London – Phil Foden was the hero on Monday evening as Manchester City produced a spectacular second half performance to overturn a 1-0 deficit and beat Brentford 3-1 in the Premier League. The victory sees City move to within two points of league leaders Liverpool, with a game in hand.
Meeting at the Brentford Community Stadium, the match began in relentless fashion with City dominating possession and carving out several early chances. However, it was the hosts who drew first blood, hitting City on the counter attack in the 21st minute. Goalkeeper David Raya launched a long ball over the top which Nathan Ake failed to deal with, allowing Neal Maupay to latch onto it and slot past Ederson.
Going behind sparked City into life. They continued to dictate proceedings and finally got their reward on the stroke of halftime when Foden collected a weak header on the edge of the box, took a touch to steady himself, and then rifled into the bottom corner on the half volley.
The second half was all City as Pep Guardiola’s men moved through the gears. Eight minutes after the restart, Kevin De Bruyne delivered an inviting cross to the back post where Foden was left unmarked to guide a header into the far corner.
With the momentum firmly on their side, City smelled blood and tripled their lead in the 70th minute when Foden completed his hat trick in style. After a sharp exchange of passes with Erling Haaland on the edge of the area, Foden created space for himself before opening up his body and caressing the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot.
It was a masterclass in finishing from the 22-year-old who continues to shine in a more advanced role this season. Foden now has 13 goals in all competitions, equalling his best return from last term.
For Brentford, it was a harsh reality check. They executed their game plan well in the first half, soaking up pressure before hitting City on the break to take the lead. However, the superior quality of the visitors eventually told. Since beating City on the final day of last season, Brentford have now shipped 17 goals without reply in their last four meetings.
The result leaves The Bees precariously positioned in 15th place, just three points above the relegation zone. Thomas Frank will be hoping this heavy defeat does not derail their season as they gear up for a crucial relegation dog fight.
For City, it was the latest show of their champion mentality. The ability to play at their best for 90 minutes, even when behind, underlined why they remain Liverpool’s biggest challengers for the title.
After the match, Guardiola heaped praise on Foden, saying “He always had an eye for goal. He’s got 250 games already and he’s had an impact with goals this season. He’s incredible.”
The City manager also acknowledged Brentford’s first half display, adding “I think we deserved it but they are a really tough opponent. We had a lot of chances and their keeper was sensational.”
Frank was also complimentary of his team’s efforts, despite the defeat. “It was a good performance overall from us, we did a lot of things right. In the first half we defended very well and limited them to shots outside the box.”
With the title race heating up, City will be hoping this come-from-behind win can help power them to another Premier League crown. There remains a long way to go, but with the likes of Foden in sensational form, Guardiola’s side have shown they have the quality and belief to once again go the distance.