Erling Haaland is a “goal-machine” who will send records tumbling, says Thomas Frank, but the Brentford boss still has ideas how to get the better of Manchester City when the pair meet in the Premier League this weekend.
In what will be their last game before the World Cup, both teams are hoping to sign off on a winning note ahead of the mid-season break for Qatar 2022.
The Citizens, second in the table behind Arsenal, will be heavily favoured to do the job when the Bees come to the Etihad Stadium, particularly if Haaland is fit to feature, with Frank warning of the Norway star’s capabilities.
“He is a goal machine who will break records,” said Frank. “They provide him with the best possibilities to score so it is about trying to stop the source.”
The Dane does not see no path through to three points however, adding: “We have never gone into a game without belief of being capable of winning. It’s going to be unbelievably difficult against potentially the best team in the world.
“We managed to keep them relatively low on shots in both games (last season). In that aspect you can take confidence but you are never satisfied with losing 1-0 or 2-0. You want to go for the win and that will be the same on Saturday.”
Opposite number Pep Guardiola was in a surprisingly quiet mood ahead of his team’s final game, though he did jest about playing for City against Liverpool in next month’s EFL Cup clash after the World Cup.
But the Spaniard did field questions about his future, stating he was in no rush to get a fresh contract meted out amid the break, as speculation rumbles over his future.
“Everything is under control,” he added. “It’s perfect. A decision will be made the moment it has to be made.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Man City – Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian has fired more shots from outside the box than any other player in the Premier League this season (24), with two of his three goals so far coming from distance. Meanwhile, only Tottenham (93) have faced more shots from outside the box than Brentford (92) so far this term.
Brentford – Bryan Mbeumo
The Cameroon winger has played 49 Premier League games for Brentford, and could become the first player to reach 50 for the Bees. He’s provided more assists than any other player for the club in the competition (8) and is looking to score in consecutive top-flight appearances for the first time.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Man City won home and away against Brentford in the Premier League last season, but have never won three consecutive league games against the Bees (10 meetings).
– Brentford have won just one of their five away league games against Manchester City, winning 2-0 on Christmas Day in 1937 in the top-flight.
– Manchester City have won each of their last 11 Premier League home games, their longest such run since a run of 14 in the 2017-18 campaign. They’ve scored at least twice in their last 15 at the Etihad, with only Liverpool having a longer run of scoring 2+ goals in Premier League home games (16 between February and December 2019).
– Brentford are one of four teams yet to win away from home in the Premier League this season (D4 L3), with only Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Wolves (2 each) gaining fewer points on the road than the Bees (4).
– Manchester City are averaging more high turnovers per game than any other side in the Premier League this season (10.8), while only Everton (27) have faced more shots from high turnovers than Brentford so far this term (25).