Manchester City vs Brentford prediction, Preview, team news, lineups

Manchester 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 have been drawn against Liverpool at the Etihad in the fourth round, 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.

Man City striker Erling Braut Haaland, who was an unused substitute in midweek, could return to the starting lineup, with Guardiola expected to make several changes to the side that beat Chelsea.

Despite an impressive showing between the sticks against the Blues, Stefan Ortega is set to be replaced by first-choice goalkeeper Ederson, while John Stones, Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake and Joao Cancelo could make up the back four – the latter of whom is available after serving a one-match ban.

Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden could also be handed starts, with Cole Palmer, Mahrez and Jack Grealish potentially dropping to the substitutes’ bench as a result.

Kalvin Phillips came off the bench in the second half against Chelsea to make his first City appearance in eight weeks after recovering from shoulder surgery, and the midfielder will be hoping to get more minutes under his belt on Saturday. Kyle Walker, meanwhile, remains out as he continues to recover from groin surgery.

As for Brentford, they will be without Pontus Jansson (hamstring), Aaron Hickey, Thomas Strakosha (both ankle), Kristoffer Ajer, Charlie Goode (both knee) and Shandon Baptiste (muscle), who are all ruled out until after the World Cup with injuries.

Frank may decide to use a back five to counteract the threat of Man City, with Ben Mee expected to return at centre-back alongside Ethan Pinnock and Mathias Jorgensen, while Mads Roerslev and Rico Henry are set to operate as wing-backs.

Vitaly Janelt has recovered from a minor muscle injury and will compete with Mathias Jensen, Christian Norgaard and Josh Dasilva for a place in midfield, while Bryan Mbeumo – who will represent Cameroon at the World Cup – is set to partner Toney in attack.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Stones, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Bernardo, Haaland, Foden

Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Jorgensen, Mee, Pinnock; Roerslev, Jensen, Norgaard, Dasilva, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney

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.

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Top tip
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