Manchester City rally to close gap on Liverpool


Phil Foden scored a brilliantly composed hat trick as Manchester City fought back to earn a 3-1 win at battling Brentford on Monday and close to within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

Despite almost constant City pressure, Brentford led with a Neal Maupay goal after 21 minutes only for Foden to level just before half-time then add two more excellent goals as the visitors took control with another display of possession and probing.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Liverpool, beaten by Arsenal on Sunday, lead the table on 51 points from 23 games, but City are up to 49 from 22 and Arsenal on 49 from 23.

Remarkably, Brentford did the double over City last season, beating them 1-0 in London in the last game in May when the title was already secure, having won 2-1 at the Etihad in November with two Ivan Toney goals.

Another win looked unlikely after the early exchanges on Monday as Julián Álvarez had two curling shots pushed wide by Mark Flekken, who then made an even better save to push clear a swerving long-range Kyle Walker shot that he saw late.

It was Brentford though who struck first, via a Sunday football goal, as Flekken launched a goal kick that Nathan Aké, under pressure from Toney, failed to touch. Maupay was left with a clear run on goal and calmly tucked the ball into the bottom corner after 21 minutes.

Maupay could not buy a goal while at Everton, but has now scored five in the last five games in all competitions while on loan at Brentford.

Phil Foden celebrates after scoring a goal for Man City against Brentford in the Premier League.

Getty Images

Erling Haaland had a chance to equalise immediately, but Flekken again came to the rescue with his feet before saving yet again from Josko Gvardial.

Brentford then won a series of corners and the remarkable sight of putting nine men in the six yard box with only one outfield player from each side occupying the remaining 90 metres of grass.

They came to nothing though and City levelled in first-half stoppage time when Foden seized on a weak clearance header, calmly chesting the ball down and sweeping it in with his side’s 17th attempt on goal in the half.

It was the ever-elusive Foden again who put them ahead after Kevin De Bruyne clipped in a perfect cross for the unmarked midfielder to glance home in the 53rd minute.

Spirited Brentford did have a flurry of attempts, but City dealt with them before Foden completed his treble with another calm finish after a one-two with Haaland in the 70th minute.

The turnaround was hardly a surprise as City had won their last three away league games despite going behind, while Brentford are the worst in the league for throwing away leads — costing them a nominal 26 points already this season.

Articles You May Like

Bitcoin miners at Donald Trump’s closed-door event say he thinks bitcoin can help win AI arms race
Oil prices hold firm, on pace for weekly gain, as inflation appears to ease in U.S.