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Brentford vs Manchester City at Gtech Community Stadium

Gtech Community Stadium Referee : David Coote
29th December 2021 8:15 PM (GMT)
  • 0 Brentford

  • 1 Manchester City

    • ‘16' Phil Foden


Commentary By Caroline Oatway


Signing off in style ✍

Well, 2021... It's been some year.

As always, it's been a pleasure and privilege to have brought you closer to tonight's action and it's fitting we should end the calendar year with a win that portrayed just what Champions are made of.

See you again on New Year's Day for the lunchtime kick-off trip to Arsenal.

From all at Manchester City, wishing you a very Happy New Year.

Come on, City!


Foden on the title race πŸ’¬

"It's the most challenging league in the world.

"It goes to show you can drop points at any time but the team is remaining focused at the moment and playing really well so I'm happy."


Foden on the false 9 πŸ’¬

"I'm enjoying it. Maybe in the future I can move into there.

"Wherever the manger puts me, I try and do my best for the team.

"I started on left in the first half. It's really good that I'm adaptable and can fit in anywhere."


Foden πŸ’¬

"Around Christmastime, you can't really take your foot off the gas - you have to keep going and remain focused.

"This team is doing that at the moment and you can see we're getting maximum points, which is really good to see."


Foden πŸ’¬

(On whether his disallowed goal should have stood):

"No! I've had a few ruled out for offside... I wasn't too confident - I thought I went a little bit early!

"Thankfully, the goal counted and I was really happy.

"There have been a few where I've done a little bit too early but overall, I thought the team could have scored a few more.

"We dug in until the end and kept working hard until the final kick."


Phil Foden πŸ’¬

"It was an important win. Brentford made it really difficult - they're a physical team and very dangerous from set-pieces.

"We had to keep going until the final whistle and I'm proud of the team for doing that."


Guardiola on Phil Foden πŸ’¬

"Phil has always been outstanding since he came up with us to start to train and play. 

"He is a guy who can play in different positions and at an exceptional level. He is always a good player and we had no doubt about that.

"He does not need to prove anything to me. He need to enjoy football like he used to as a little boy."


Guardiola on the title race πŸ’¬

"There are 54 points to play for. We were 4-0 up and in 20 minutes it was 4-3 two or three days ago [against Leicester].

"Thank you for the nice words because we win but I am not going to believe you if you say it is already done. 

"Chelsea and Liverpool are more than exceptional. One is the champion of Europe and Liverpool have been our big rival in recent years. 

"There are 54 points still to play and every game, we are just thinking the next game we have. 

"Unfortunately we have to come back soon to London and play at 12.30 and go with a good intention."


Guardiola πŸ’¬

"We won a game but we are at the end of December with many games to play. 

"We are eight points in front but with 54 still to play. The team after all the years together still fight. 

"Today we needed this type of rhythm. If you make a quick attack they will attack quicker with Toney… 

"Every time they put the ball in the box, they are so good. Just look at the results Brentford have done this season. 

"It has been so tight. They are exceptional at what they do and that’s why the game we played was perfect today."


Pep Guardiola πŸ’¬

"It was the best performance we could play. So intelligent because they are the best team in the Premier League on set-pieces with the chance they had on the first corner. 

"The second half was much much better. We played the game in this stadium, against this team how it must be played. The quality of the players made the difference. 

"It's a good victory. Now we recover as much as possible because at 12.30 on 1 Jan we have another game."




Analysis πŸ“

Absolutely huge three points for City tonight.

It wasn't vintage, it wasn't pretty but it was crucial.

Definitely areas of improvement - it was sloppy at times - but ultimately, we kept that clean sheet and one moment of magic crafted the decisive goal at the other end.

Given results elsewhere, this could prove to be a very important day in the title race. There's still a long way to go of course but we capitalised.

We've put ourselves in pole position. Now let's maintain it.






City hang on for a precious three points in the Premier League title race, edging out a spirited Brentford side with Phil Foden's first-half strike.




Jesus weaves his way into the penalty area and curls goalward - it's saved!

