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Match Reports

Manchester City 2 Brentford 0

Bees beaten by Premier League leaders

9 February 2022

A goal in each half from Premier League leaders Manchester City was enough to hand Brentford defeat in the North West. The Bees had defended manfully before they conceded a penalty in the dying minutes of the first half. City added a second with 20 minutes remaining to seal a 2-0 win.

There was little doubt the better team on the night won, but Brentford’s defensive effort almost paid off. Most of the shots from the home side were from distance and Brentford largely held them outside the penalty area. But The Bees contributed to their own downfall in the concession of a penalty and then a second and City took the points.

Manchester City took control of the game early on. They played on the front foot and pushed Brentford back. The Bees were content to play in their own defensive third, inviting City to pass the ball in front of them, planning to stop the ball coming in to the penalty area.

This worked for long periods of the first half. City had a lot of the ball but David Raya, in the Brentford goal, was not unduly busy. He gathered crosses but spent more time with the ball at his feet than in his hands. Phil Foden headed over early on for the home side, but the first half hour was uneventful. The best shot of that period came from Mathias Jensen, albeit the Brentford man was in an offside position.

Brentford looked to keep the game compact. Frank Onyeka, Christian Nørgaard and Jensen were a tight midfield trio with Rico Henry and Mads Roerslev offering support when they could. Saman Ghoddos played just behind Sergi Canós and attempted to get Brentford moving forward, albeit he was often crowded out when he got on the ball.

After 30 minutes of fine defending from Brentford, City did create more as half time approached, and got their goal. That came five minutes before the break when Brentford failed to clear their lines. Raheem Sterling drove in to the penalty area and Roerslev went to ground as he tried to make a challenge. Roerslev fouled Sterling and Referee Darren England pointed to the penalty spot. Riyad Mahrez sent Raya the wrong way to put City in front.

They deserved the lead at that point, but Raya had not been busy. He had to push away a low cross from Mahrez as Sterling approached. João Cancelo got on to the loose ball and smashed it over the crossbar. An acrobatic effort from Sterling flew over and Aymeric Laporte placed a shot just wide when Rúben Dias nodded a free kick down.

Brentford picked their moments to push their players up the pitch and did create the odd problem for City when they did. Jensen had a shot blocked when Brentford won the ball in City territory. The ball was scrambled behind and the resulting corner dropped to Onyeka, but his header was saved by Ederson. That came moments before City took the lead at the other end.

They could have doubled that lead when Sterling darted away on the left but was unable to find the right pass and pick out a man in the centre. And Brentford had a great chance to level. John Stones slipped when controlling and Henry nipped in. He exchanged passes with Ghoddos and was faced with only Ederson to beat, but he was caught in two minds, slipping as he did, and the square ball towards Canós was intercepted by the City goalkeeper.

Onyeka also blasted wide late in the half as City went in ahead, but with the game still alive. The hosts tried to end the game early in the second half, with Cancelo seeing a lot of the ball on the City left. He fired over from distance before weaving in to the penalty area, past three men, before a shot that Raya saved low. Raya also denied Bernardo Silva in a lively opening to the second half before saving, again, from Cancelo.

Brentford had a sight of goal when Henry found space on the left and his cross reached Roerslev on the far post. The ball back in was met by Onyeka, but he failed to get enough on the shot to trouble Ederson. The Bees then introduced Bryan Mbeumo and Josh Dasilva as they looked for a leveller. A Nørgaard pass looked like it might put Mbeumo away, but Stones and Kevin De Bruyne raced back to crowd him out and dispossess him.

Moments later, City had their second, to just about kill the game off. Brentford had possession inside their penalty area, but Raya failed to get the right elevation and distance on his kick and presented the ball straight to Sterling. Raya redeemed himself with a brilliant one-on-one save but De Bruyne was there to roll the ball in and put his team two up. City could have added a third when a Cancelo shot deflected over the bar and Rodri then headed wide. Cancelo saw a shot blocked and the ball bounced back to Rodri, his low effort was tipped around the post at full stretch by Raya.

The Bees were not out of the game and looked to try and reduce the arrears. Yoane Wissa saw a shot blocked from a half cleared corner and then forced a save from Ederson, albeit he may have been offside. The Bees pushed the defensive line all evening and were close to finding a way through on a couple of occasions but ultimately ended with nothing to show from their evening.

Manchester City: Ederson; Stones, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodrigo, Silva; Mahrez (sub Grealish 67 mins), Foden (sub Gündoǧan 71 mins), Sterling

Subs (not used): Steffen, Walker, Aké, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Delap, McAtee

Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Roerslev, Onyeka (sub Wissa 70 mins), Nørgaard, Jensen, Henry; Ghoddos (sub Mbeumo 62 mins), Canós (sub Dasilva 62 mins)

Subs (not used): Fernández, Lössl, Bech, Stevens, Baptiste

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