Brentford stunned Manchester City 2-1 in a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Saturday. Ivan Toney scored a brace for Brentford, while Phil Foden scored the only goal for the home side.
With the victory, Brentford moved up to 10th in the league table with 19 points from 15 matches. City, meanwhile, remained 2nd with 32 points from 14 matches. The Cityzens are now 2 points behind Arsenal, who have a match in hand.
With the FIFA World Cup staring next week, there will be no action in the Premier League for until Christmas Week. Pep Guardiola would have preferred to end on a high note before the break, but that was not to be.
Here at three things that stood out in the match:
Brentford dangerous in transition and first to score
Manchester City dominated possession in their customary way right from the start of the match. They had 65% possession during the initial 20 minutes and that increased as the half progressed.
However, Brentford looked dangerous with swift counter-attacks. In fact, the visitors got a couple of great chances in the first 6 minutes and only Ederson’s quick reflexes ensured Manchester City did not concede a goal.
The Brazilian goalkeeper came off his line to deny Brentford once and then stopped a close-range shot.
Still, Brentford managed to go ahead through one of their quick transitions as the ball was played from the right flank to the edge of the box, then headed towards Toney, who made no mistake, heading home from inside the penalty box.
The Manchester City centre-backs Manuel Akanji and Aymeric Laporte lost their respective aerial battles on the play and the visitors were ahead.
Manchester City attacks were lopsided yet they equalized
Manchester City started the match in a 4-3-3, but kept switching to a 3-5-2 while in possession, with right-back John Stones moving inside to play in the central midfield and Bernardo Silva dropping down to play as the right wing-back.
Stones, who usually plays as a centre-back, barely made any overlapping runs through the right flank as City continued to lack width on their right side.
As a result, City’s attacks went through the left, where Joao Cancelo combined with Foden to create moves. Kevin De Bruyne kept running towards the box and Ilkay Gundogan moved further ahead to play alongside Erling Haaland for the majority of the first half.
After Brentford’s goal, Rodri started venturing forward more often, with Stones playing as the third centre-back while Bernardo also started looking more involved. The crosses started flowing in – primarily from the left – as the half progressed, but Haaland failed to connect properly on a few occasions.
In minute 42, De Bruyne’s probing through pass to Foden led to a shot on goal, but it was saved. Those two combined again for City’s equalizer a few minutes later.
City’s goal came from a rare delivery from the right, albeit through a corner kick. De Bruyne’s delivery took a bounce and reached Foden inside the Brentford box and the latter shot first time with enough power to put the home side level in the dying minutes of the first half.
Brentford stuns City with late strike on another counter
City were the dominant team in the second half as well. However, Laporte suffered a head injury a few minutes into the half, though he managed to finish the match after treatment.
Brentford kept absorbing pressure and their defenders and goalkeeper fought bravely to keep denying the home side. Gundogan kept falling back more frequently to collect the ball in the second half and De Bruyne played on the right flank for the most part.
However, the Brentford players won most of the aerial duels inside their own half as well as in their opposition half. Moreover, Brentford also kept launching sporadic counter-attacks.
City enjoyed more than 75% ball-possession on the day and had 27 attempts, but could not breach the opposition defense in the second half.
Gundogan played a nice 1-2 with De Bruyne before chipping the ball over the bar and Cancelo’s shot was saved by the Brentford goalkeeper. Laporte then intercepted brilliantly to deny Brentford their second goal.
With 10 extra minutes of stoppage time (primarily due to Laporte’s injury), City pressed for the match-winner. As the match veered towards an end, City earned a corner, but the Brentford defense managed to avert the danger.
What followed was a brisk counter-attack and the ball was played to Toney, who made no mistake in nodding the ball home, as City players failed to get back on defense. Brentford could have scored again through a subsequent counter-attack, but De Bruyne managed to clear Toney’s shot.