Manchester City beat Brentford to move eight points clear at top of Premier League
Manchester City rounded off 2021 by taking command of the Premier League title race as victory at Brentford moved them eight points clear at the top of the table.
With Chelsea being held to a 1-1 draw by Brighton earlier on Wednesday and Liverpool losing 1-0 to Leicester the day before, City capitalised by seeing off a spirited Bees side.
Phil Foden settled the encounter with his fifth league goal of the season early in the first half, superbly finishing first time from Kevin de Bruyne’s whipped ball.
The strike had come just moments after Brentford came close to scoring themselves but Ederson reacted well to keep out a cross that bounced towards the City goal off Ruben Dias, before Yoane Wissa’s deflected strike was cleared off the line.
City were looking to equal the club’s top-flight record of scoring at least four goals in four successive games set in 1905 but they rarely carved open a hard-working Bees side.
Ivan Toney was fortunate to go unpunished for catching Fernandinho with his studs as the City midfielder lay on the ground shortly before half-time.
The visitors went close to doubling their lead soon after the break when De Bruyne and Foden again linked up, with the latter heading his team-mate’s cross just wide of the post.
De Bruyne struck the base of the upright with a fierce low drive from distance, while Dias had a header ruled out for a marginal offside, but in the end Foden’s first-half strike was enough as Manchester City ended a year top of the Premier League table for the third time.
The previous two occasions they rounded off December in this position – in 2011-12 and 2017-18 – they went on to win the title.
Brentford, meanwhile, remain 14th with 20 points – nine clear of the relegation zone as they look to ensure a second season in the top flight.