Sun. Jun 26th, 2022

Pep Guardiola guided Manchester City back to winning ways in the Premier League against Brentford this evening to temporarily extend their lead at the top of the table to 12 points.

City ended their long winning run with a tight draw at Southampton last time out, with a winter break and FA Cup weekend meaning it is 18 days since their last league fixture. Brentford were the visitors, who posed a tough test like they did when City were 1-0 winners against the Bees back in December.

Guardiola was without Cole Palmer and Gabriel Jesus again, and named a strange side with his three centre-backs all in the starting line up. City struggled in a tight first half, but went in ahead at the break thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s penalty. Kevin De Bruyne stroked home after a defensive mix-up to make the game safe in the second half, but this was as tough a test as City have faced in a while.

With Liverpool not in action until Thursday, City restored their lead at the top of the table to 12 points with victory, even if they will have played two more games over second place.

Follow below for pre-match build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from the Etihad.

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FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Pep: Chelsea are the best team in the world

Guardiola avoiding Frank’s praise on a technicality.

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Frank praises City

Thomas Frank rued Brentford’s mistakes to gift City their goals, but hailed the Blues as the best team in the world.

He told MOTD:

“I think looking from a defensive perspective it was almost the perfect performance. But the two goals we give away are both from mistakes – it was a penalty we should never have given away, then the second was a big mistake. That’s the disappointing thing.

“We made it so difficult for them with strong discipline, but in the decisive moments we don’t take our chances and then get punished at the other end.

“The two mistakes are so big. We will learn from that but when you look at their quality on the pitch it is unbelievable.”

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Pep eyeing top four finish

Don’t think there’s much danger there, Pep!

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordStuart Brennan

Report: City pile on Liverpool pressure by getting the basics right

Winning the Premier League is all about getting the basics right and then finding moments of inspiration from your talented players.

And as Manchester City extended their lead at the top to 12 points ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Leicester tomorrow night, they got both right.

Just as it was in the encounter in west London in December, this was a bruising, tight encounter against hard-working, well-organised opponents.

But the breakthrough came down to Raheem Sterling doing what he does best, taking the direct option, and then Riyad Mahrez making no mistake from the resulting penalty.

Kevin De Bruyne made sure with a second goal from a mistake by Bees keeper David Raya in the second half, but this was merely a competent, professional display from the Blues, with no frills and few thrills.

It was a moment of sheer pace from Sterling that finally broke Brentford’s resistance, which had been aided by moments of sloppiness and inaccuracy from the Blues in the opening 45 minutes.

Read the full report here.

Kevin De Bruyne embraces Raheem Sterling after winning the penalty against Brentford (Image: Man City)

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Pep reflects on satisfying win

Pep Guardiola, speaking to BT Sport, says:

“They are so difficult to attack. They make so good, aggressive high press. After we build up they drop a lot, so compact. So difficult. Be patient, no mistakes and at the end we got the result.

“Every game you win you’re satisfied, against fulham it was a completely different approach. Very satisfied, we were smart, we concede just one shot, didn’t make any stupid fouls. We were patient but it’s difficult when they defend so deep in the 18 yard box. It was difficult and always will be.”

On Riyad Mahrez:

“A guaranteed penalty taker now. He shoots both sides left and right and is aggressive.”

On Joao Cancelo:

“Joao and John Stones both, without John it wouldn’t be possible. He read perfectly the movement to break their structure. He did it incredibly well. Joao he was our best winger, to dribble past three and shoot, our wingers couldn’t do it. He’s in incredibly top form.”

On the 12 point gap:

“Liverpool has two games. After they play we will see the gap. 14 games to play, many points will be tough like today. The results tonight look Tottenham lost to Southampton. Everyone is tough. To have 60 points we have done well so far. Another game at Norwich, they are on a good run, after that the Champions League.”

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Sterling delighted with the win

Raheem Sterling has spoken to BT Sport about today’s win.

He said:

“They made it really difficult, the game at their place was really difficult too. They were hard to break down. We stuck to it and got two goals.

“We had to keep going, keep creating chances and we’ll hopefully take one. We got a penalty and Kev’s second in the second half.”

On Guardiola’s half time message:

“He told us to keep the ball, they had a few breaks on the corner and to be aware of that and keep creating chances.

“They defended well, they’re a tight unit. we had to keep going, probing the ball and finding the gaps and we did.”

On City’s 12 point lead:

“It’s just another game, step by step, that’s all we can do. Keep going, keep trying to win. We can’t do anything else and the next game is vital.”

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Sterling deserves credit for unsung role

He won the penalty with that direct turn of pace in the first half at a crucial time.

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordStuart Brennan

Player Ratings

Ederson Earned himself a headache with a brave save after Stones’ slip, but had a nice rest in the second half – 6

John Stones Unfortunate slip presented the Bees with their best chance, but he made up for it by chasing down Ghoddos on a counter – 6

Ruben Dias Brilliant block after Ederson’s brave save went unheralded as the whistle had gone for a free kick – 8

Aymeric Laporte Almost scored, and was his usual unflappable self in the face of a pacy Bees counter-attacking effort – 7

Joao Cancelo Fabulous solo effort in the second half just needed a better finish, was excellent after the break – 8

Read the full ratings here.

