Knowing that they had a golden chance to widen their buffer over the chasing pack to double digits on Wednesday night, Manchester City breezed their way to what was a largely routine 2-0 win against Brentford.
While Pep Guardiola’s side might have struggled to find top gear with much fluidity at the Etihad, the struggling Premier League debutants failed to ask few questions against the runaway leaders in midweek.
At least briefly managing to widen their buffer at the top of the table to 12 points, we have taken a look at the key talking points as Manchester City extended on what has quickly become a remarkable purple patch.
Mahrez’s free-scoring run continues
Failing to break down what was a largely rugged Brentford side throughout the majority of the first-half, some around the Etihad might have started to feel that Manchester City could be in for a frustrating night on home soil.
However, when Mads Roerslev brought down Raheem Sterling after a rash tackle five minutes before the break, the red-hot Riyad Mahrez was not going to pass up on a golden chance from the penalty spot.
Stepping up and slotting past the returning David Raya, the Algerian winger was more than deserving of the praise that he received from his manager following Wednesday’s 2-0 victory.
Given a warm applause from the almost 52,000 fans inside the Etihad, Mahrez finds himself in the midst of his own purple patch and has played a vital role in City’s charge to another Premier League title.
In fact, the 30-year-old’s strike here means that the one-time Leicester star has found the net in seven successive appearances for the Sky Blues.
Watching on from the dugout as Kevin De Bruyne swept home a second just a couple of minutes after being replaced by Jack Grealish, Mahrez’s 16 goals this season means he sits seven clear in the race for City’s Golden Boot.
Can anyone stop Manchester City?
While Manchester City might have entered January’s brief winter break with a 1-1 draw away at Southampton, the Premier League giants have certainly proved that was just a minor blip.
Still putting on a dominant display on Wednesday night, despite not being at their imperious best, the Sky Blues appear to be skyrocketing their way towards another domestic crown under Guardiola.
With De Bruyne really starting to find top form after an injury-riddled campaign, there is no doubt that City have their sights set on completing a real silverware sweep both domestically and in the Champions League.
Hardly having to get out of second gear at the Etihad here, the former Bayern Munich boss also saw his side extend their remarkable Premier League unbeaten run to 14 consecutive appearances.
Mustering 40 points on that stunning purple patch, Wednesday’s victory in Manchester also means that Guardiola’s men have stormed their way to a 10-match winning run on home soil, a run that stems all the way back to the end of October.
At least briefly extending their buffer over the chasing pack to double digits, City should be relishing a trip to relegation scrappers Norwich this weekend.
Brentford’s blip continues
While Brentford might have gained plenty of plaudits when making their Premier League debut last year, Thomas Frank’s men now find themselves in the midst of an extended blip.
Knowing that they faced a huge task when making the trip to the Etihad on Wednesday night, the Bees failed to ask any questions and really failed to vill the void left by attacking talisman Ivan Toney.
Likewise, with fellow striking threat Bryan Mbeumo only deemed fit enough for a spot on the bench, Frank can have few complaints about what was a toothless display here.
While Brentford might still find themselves holding a six-point buffer over the drop zone, there is no doubt that some around west London will be starting to look over their shoulder at the drop zone.
Crashing out of the FA Cup away at fellow Premier League strugglers Everton last weekend, Wednesday’s guests have now lost each of their last six appearances across all competitions, a run that stems back to January 8th.
With January’s arrival Christian Eriksen not yet able to feature as the former Inter Milan star seeks full match fitness, Brentford really have the feel of a side seeking some kind of boost.
Manchester City: Ederson, Stones, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva, Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
Subs: Grealish, Gundogan
Brentford: Raya, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Roserlev, Onyeka, Norgaard, Jensen, Henry, Canos, Ghoddos
Subs: Wissa, Dasilva, Mbeumo
Goals: Mahrez 40′ (pen), De Bruyne 69′
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Card: N/A
Referee: Darren England
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