Man City came from behind to win 3-1 at Brentford thanks to a hat-trick from Phil Foden, who made sure the team capitalised on Liverpool’s mistake at Arsenal to close the gap to two points over the top.
After 21 minutes, Neal Maupay scored the game’s first goal with a long goal-kick from Mark Flekken, shocking the treble winners. They then found the Brentford custodian in excellent form as they looked for an equaliser.
However, just when Arsenal and Liverpool, who have both played one more game than City, were starting to lose faith, Ethan Pinnock’s careless clearance just moments before halftime broke Brentford’s backbone. Foden finished easily.
Eight minutes into the second half, the midfielder then completed the reversal by ghosting in to meet Kevin De Bruyne’s deep cross, keeping City’s march back towards the top on course.
After capitalising on Erling Haaland’s injury and coolly finishing with a third goal 20 minutes from time, Foden achieved his own personal milestone with his second hat-trick of the season, securing City’s fifth straight league victory and 15th-place Brentford’s seventh loss in eight games.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank said:
“I think overall it was a good performance – especially in the first half but actually throughout the game. We defended very well and we limited them to shots outside the box except the chance to Haaland in that first half due to our own poor back pass.
“The boys defended so well but then make a minor mistake for 1-1. We talked a lot about closing down De Bruyne but then he made an unbelievably precise pass and they showed the quality for 2-1.
“We had a big chance for Norgaard and for Ivan and those are the chances we have to take to beat the best team in the world.”
Man City manager Pep Guardiola said after the game:
“It was a very tough game as what they do from experience, at corners, is really hard to defend against. The way they link with Toney is unstoppable. But we had a lot of shots in the first half and their goalkeeper was amazing.
“I think we deserved it but at the same time we were fortunate to go in 1-1 at half time.
“In the second half, we were much better.”
On Foden: “He’s a guy who can play in so many positions but he likes to play in the pockets. To have a player who can play in these tight spaces is really important.
“He’s a guy who has a lot of weapons. He’s playing his best season since we’ve been together. His goals and assists in this central position is unbelievable.”
Brentford visit Wolves next Saturday while Man City host Everton on the same day.
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