City keeping the ball in Brentford's half - Foden doing brilliantly to retain the ball, driving to the corner, winning free-kicks.


Good stuff

Smart challenge from Ake, who clears the danger as the Bees look to counter down the right through Canos - slid in and poked the ball out for a throw-in.


No changes... yet?

No subs for City so far...

But there is a reason Pep is in the dugout and I merely admire his work.

Brentford haven't really threatened (*touches wood*) in this second half so can understand the lack of desire to change things...


Easy does it.

City back in possession now, taking the sting out of Brentford's spell (badum-tch!)

Just need to keep it calm and simple - no need to take any risks.



More set-pieces for Brentford and City are having to scramble to clear - a bit of hesitancy in the defence there.

Ederson calms the nerves with a strong claim.


Off the post!

De Bruyne strikes the foot of the woodwork! So unlucky!

Bernardo collects the rebound and tees the Belgian up again but his second effort - a bicycle kick! - hits the side-netting!


David Clayton πŸ’¬

"Pep is very animated on the touchline and he was very unhappy with a rare sloppy pass from Joao Cancelo – I think he can sense that as long as there’s only one goal in it, this game could still go either way. 

"Few tired legs out there on both sides which is only to be expected given the schedule. 

"Next goal (if there is one), will be huge. With Chelsea dropping points this will be a big last half-hour."

Great minds.



Jesus with another low delivery but Fernandez is down to claim.

Need to put the Brentford 'keeper under more pressure. Definitely get the feeling a second goal is needed...



Few more sloppy passes in recent minutes - though we're still on top, we've given the ball away cheaply on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, we haven't been punished for it but that needs addressing ASAP.

We haven't created much since that opening flurry either...



City have started this second half well, eyeing that second goal.

We didn't create too much in that first half so encouraging to see we're creating more openings already.


What a chance!

Same combination, almost the same result...

De Bruyne whips in once again for Foden, who heads towards the far post but sees the attempt bounce just wide!


David Clayton πŸ’¬

"That was a tricky first 45! Brentford players have been making the most of a number of challenges but referee David Coote is keeping calm in spite of the howls from the home support. 

"Should Ivan Toney still be on the pitch? Think it was worth looking at on the pitch-side monitor at least? 

"They are still a threat at set-pieces so another lively 45 to come, I think."


Analysis πŸ€”

Strange half of football. City not at our free-flowing, all-attacking best and yet, we lead.

The goal did very much come against the run of play, halting a spell of Brentford pressure and we've not looked as solid at the back as we usually do.

The opener was a lovely finish from a typically excellent delivery - a rare moment of real quality.

Need to step it up a gear in the second half - as Joleon said, a clean sheet clinches a win for us.


Joleon Lescott πŸ’¬

"It's the way you expect it to be from City.

"There was a game two days ago, players will be tired...

"If it's not as glamorous as we hoped, if we keep a clean sheet in the second half, that is good enough."


One minute added on

City look for a second before the break but Dias' low drive is saved before Fernandinho's effort smacks Jensen in the face. Ouch!



Stoppage in play here as Fernandinho goes down in some pain.

Thought VAR may have looked at that as Toney perhaps made intentional contact but nothing doing.


Keep it tight

Though we've looked dangerous going forward, we've been a little sloppy defensively tonight, giving away cheap free-kicks and misplacing the ball on a few occasions.

Need to tighten up, especially given the threat of our opposition from set-pieces.


David Clayton πŸ’¬

"Fernandinho is gliding around the pitch like a Rolls Royce. 

"Such a calming influence and he’s proving that he can play successive games (and maybe more) as and when needed. 

"A class act."

Well said.



City have gained some control in recent minutes, keeping possession well.

We're looking for a second - Jesus drills in a delivery which is deflected away and cleared before Brentford win a free-kick in their own half from Cancelo's high foot.

Keep this up.



Ederson limping ever so slightly there.

Not sure where he'd have sustained an injury, although he's been busier already in this game than in most!



My keyboard is on fire! What a game!

