Manchester City host mid-table Brentford in the final match before the Word Cup in Qatar. The blues have had a solid start to the season, which will now break until 28th December, when City travel across the Pennines to face Leeds United at Elland Road.
It is also a chance to give Erling Haaland, who has been struggling with a foot injury recently, a chance to fully recover and get back to full fitness, after Norway failed to qualify for football’s showpiece.
But, this is about Brentford and the threat they pose to City on Saturday. Here, we look at their form, key players and the boss who is doing an exceptional job at the GTech Community Stadium.
Brentford are enjoying a similar season to last year. After 14 games last year, the team were 12th in the league with four wins, four draws and six defeats, with 16 points to their name. Not bad for the new boys. This season, they have managed to turn two of those defeats and one win into draws but, strangely enough, The Bees have exactly the same number of points, yet are one place better off in 11th.
A win for Brentford on Saturday could send them up to seventh in the league. Potentially, they could make eighth, however that would require a monumental effort while also relying on the teams around them to lose. If Liverpool lose 1-0 Brentford would need to beat the blues by around 12 clear goals. Let’s just stick to them overtaking Fulham and Palace!
But winning at City will be a difficult enough task, never mind trying to win 12-0. Brentford haven’t won in four league matches, five if you count the 1-1 League Cup draw with Gillingham. Their last outing was a 2-2 draw at Forest which followed a 1-1 home draw with Wolves. Prior to that, they were hammered 4-0 at Aston Villa and 5-1 at Newcastle, with a 2-0 home win over Brighton sandwiched in between.
Their other wins were a 5-2 victory over Leeds and a 4-0 win over Manchester United (stop laughing). All their wins were at home and The Bees are yet to win away. Their record on the road is Won 0, drawn 4 and lost 3. They have scored 8 goals on their travels, conceding 17.
Ones to watch
City will need to watch Ivan Toney. Not only has the striker bagged nine goals so far this season, but he has also been overlooked by England manager Gareth Southgate for the World Cup squad in Qatar, who seems to prefer names over form. Toney has attempted the most shots with 38 from 15 matches and has a goal conversion rate of 24%.
Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo have three each, with the latter having the better shot accuracy with 57%, but the lowest goal conversion rate in the whole team with just 14%.
Toney also has three assists and has created 13 chances so far, almost one per game, so if City want to win, they need to stop Ivan Toney. Mathias Jensen is next. he also has three assists and has created 23 chances, the highest of the side. He has also attempted the most passes with 528, completing 448.
Vitaly Janelt has the best pass accuracy with 87%, having completed 457 of his attempted 523 passes.
Who’s the boss?
Thomas Frank has been with Brentford since 2016, joining as assistant coach. He took over the reigns as manager in 2018. In 2020, Frank led his Brentford side to the Championship play-off final, where they were beaten by Fulham. They returned to Wembley a year later and beat Swansea 2-1.
Frank has overseen 207 Brentford matches, winning 92 and losing 65. He has a win ratio of 44%.