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City celebrates after scoring their second goal vs Brentford (Image: Getty)

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

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Man City2

Brentford0

Premier League, Wednesday 9th, 2022

FT – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Full time!

There’s the whistle!

It wasn’t always easy, but City edged past Brentford to move 12 clear in the Premier League thanks to goals from Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne in either half.

No doubt Guardiola will want improved performances in future outings, but Brentford proved a tough opponent once against and the three points were the main objective tonight.

Reaction to follow.

Manchester City players celebrate their second goal against Brentford (Image: Man City)

90′ – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Three minutes added on

City are in total control now, Brentford trying to keep the damage to two goals.

85′ – City 2-0 BrentfordSimon Bajkowski

Cancelo wants a goal

Cancelo is doing everything he can to get on the scoresheet but it shouldn’t go unnoticed that it is a very comfortable night for the defence too as they head towards another clean sheet.

Brentford have only been allowed one shot on target in this half and most of the time the ball is not leaving the Brentford third. The best way of defence has been attack.

80′ – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Rodri effort saved

Another team counter comes out to Rodri, who lines one of his trademark rockets up. It takes a deflection to force Raya into a smart save.

76′ – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Cancelo over again

City had a good few minutes of uninterrupted possession there, ending in a Joao Cancelo shot that’s deflected over. That would have been a fine team goal.

70′ – City 2-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Gundogan comes on

Phil Foden’s switch to the left didn’t last long, as he comes off for Ilkay Gundogan.

For Brentford, Wissa is on for Onyeka.

69′ – City 2-0 BrentfordKEY EVENT

De Bruyne scores!!

A mixup at the back from Brentford gifts possession to Raheem Sterling.

His shot is saved, but only into the path of Kevin De Bruyne, who curls in from the edge of the area.

68′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

66′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Foden on the wing

Grealish has gone straight into a central role, with Phil Foden moving left, and Raheem Sterling over on the right now.

66′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Mahrez replaced

The goalscorer is off, with Jack Grealish on.

64′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

De Bruyne covers well

Bryan Mbuemo gets clear and has the whole City half to run on goal. John Stones just about keeps up with him – and when the ball is held up it’s Kevin De Bruyne running back to nick the ball off the Brentford man and clear upfield.

Moments later, Joao Cancelo curls an effort straight at David Raya.

62′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Grealish to come on

Jack Grealish is being readied as Pep Guardiola looks to sharpen up this City side.

61′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Brentford pressure

Onyeka hooks a ball safely into Ederson’s arms after a spell of Brentford pressure.

Now they make a double change with Canos and Ghoddos off, Mbuemo and Da Silva on.

58′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Stones scare

John Stones goes down after a bad fall, and is given some treatment. He walks off gingerly, but can hopefully continue.

56′ – City 1-0 BrentfordSimon Bajkowski

Brentford keeping it tight

Brentford obviously need to score now if they want to take anything from the game, but it is in their interests to keep the game tight for as long as they can rather than risk allowing City to kill the game off early with a second.

1-0 was the scoreline back in December and the final minutes were horrible for City to survive.

Ruben Dias of Manchester City clears the ball away from Saman Ghoddos of Brentford (Image: Man City)

54′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Great effort

Joao Cancelo slaloms in and out of three challenges into the area and works a shooting opportunity on his right.

The shot lacks power and is a simple save, but that would have been a brilliant solo goal.

49′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Cancelo fires just over

A corner is recycled and comes out to Joao Cancelo, who takes aim and his shot is narrowly over the bar.

45′ – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Back underway

No sign of any changes at the break, but the City players were deep in conversation as they came out. A sign of a change in tactics?

HT – City 1-0 BrentfordJoe Bray

Sterling sets Premier League record

That penalty was significant as it handed Raheem Sterling a bit of Premier League history.

No player has won more penalties in the history of the competition, with Sterling now on 23 spot kicks won.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City runs with the ball from Mads Roerslev of Brentford (Image: Man City)

HT – City 1-0 BrentfordStuart Brennan

Half time ratings

Ederson – Excellent, brave save 7

Stones – Slip gave Bees a chance 6

Dias -Set up Laporte, great block at other end 8

Laporte – Closest to scoring from open play 7

Cancelo – Poor pass handed Brentford a chance 5

Rodri – Starting to close the lid 6

Bernardo – A peripheral figure 5

De Bruyne – Lacking his usual precision 6

Mahrez – Great penalty, stretching the Bees 7

Foden – Tireless and creative 7

Sterling – Causing havoc, won penalty 8

Ruben Dias of Manchester City clears the ball away from Saman Ghoddos of Brentford (Image: Man City)

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