On Sunday afternoon, the Premier League champions of Manchester City will play Brentford in a season-ending match at the Gtech Community Stadium in the English capital, continuing their coronation parade.
Midweek, Brighton & Hove Albion held Pep Guardiola’s team to a 1-1 draw, while Thomas Frank’s team most recently overcame a goal deficit to defeat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1.
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Things do not get any easier for Man City at Brentford’s headquarters, where the Bees have hardly ever been outclassed over the past few months, just a few days after a taxing trip to the South Coast.
Contrary to the champions, the hosts have their own European qualification to contend for and can be confident of a positive outcome.
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Brentford’s preparations for their London derby against Tottenham last week were almost derailed by the news of Ivan Toney’s unprecedented eight-month suspension for breaking the FA’s betting rules, but Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa proved more than capable of filling the Englishman’s shoes.
Harry Kane’s incredible goal may have broken the score in North London, but Spurs’ missed opportunities caught up with them as Mbeumo produced two excellent finishes before setting up Wissa to take advantage of Tottenham’s careless defending in a memorable victory.
A top-half spot is now guaranteed for the team that only won its first-ever Premier League promotion two years ago. And Frank’s team still has a chance to squeak into the Europa Conference League spot as they sit one point behind Tottenham. And two behind Aston Villa heading into the final weekend, both of whom have a worse goal differential.
In order to secure a trip to Europe for next season, Brentford must defeat Man City, while also hoping that Spurs lose to Leeds United and Villa lose to Brighton & Hove Albion. After a brief Easter slump, the Bees have returned to form with four victories in their last five games.
While they may have lost to Leeds in their final match of last season, Brentford have followed a pattern of winning one then losing one in their last four final-day meetings – certainly a good omen before welcoming the Man City party bus. The Bees have also only lost twice at home all season, with Arsenal and Newcastle United the only teams to leave the Gtech Community Stadium with a maximum this term.
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Pep Guardiola and Roberto De Zerbi prepared for a fascinating tactical match at the Amex on Wednesday night, and both sets of players could leave satisfied with a single point in the bag.
This came a few days after both managers waxed lyrical about the other. Phil Foden scored the opening goal for the Citizens, but just seven minutes before halftime, Julio Enciso stunned everyone with an incredible goal that is a strong candidate for Goal of the Season as Man City’s jubilant title victory may have taken its toll.
A positive After last weekend’s coronation, in which Arsenal’s loss to Nottingham Forest confirmed their status as champions before their victory over Chelsea. Guardiola jokingly claimed that his team had consumed all the alcohol in Manchester. However, the minibars won’t be open when the treble-chasing Citizens compete for glory in the FA Cup and Champions League finals next month.
At the Gtech Community Stadium, Man City hopes to extend their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 25 games. The champions, who will play their 1,000th Premier League game this weekend, have also won each of their last six games on the final day.
The Citizens’ lone home loss in the Premier League this season came at the hands of Brentford, who also defeated Man City by a score of 2-1 back in November. With the visitors’ minds likely on the June finals, the time is now for the Bees to attempt to complete a historic double.
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In addition to the suspended Toney, who won’t be able to play again until January 2024, Brentford will also be without their departing captain Pontus Jansson (thigh) and Keane Lewis-Potter (knee) for the champions’ visit.
Christian Norgaard’s Achilles injury is still bothering him, so even though the international for Denmark won’t be able to play on the final day, Mathias Jensen should still get the nod in the engine room.
Despite being replaced at halftime the previous weekend, Frank Onyeka’s defensive presence in the middle may be preferred to Mikkel Damsgaard’s given that Mbeumo, Wissa, and Kevin Schade will again be tasked with scoring goals.
Regarding Man City, Guardiola disclosed following the draw with Brighton that Phil Foden’s early exit was due to a knock he sustained in the first half. It is unknown at this time whether the England international will be deemed fit for the weekend.
Because of his thigh injury, Nathan Ake is also being kept in bubble wrap. Neither he nor Foden should be risked for this meaningless match, and all of Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Jack Grealish, and Aymeric Laporte missed Wednesday’s game out of caution.
The likes of Sergio Gomez, Cole Palmer, Julian Alvarez, and Kalvin Phillips are among those who can anticipate promotion to the starting lineup, though it would take a brave soul to confidently predict a Guardiola XI at the tail end of the Premier League season.
Possible Brentford vs Manchester City Starting Lineups
Below are possible Brentford vs Manchester City Starting Lineups
Brentford Starting Lineups
Manchester City Starting Lineups
- De Bruyne