Manchester City travel to Brentford for the first time since 1997, when the blues won 1-0 in an FA Cup 4th Round tie. City will go into the match six points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, guaranteeing top spot going into 2022.
They face a Brentford side that have won three and lost four of their eight home matches so far in their debut Premier League season.
Wednesday’s match will be only the eighth time these two teams have met in all competitions at Brentford and the blues have come out on top on just two occasions. Their second league meeting in April 1937 ended 6-2 to the blues, but they had to wait until 1997 for their next win at Brentford.
However, after losing 2-1 in December 1937, their next encounter didn’t occur until 1951, when the Bees beat the blues 2-0 in a Division Two match. They then had to wait 38 years to meet again and when they did, City were chasing promotion from the old second division while Brentford were a division below. Their FA Cup tie in January 1989 saw the Bees win 3-1 in one of the shocks of the fourth round.
The following season, the two were paired in the League Cup second round. Brentford again emerged victorious in the first leg (2-1), but City hammered the Bees 4-1 at Maine Road to secure a 5-3 aggregate win.
There has only been one goalless draw in this fixture, which happened to be the first time the two met in London. Since then, both sides have kept one clean sheet each. Brentford edge the blues on goals scored, with the hoe side scoring eleven to City’s ten.
The two have played this fixture once in December, which ended in a 2-1 win for the home side. Ominously for City, and the superstitious, City entertained Brentford on Christmas Day 1937, the only other time the two have played in December and lost 2-0. Hopefully, it will be third time lucky for City this time around.
A win for Brentford could take them to tenth in the league, depending on goals scored, while a City victory will see them extend their lead at the top over Liverpool at least, with Chelsea welcoming Brighton to Stamford Bridge on the same evening.
City will take their total number of away wins to eight from ten played with victory and will take a total of twenty-five points from a possible thirty on the road.
If City score three or more, it will surpass the record number of top-flight goals scored in a calendar year. City have scored 112 in 2021 and the record is held by Spurs with 114, with Wolves also scoring 112, both in 1960.
Brentford haven’t lost their final home game of a calendar year since 2005. City, however, have only lost one of their last games of the calendar year in the past twenty years. That was a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool on New Year’s Eve 2016.
Who will come out on top? Will City be well clear going into 2022?