Man City vs Brentford Player ratings as Haaland to the rescue for Man City as champions edge out Brentford


Erling Haaland came to Manchester City’s rescue as the off-colour champions earned a nervy 1-0 win over Brentford in the Premier League on Tuesday.

The prolific Norwegian, who spurned a number of chances in a frustrating draw with Chelsea at the weekend, returned to form to break the deadlock after 71 minutes in a close encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

The win moved City above Arsenal into second place in the table, one point behind leaders Liverpool, who have played the same number of games in the title race.

Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the first half but the second period proved a frustrating affair until Haaland broke free from the Bees defense to slot home a superb finish.

Brentford were the last team to beat City at home in November 2022 and after also testing them in a 3-1 defeat earlier this month, they caused them trouble again.

With Kevin De Bruyne on the bench, City started the better, Haaland firing at Mark Flekken after just three minutes and Phil Foden also forcing a save and another effort was blocked.

But Brentford, to their credit, were not content to sit back and posed a threat on the counter-attack.

Yoane Wissa was denied the chance to shoot by a fine save from John Stones and Frank Onyeka should have done better than fire straight at Ederson after being played through on goal.

Ivan Toney also shot wide from a free-kick, but the visitors then besieged the Bees goal and it was remarkable that the opening period ended goalless.

Julian Alvarez missed the target twice before Bernardo Silva’s close-range header hit the wrong side of the post.

Manuel Akanji had a good shot from distance that was flicked on by Flekken and Ruben Dias saw the header cleared.

Oscar Bobb looked set to score when he rounded Christian Norgaard but Ben Mee stretched to clear on the line.

Brentford ended the first half with another chance when Ederson pushed Onyeka’s header wide and City made a surprisingly slow start after the break.

Guardiola tried to revive proceedings by introducing Jeremy Dok for an hour, but the Bees responded by sending on the rugged Neal Maupay, who clashed with Kyle Walker in the sides’ recent meeting.

After Foden saved his effort, it started to look like it might take something special to break the deadlock and that moment duly arrived 19 minutes from time.

Brentford pushed forward but their attack broke down and the ball moved forward quickly, Rodri found Alvarez and the Argentine released Haaland.

The Norwegian still had more than half the length of the field to go but made a quick run and passed a stumbling Kristoffer Ajer before weaving his way past Flekken from the edge of the area.

The goal was greeted with great relief but Brentford weren’t done and Toney fired just over after Dias gave the ball away.

City could have had more late on, with Haaland having his header disallowed for offside and Flekken saving twice from Foden.

Man City player ratings

GK: Ederson – 6/10 – Made the odd save when called upon but was largely a spectator.

RB: Kyle Walker – 7/10 – Solid defensively and made some positive forward runs to stretch the Brentford backline.

CB: John Stones – 7/10 – Booked for scything down Wissa late in the first half and was certainly tested throughout by the physical Toney. Settled into proceedings.

CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Performed admirably against some tricky Brentford forwards and was typically combative when required.

LB: Manuel Akanji – 7/10 – Regularly stepped forward with the ball in central areas and even had a pop at goal that was well saved by Flekken.

DM: Rodri – 7/10 – A characteristic Rodri display, the Spaniard breaking up Brentford counter-attacks and providing offensive support when required.

RM: Phil Foden – 8/10 – Played across the pitch and drifted into central areas throughout the match. Always looked a threat in and around the penalty area.

CM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Not the most influential performance from the Portuguese, although he was neat and tidy on the ball as expected.

CM: Julian Alvarez – 6/10 – Snatched at a handful of first-half opportunities, with some surprising wastefulness in the final third from the World Cup winner. Still ended the game with an assist to his name.

LM: Oscar Bobb – 6/10 – Almost gave Man City a first-half lead but saw his well-taken effort cleared off the line. The youngster offered some bright moments, albeit lacking a little cutting edge.

ST: Erling Haaland – 8/10 – After a frustrating outing against Chelsea, Haaland got back on the scoresheet against the Bees. A fantastic finish from the Norwegian, who ended the game with the winning goal.

SUB: Jeremy Doku (61′ for Bobb) – 6/10

SUB: Mateo Kovacic (89′ for Alvarez) – N/A

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