Oscar Bobb will make his first Barclays Premier League start as Pep Guardiola makes three changes for tonight’s game against Brentford.

City take on the Bees at the Etihad this evening, with a 19:30 (UK) kick-off.

And incoming for the latest Premier League encounter are Bobb, John Stones and Bernardo Silva while Nathan Ake, Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku drop to the bench.

Tonight represents Bobb’s first top-flight start, after coming off the bench in seven top-flight games so far in 2023/24.

This encounter follows hot on the heels of our 1-1 draw with Chelsea this past weekend – and just over two weeks after our 3-1 away win at Brentford earlier this month.

Indeed, if we manage to pick up the victory tonight, it would be only the third instance of one team beating another twice in the same calendar month in the Premier League.

Both previous two were achieved by Arsenal - against Bolton in January 2010 and v Wolves in February 2022.

And, interestingly, victory this evening would help us leapfrog the Gunners into second spot, one point behind leaders, Liverpool.

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Brighton
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Man City
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TEAMS

CITY XI: Ederson, Walker (C) Stones, Dias, Akanji, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Foden, Alvarez, Bobb, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Ake, Kovacic, Doku, De Bruyne, Gomez, Nunes, Lewis

BRENTFORD XI: Flekken, Onyeka, Ajer, Mee, Roerslev, Jorgensen, Norgaard, Janelt, Reguilon, Toney, Wissa

Subs: Strakosha, Maupay, Jensen, Ghoddos, Collins, Lewis-Potter, Damsgaard, Baptiste, Yarmoliuk

TACTICS

Ederson will be between the posts and supported by a four-man defence of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Manuel Akanji.

Rodrigo and Bernardo Silva will anchor the midfield with Oscar Bobb, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez supporting Erling Haaland in attack.

Premier feeling for Oscar

It’s a milestone moment for Oscar Bobb this evening.

The 20-year-old academy graduate makes his first Premier League start as we face Brentford at the Etihad.

Earlier this season, in September 2023, the young Norwegian was given his top-flight debut against Fulham coming on as an 88th minute substitute for Phil Foden.

Later that month, the tricky winger made his Champions League debut against Red Star Belgrade, replacing Phil Foden in the 83rd minute in a 3–1 win.

Just before Christmas, he came on in Belgrade and scored his first Champions League goal in a 3–2 victory.

There was more to come as he bagged his first Premier League goal and a late winner no less in the 3-2 victory at Newcastle, a goal that earned him January’s Premier League Goal of the Month.

Go well tonight, Oscar.

BEES CAN STING

City will look to pick up three points this evening against Brentford - but we know from experience how troublesome the Bees can be.

We’re aiming to put the pressure on Liverpool at the summit of the table and our record at the Etihad points to a positive result as we have lost only one of our last 37 Premier League home games.

But that solitary defeat was when Thomas Frank’s side beat us 2-1 in November 2022 in the last game before the winter World Cup in Qatar.

The Bees have struggled away from home this season, though, having lost seven of their last 11 top-flight games, including five of their last six outings.

But they do come here with a 2-0 win over Wolves at Molineux as their last result on the road.

It’s certainly a game that deserves maximum attention – and there’s no doubt that Pep Guardiola will be giving it exactly that.

SEVEN UP

Phil Foden could this evening become only the seventh player in Premier League history to score in two separate matches against the same opponent in the same month.

Foden bagged a hat-trick in the 3-1 victory at the Gtech Stadium on 5 February and if he scores against the Bees tonight on 20 February, he will join a list comprising Birmingham City’s Mikael Forssell, Middlesbrough’s Szilard Nemeth, West Ham’s Craig Bellamy, Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, Aston Villa’s Emiliano Buendia and Man Utd’s Marcus Rashford.

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Foden has certainly been prolific against this evening’s opponents in the past – he has scored five of City’s seven Premier League goals against the Bees.

And if he does find the net again, Brentford will become the team he’s scored the joint most goals against in the Premier League – six alongside Brighton. 

ONE MORE FOR HAALAND?

Erling Haaland will only be interested in three points tonight against Brentford.

He’s spoken about the importance of team success as opposed to individual glory in tonight’s matchday programme, in fact.

But he will look to get back on the scoresheet this evening after failing to do so in the weekend 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

He bagged two against Everton but couldn’t convert against the Blues.

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Interestingly, if he does so today, he will have scored against all 21 sides he’s faced in the Premier League.

At present, the Bees are the only team in the top-flight he’s failed to score against.

Not a key narrative, but an interesting sidenote for sure.

MATCH STATS

-City have won six of our eight home games against Brentford in all competitions, with the exceptions being a 2-0 defeat in December 1937, and a 2-1 loss in this exact fixture last season.

-Having beaten City in this exact fixture 2-1 last season, Brentford are looking to become just the second team to win consecutive away league games against a side managed by Pep Guardiola, after Manchester United in 2019/20/2020/21.

-City are unbeaten in our last 47 midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) games at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League (W41 D6) since a 0-1 defeat to Tottenham in May 2010. We have won 26 of our last 27 such fixtures (D1), including each of our last 12 in a row.

-Brentford have lost 10 of their last 13 Premier League games (W3), keeping just one clean sheet and conceding 29 goals in this period (2.2 per game). In fact, since the first game of this spell in November (0-3 defeat at Liverpool), the Bees have lost more Premier League matches than any other side (10).

-City have fallen behind in 11 of our 24 Premier League games this season; only in 2016/17 (12) and 2019/20 (13) have we trailed in more games in a league campaign under Pep Guardiola. However, we have recovered 18 points from losing positions this term; only in 1993/94 (20) have we regained more after falling behind in a single Premier League season.

-Ivan Toney has scored in both of his Premier League away games for Brentford this season, goals against Tottenham and Wolves. No Brentford player has ever netted in three successive away appearances in the competition.