longer be involved.
Predicted City XI:
Ederson, Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandihno, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Silva, Jesus, Foden.
As we all know, many games have been called off because of the world's current situation but luckily enough for City they still haven't had a match postponed.
Courtesy of Pep Guardiola's side's impressive Premier League winning streak of the last nine games, they find themselves with a six-point lead at the time of writing, this could change as second-placed Liverpool face Leicester this evening.
Yes, Liverpool do have that game in hand on City, but even if they win, City will remain clear at the top by three points with the opportunity to re-extend the lead to six points against Brentford tomorrow. We can't have another 18/19 esque title race, my heart can't take it.
All City can and need to do is continue winning; something this side is very good at. The Blues have a large but talented squad with such strong depth and no obvious weakness. In the busy winter schedule that's a great advantage to have. However, because of the injuries and COVID situation, I don't think we will see as many changes as expected – hence the predicted XI.
Looking through the selection of players Pep has at his use, there are arguments for most to start the game and nobody is bad form either. Jack Grealish admitted this week that he has found life at City harder than he expected, but seems to be on the up when he plays. Riyad Mahrez has been impressive as of late and Raheem Sterling is in the best form he has been in for a good while, and I've got all three on the bench – a real compliment to the work done by Pep and the club to build such a deep yet efficient squad.
The league leaders need to win, and with a tough trip to an in-form Arsenal on the horizon, games such as this should be a given.
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Stuart Burt and Nick Hopton
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson
VAR: Jared Gillett
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies
Currently sitting in 14th place of the Premier League, Brentford have fallen victim to two cancellations – home against Manchester United and away at Southampton.
In their last Premier League encounter, the Bees were beaten 2-0 away to Brighton after Leonardo Trossard and Neil Maupay bagged two first-half goals for the Seagulls.
Frank normally sets his side up in a 3-5-2 formation with Ivan Toney spearheading the side. Last season Toney set an EFL record, scoring the most goals in a singular Championship season - 31 goals. He's found life more difficult this season on the goal-scoring front, scoring only four in 15 appearances, however, his overall game has been impressive. His striker partner, Bryan Mbeumo has impressed too, but like Toney struggled to score goals – although he did score a 95th-minute penalty in their last win.
As a total, the West London-based side have scored 21 goals and conceded just 24, that's a better defensive record than both Manchester United and West Ham. They'll be no mugs against City and will it be difficult for Guardiola's side to break down their defensive setup.
Unless there is a huge shock, I can't see anything other than a City win with ease too. As explained before, Brentford have struggled going forwards this season and City have been excellent at the back. I believe Pep's side will leave the Brentford Community Stadium with a 2-0 win and De Bruyne and Jesus on the scoresheet.