A lovely first-time delivery from De Bruyne (no surprise there!) and Foden beats the offside trap (it was checked by VAR) to convert and put City ahead... against the run of play!


GOAL FOR CITY!!!! IT'S 1-0!!! FODEN!!!

From one end to the other...

De Bruyne whips in for Foden to sweep home at the near post!

An incredible few moments of football!!!


Great save!

Another fine stop from Ederson, who reacts well to prevent a Dias own-goal from Wissa's cross!

Now a corner for the set-piece specialists...



Ederson called into action for the first time - down low to deny Onyeka, after Dias had given the ball away a little sloppily on the left flank.

A warning...


Just too much...

Cancelo looks to find Foden at the backpost with a curled delivery - just too much for the midfielder.

Will Joao add to his impressive tally of assists tonight? What form he's been in...


David Clayton on the atmosphere πŸ’¬

"Lively as we expected here at the Brentford Community Stadium and the home fans are making plenty of noise – but so are the City fans who have been singing non-stop for the past 15 minutes or so. We even gave the Bees an equally good rendition of Hey Jude."


Five minutes in

Both fans in fine voice, encouraged by their team's starts to the game.

City enjoying the majority of possession so far, looking for that early opening; Brentford defending well.


Promising start

De Bruyne bursts forward on the counter before finding Grealish, whose cross is deflected for a corner.

City in all blue; Brentford in their traditional red and white stripes.


Here we go! πŸ™Œ

The two teams are out and we are minutes from kick-off...

The atmosphere is great, as the two teams exchange pleasantries before the action begins.


Intriguing... πŸ€”

Scanning through Twitter, there are very few Brentford fans who are confident of coming away with anything from tonight's game - one even said he'd be happy if they touched the ball!

Meanwhile, I've also seen several City fans who are fearing a case of 'Typical City' - with the chance to extend our lead atop the table, they're worried we'll slip up.

Away games are always an interesting prospect, especially in new grounds - unfamiliar territory and against newly-promoted opposition with a vocal home following...

Obviously none of us can predict the future (otherwise I'd have picked the correct Lottery numbers last night) but should City produce the level of performance we have done over the past few weeks, the quality should shine through.


Bee-ware, warns David Clayton ⚠

"Pep Guardiola has said Brentford are the best set-piece side in the Premier League so the fewer corner kicks and throw-ins in the final third we concede, the better. 

"Michael Brown says he was here on the opening day of the season against Arsenal and the atmosphere was electric, so getting a goal early doors might quieten the home support down. 

"They will be in our faces from the off and up for the challenge without doubt."


Joleon Lescott on Raheem Sterling πŸ’¬

"What he has done so far in the game for the Club and what he is on course to do... He can score in five games consecutively, which I'm surprised he hasn't done before.

"I don't think we have seen the best of him but his goals are contributing to wins. 

"He doesn't have to be at his best to add to the game. We want him to get past all defenders but he knows how to impact the game in the right way."


David Clayton πŸ’¬

"Supposedly it’s mild in West(ish) London this evening but my teeth have started chattering already. 

"I asked my son for a thermal vest for Christmas as I’m fed up shivering in the press box. 

"Yes, hardly rock and roll I agree, but I’m led to believe they do the job. Trouble is there is 200+ miles between me and it as I forgot to bring it…"


Joy to the world πŸ’™

Aside from the little green triangles in a Quality Street tin (and spending time with loved ones), I think we can all agree that the best thing about Christmas is the packed football calendar.


Shaun Goater πŸ’¬

"Who needs a striker? This is phenomenal. I remember thinking: 'We don’t need a striker, my role has become redundant!'

"Everyone understands their position. I’m impressed with the way we play, interchange players without a striker. "


Shaun Goater on Matchday Live πŸ’¬

"That's the great thing... we can never guess what Pep will do. 

"I tend to think when I look a the three centre-backs, in possession we play in a three and Cancelo will tuck in alongside Fernandinho.

"When I look at the team with KDB, will he play false 9 or Foden? KDB has done great there, Foden has done superb there as well.

