The Premier League sets out one last time before the heads turn to the much-awaited FIFA World Cup. Match week 16 will see Manchester City host Brentford as Pep Guardiola’s side will look to go into the break on a high. The Blues are in fine form and their victory against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday extended their unbeaten at home from February.
Brentford have had a mixed start to the season with their 4-0 triumph against Manchester United being the highlight so far. The Bees are in 11th place but only have 3 wins to their name. They are winless in their last 4 games and will hope to get a positive result at the Etihad Stadium to steer clear of the relegation tussle. Last season’s battle between these two sides resulted in Manchester City domination, but Brentford are known to be a very dangerous side on transition, so this game could well have its twists.
When and Where?
Stadium: Etihad Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 12th November 2022.
Time: 12:30 PM BST.
Referee: Peter Bankes.
Assistant Referees: Eddie Smart, Nick Greenhalgh.
Fourth Official: Darren Bond.
VAR Official: David Coote.
Erling Haaland’s fitness is still a question mark, but after his match-winning goal against Fulham, he was named on the bench in midweek. Julian Alvarez has deputized him fairly well and could continue to do so, with Haaland once again coming on as a substitute. Kalvin Phillips will travel to Qatar to represent England and his 40-minute cameo against Chelsea is certainly a boost for both his club and country.
Like Phillps, Kyle Walker was also named in the England squad, but will not take part in his club’s final game before the World Cup. So, John Stones could start at right back with Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake, and Joao Cancelo, who is back in the squad after serving a one-match suspension could feature as the back four.
Brentford have a long list of injuries with Pontus Jansson out with a torn hamstring, Aaron Hickey sidelined due to an ankle injury, and Kristoffer Ajer, Vitaly Janelt, and Shandon Baptiste also ruled out until after the World Cup. Ben Mee is a certain starter against the club where he started his football journey while Bryan Mbuemo and Ivan Toney could start up front.
Manchester City’s home record has been picture-perfect this season and hence Brentford’s odds of a victory are unquestionably low. Pep Guardiola interestingly opted to play a 4-2-3-1 formation against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. With overlapping fullbacks in Sergio Gomez and Rico Lewis, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez thrived in the half spaces – often causing problems for the Chelsea defense. However, Guardiola could revert to using inverted fullbacks with Cancelo and Stones set to return to the side.
Brentford are certainly a strong side on transition and set pieces and Man City will be aware of the threat they possess. They could also revert to a back five to restrict the spaces centrally and double up on the players out wide. Phil Foden could be a key player to unlock Brentford’s block, as his dynamism from the left side will trouble Brentford. Man City will also rely on De Bruyne’s crosses and cutbacks from the right side with Alvarez or Haaland waiting to pounce in the box.
Thomas Frank has played a back four in the past few games, but that could change this week. Their form in recent weeks, however, has been poor with the back line struggling for confidence. The manager will work on organizing his defense in training and look to use the pace and power of Ivan Toney, and Bryan Mbuemo upfront. It will be hard for Brentford to contain Man City, but set pieces are an area that the Bees could target as they look for a positive result away from home.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne was at his world-class best against Fulham – running the show in midfield and pushing his team to a victory. Manchester City played with 10 men for over an hour, and it was the Belgian’s work rate and industry that stood out. His creative ability from half spaces could prove to be an important asset once again as Brentford will look to stay compact and defend deep to get a result.
Ivan Toney – Brentford
Ivan Toney will undoubtedly be disappointed with the World Cup snub but will look to show his resilience against Manchester City. 8 goals in 13 games put him in the top four goal scorers in the league, but it is his all-round play that stands out. He will cause the Man City defense a few problems on the transition if Brentford can get the ball to his feet quickly.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Brentford: Ederson; Stones, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Bernardo Silva, Haaland, Foden.
Brentford predicted lineup vs Manchester City: Raya; Jorgensen, Mee, Pinnock; Roerslev, Jensen, Norgaard, Dasilva, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney.