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The hosts, Brentford vs Man City: Match Preview

Brentford, the home team, suffered a 3-2 defeat away to their city rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Despite taking the lead in the game, they failed to maintain their momentum. This loss brings their recent record to four losses in their last five league fixtures. Meanwhile, Manchester City, who were recently crowned world champions, registered a convincing 3-1 win over Burnley, who are currently placed at the bottom of the league. This win was thanks in large part to Julian Alvarez’s brace in the midweek fixture. Manchester City has won all of their last four league matches and has an excellent record in all competitions, including FA Cup games.

The Bees are currently ranked 15th on the points table, having collected 22 points, and are only three points ahead of the relegation zone. At the halfway point of the season, Thomas Frank’s team must work hard to gather as many points as they can to avoid relegation. On the other hand, Pep Guardiola’s side is in a strong position, having amassed 46 points and played one game fewer than most other teams, except the Bees, of course. The title holders will strive to maintain their position as league leaders, having bounced back impressively from their recent difficulties.

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Brentford managed to beat the Manchester Giants in both legs last season, and they are now aiming to repeat this success by defeating the toughest opponents. They will rely on their home advantage to secure a third successive win over City. For the Sky Blues, this match is crucial as they need to narrow the points gap between them and the top two title challengers, Arsenal and Liverpool, who currently hold the top two spots on the table. Therefore, this encounter promises to be a significant turning point in the title race.

When and Where?

Date: Monday, February, 2024.
Time: 20:00 HRS BST
Venue: Gtech Community Stadium

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Jarred Gillett.
Assistants: Neil Davies & Darren Cann.
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell.
VAR official: Paul Tierney.
Assistant VAR: Con Hatzidakis.

TEAM NEWS

The Bees will feel the absence of Yoane Wissa, Frank Onyeka, and Saman Ghoddos, all away due to national team commitments. Additionally, the injury list includes the full-back duo of Rico Henry (knee) and Aaron Hickey (thigh), alongside attacking players Bryan Mbeumo (ankle) and Kevin Schade (groin), all of whom will be unavailable for Thomas Frank’s selection.

In the visitors’ camp, a string of injury woes has spared them, as Pep Guardiola will have a full-strength squad with no injuries. The successful recovery of Erling Haaland, Manuel Akanji, and Kevin De Bruyne will be a significant boost for the defending champions coming into this fixture, and for the crucial latter part of the season

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MATCH ANALYSIS

The Danish boss is expected to deploy a 3-5-2 formation, continuing the tactical approach from the last three games. Mark Flekken is anticipated to be in goal, with a reliable back three comprising Ben Mee, Nathan Collins, and Ethan Pinnock. In midfield, a five-man unit with Sergio Reguilon, a winter arrival likely to start as the left wing-back and Mads Roerslev on the right. Both wing-backs will be tasked with covering the full length of the pitch on both ends.

The midfield duties will be handled by Mathias Jensen, who will start alongside Vitaly Janelt and Christian Norgaard. This trio will control the midfield, aiding in defense and facilitating offensive breaks. In attack, the clinical duo of Neal Maupay and Ivan Toney will aim to capitalize on scoring opportunities and challenge the visitors’ defense.

Pep Guardiola, recently crowned FIFA Best Manager 2023 in January for leading his team to a historic treble-winning campaign, will employ his tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation. Ederson is set to start in goal, with the back four expected to see a few changes given player availability; Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias are slated to return, joining Nathan Ake and John Stones in defense. In the midfield pivot, Rodri is expected to pair up with Matheus Nunes in front of the backline, aiming to nullify opposition attacks.

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In the middle, the three-man midfield will see their ace Kevin De Bruyne team up alongside Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden on either side as wide midfielders right behind the inform centre-forward Julian Alvarez who’ll act as sole striker dropping at times to create chances and to score goals.

KEY PLAYERS

Ivan Toney

Brentford’s skipper Ivan Toney, missed the first half of the season due to an 8-month suspension but returned to lead Brentford’s offensive line. The 27-year-old striker has maintained his form despite the prolonged absence, making a remarkable return against Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur by scoring two goals in as many games in January.

The English marksman is among the most sought-after names in the Premier League and valued at a £100 million price tag, is being linked with a move to the Gunners for the summer. Having scored 32 goals in 64 Premier League appearances for the Bees, these next six months might be his last at Brentford. Toney will be determined to give his all and aims to extend his scoring spree against the champions.

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Kevin De Bruyne

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For the Citizens, their talismanic captain Kevin De Bruyne has recovered from an injury suffered in the Premier League opener and made a stylish return. Guardiola will surely be relieved by the availability of one of their most consistent performers in Europe. Since his return, the Belgian superstar has notched three assists and a goal in the last four matches. His presence in midfield gives his team a significant advantage.

At the Gtech Community Stadium, the 32-year-old will aim to continue creating scoring opportunities for his teammates with his exceptional vision, maintaining his fine form to help his side retain their championship. He will be a key player to watch in the fixture.

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PREDICTED LINEUPS

Brentford’s predicted lineup: Flekken; Collins, Mee, Pinnock; Roerslev, Janelt, Jensen, Norgaard, Reguilon; Toney, Maupay

Man City’s predicted lineup: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Ake; Nunes, Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Foden; Alvarez

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