"I think Jack Grealish's best position is out wide coming in on his left foot. I would like to see him run behind and add more consistency. 

"We know he can get it to feet, two defenders will double up on him but he can find himself to get one-on -one or get the ball across the box for a tap in. 

"Jesus’ stats earlier in the season were one of the highest, he can offer a quality ball into the area because he knows what a striker wants."


Team news and tactics πŸ‘€

"Nathan Ake, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus all return to the Manchester City starting XI as Pep Guardiola makes four changes for our trip to Brentford.

"They replace Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, who all drop to the bench following our 6-3 win over Leicester City on Boxing Day.

"Ake is starting in the Premier League for the first time since the 2-1 victory against Aston Villa at the beginning of December, whilst Jesus is recalled after being an unused substitute against the Foxes and Foden and Grealish return following two consecutive games on the bench.

"Rodrigo, John Stones and Kyle Walker are not fully fit and are not included in the matchday squad for our final game of 2021."


David Clayton in the press box πŸ’¬

"I have former City midfielder Michael Brown on my left and our ex-keeper David James on my right – stuck in the middle with Blues! 

"Michael’s on co-commentary with Ali Mann via our Matchday Centre/Matchday Live coverage this evening, though I’ll not need to tune in as I have a live broadcast directly into my left ear..."

(In good company there, DC!)


A closer look at our opponents... πŸ”Ž

🐝 Brentford's tally of seven league defeats already matches their total number of losses in the Championship last season.

🐝 They lost at Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day despite registering 16 shots - a club record in a Premier League game.

🐝 The Bees have won successive Premier League home games, after they were victorious in only one of their first six at the Brentford Community Stadium.

🐝 They can win three successive top-flight fixtures at home for the first time since 1939.

🐝  Brentford's 10 Premier League home goals have been scored by 10 different players.


Pep Guardiola πŸ’¬

β€œ(Brentford manager Thomas Frank) made an incredible start to the season, (Brentford are) doing really well.

β€œI saw the Carabao Cup game against, they lost but they were incredible. They drew against Liverpool, they beat Arsenal.

β€œThey are a top team, we know it and we will prepare seeing how is the quality of our players right now to try and do it.”


Mahrez magic πŸ’«

Riyad Mahrez has scored and assisted in City's last three Premier League matches. He can score in four successive Premier League appearances for the first time.


Did you know...? πŸ‘€

πŸ”Ή City have won nine consecutive Premier League matches by an aggregate score of 30-6, since a 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace on 30 October.

πŸ”Ή We have lost our final league match of a calendar year in only one of the last 20 seasons, a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool in 2016.

πŸ”Ή Pep Guardiola's men have set English top-flight records for most victories (35) and most away wins (18) in a single calendar year.

πŸ”Ή City's tally of 112 Premier League goals in 2021 is the most by a top-flight team in a single calendar year since Arsenal netted 112 in 1963. Spurs (114) and Wolves (113) were the last top-flight clubs to score more, both in 1960.

πŸ”Ή We can equal the club top-flight record of scoring at least four goals in four successive games, set in 1905.


Roving reporter πŸŽ™

David Clayton is our man on the ground in Brentford. Here are his first impressions of a new stadium!

"It’s a tidy stadium here at Brentford. 

"From the surrounding roads, you’d never guess there was a football ground here and it looks like it has somehow been squeezed in the middle of a brand new housing estate. 

"The locals I’ve spoken to aren’t confident tonight  - they are looking forward to the game but resigned to a defeat because of their long injury list. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see!"


Three-time 2021/22 Etihad Player of the Month Bernardo on his sensational personal form πŸ’¬

β€œDifferent positions demand different things. I love helping the team as best as I can, regardless of which position I play in.

β€œThe manager knows what's the best position for me in every game. Of course, I have my favourite position, but I'm always available for the team to play wherever is necessary.

β€œMy targets for the season are winning the Premier League, the Champions League and qualifying for the World Cup.

β€œIf we manage to achieve those goals, it doesn't matter to me if I score 5 goals or 40 goals. It doesn't really matter, to be honest.”


