Manchester City missed the chance to move to the Premier League summit as Pep Guardiola’s champions signed off ahead of the World Cup with a shock 2-1 loss against Brentford at Etihad Stadium.
The visitors made a bright start and deservedly took the lead on 16 minutes when Ivan Toney nodded home Ben Mee’s flick-on.
It was the Brentford forward’s 17th league goal of 2022 and a timely early reminder of his quality following his omission from England’s World Cup squad.
City improved as the half wore on and levelled seconds before the interval when Phil Foden lashed a rising shot beyond David Raya.
The home side dominated following the interval but found it difficult to break down a resilient visiting rearguard.
Toney looked like he had passed up the chance to secure a shock win when he could not squeeze a shot beyond Ederson but minutes later grabbed the winner.
The result sees City remain in second place, two points adrift of Arsenal who play Wolves later on Saturday evening.
Brentford are next in league action on Boxing Day when they entertain Tottenham. Man City return two days later at Leeds United.
TALKING POINT – ARE YOU WATCHING MR SOUTHGATE?
Toney was one of the obvious omissions from England’s World Cup squad when it was announced earlier this week and he let his football do the talking in response to the snub.
The forward was dangerous despite rarely being involved in general play as City bossed the ball for large spells. However, his tireless work off the ball was complemented by his powerful, pacy showing when he did get the opportunity to show what he can do. Took his goals with aplomb and was unlucky to have a shot cleared off the line for what would have been a hat-trick.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – BEN MEE (BRENTFORD)
It would be easy to pick Toney for his goal heroics. However, Mee was imperious at the back as the Bees did what so many could not, by keeping Erling Haaland quiet. Capped an excellent defensive display with an assist for Toney’s opener.
MAN CITY: Ederson 7, Stones 6, Cancelo 7, Laporte 6, Akanji 6, Rodri 6, Gundogan 6, De Bruyne 6, Silva 6, Foden 7, Haaland 6. Subs: Alvarez n/a.
BRENTFORD: Raya 8, Henry 8, Pinnock 7, Mee 8, Jensen 7, Zanka 7, Janelt 7, Roerslev 7, Onyeka 7, Mbeumo 7, Toney 8. Subs: Norgaard 7, Wissa 7, Dasilva n/a.
04’ – BRENTFORD CHANCE! Onyeka surges on to a delightful flick-on and bursts into the area, but his low shot is brilliantly blocked by the advancing Ederson
07’ – BRENTFORD CHANCE! Ederson spills a cross from the left by Henry. It’s cut back by Mbeumo to Toney who sees his first-time effort smothered by the recovering City keeper. That was a huge opportunity for the Bees.
16’ – GOAL! – Man City 0-1 Brentford. Toney goes up with Laporte and nods a header home after Mee had flicked on a long free kick.
41’ – MAN CITY CHANCE! De Bruyne feeds Foden who stings Raya’s palms with a rasping drive from the left side of the area.
45+1’ – GOAL! – Man City 1-1 Brentford. Foden rifles a first-time rising shot into the net after a right-wing corner fell to him on the far side.
57’ – MAN CITY CHANCE! Cancelo is given too much time on the left side of the area and Brentford are fortunate that his low shot deflects just wide.
67’ – MAN CITY CHANCE! A sublime one-two between Haaland and Gundogen ends with the German failing to find the finish from close-in.
90+1’ – BRENTFORD CHANCE! Toney tip toes on to a ball from the right but can’t squeeze a low shot beyond the advancing Ederson. That’s a fine save from the City stopper.
90+8’ – GOAL! – Man City 1-2 Brentford. Toney at the double! The forward taps in Dasilva’s cross from close range after a brilliant counter attack.