Staying grounded πŸ‘Œ

Bernardo Silva is proud of City’s achievements so far this season but insists there is still plenty of work left to do.

β€œWe are happy with our current moment," he said. We are happy to be on top of the league and for qualifying on top of the group in the UEFA Champions League.

β€œBut we are only halfway through the season, we have done half of the job.

β€œWe are in a good position in all competitions, but we need to carry on the same way to be able to fight for the trophies at the end of the season.

β€œWe are privileged to be in the position we are and we are very pleased with our first half of the season.”


Unfamiliar foe 🐝

The teams have met since then in the second tier and also in the League Cup and FA Cup - the last clash being a 1-0 FA Cup win for City at Griffin Park in 1997.

Our overall record in all competitions away to the Bees is two wins, one draw and four defeats.


Early team news πŸ—’

Anyway, moving on... Regardless of tonight's result, City will end 2021 top of the Premier League table but have the chance to extend our lead, increasing the gap on Liverpool and potentially Chelsea.

So, who will Pep Guardiola select to feature tonight?

The City boss revealed in his pre-match press conference that he will wait until today before finalising his team plans.

He did confirm that both Kyle Walker and John Stones were not fit to be selected in Boxing Day’s impressive 6-3 win over Leicester. Walker is also mourning the loss of close personal friend Dom Yarwood who tragically passed away earlier this month.

As for Brentford, Kris Ajer, Rico Henry, David Raya Martin, Mathias Jorgensen, Charlie Goode, Vitaly Janelt, Julian Jeanvier, Bryan Mbeumo, Joshua Dasilva are all either ruled out or doubtful.

Christian Norgaard's yellow card against Brighton means he is now suspended for the game.

Team news will be revealed around 19:15...


Hello, hello! πŸ‘‹

A very good evening to you - or morning, or afternoon... wherever you are in the world.

Season's Greetings too in the midst of this sleepy period between Christmas and New Year.

Rumour has it that today is Wednesday, which means City are back in action! YES!

Not sure about you but I'm looking forward to having something else to sink my teeth into other than chocolate and leftover turkey. We're down to toffee pennies in the Quality Street tin now so times are tough...

It's our final game of 2021, which has been another year to remember. Let's finish on a high!


It's matchday ⚽

Hello and welcome to today's Matchday Centre ahead of our final match of 2021 away to Brentford.

It's been an incredible year for City, with a Premier League and Carabao Cup double, not to mention a maiden Champions League final, all achieved in the past 12 months.

And we're aiming to finish the year on a high with what would be a tenth successive Premier League victory in tonight's 20:15 (UK) kick-off at the Brentford Community Stadium.

As always, we'll have build-up, minute-by-minute coverage and comprehensive reaction to tonight's clash throughout the evening, as well as live commentary with Alistair Mann and Michael Brown.

You can also tune in to Matchday Live - our City-focused show, from 19:00 with Shaun Goater and Joleon Lescott tonight's special guests.

Viewer input is always encouraged, so to have your say and ask a question, send a WhatsApp to: +447537186538.

Come on, City!

Other games that day

  • Chelsea1
    Brighton and Hove Albion1
  • Arsenal0
    Wolverhampton Wanderers0
  • Leeds United0
    Aston Villa0

As it stood

P GD Pts
2 Chelsea 20 +29 42
3 Liverpool 19 +34 41
4 Arsenal 19 +9 35
5 West Ham United 19 +9 31
6 Tottenham Hotspur 17 +2 30
7 Manchester United 17 +2 28
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 -1 25
9 Leicester City 18 -2 25
10 Brighton and Hove Albion 18 -1 24
11 Crystal Palace 19 0 23
12 Aston Villa 18 -4 22
13 Southampton 19 -9 21
14 Brentford 18 -4 20
15 Everton 17 -8 19
16 Leeds United 18 -18 16
17 Watford 17 -13 13
18 Burnley 15 -7 11
19 Newcastle United 19 -23 11
20 Norwich City 19 -34 10
Link To Full Table