Men's Team

Haaland starts as City make eight changes

Haaland starts as City make eight changes
Pep Guardiola has made eight changes from the side that beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Erling Haaland is back in the starting line-up for the first time since the draw with Borussia Dortmund in October after recovering from a foot injury.

The Norwegian is the only player starting that will not be heading off to the World Cup after today’s game with Guardiola naming a strong side.

And Kalvin Phillips, who was named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, is on the bench and could get his first minutes in the Premier League since the opening day victory over West Ham after recovering from a shoulder operation.

Line ups:

CITY: Ederson, Stones, Akanji, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, Gundogan (c), De Bruyne, Silva, Foden, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Dias, Phillips, Grealish, Alvarez, Gomez, Mahrez, Palmer, Lewis

Formation: 4-3-3

Joao Cancelo comes straight back into the side after serving his one-match suspension in the Carabao Cup win over Chelsea and is expected to start at left-back.

On the other side of the defence, John Stones has more recently started as the right-back but Manuel Akanji has also played in that position, so either could play alongside Aymeric Laporte in the centre of defence.

Guardiola also has a number of options in midfield to play ahead of Rodrigo in the holding role with Bernardo Silva or Kevin De Bruyne potentially starting on the right wing.

But there is no doubt who will lead the line as the striker with Haaland hoping to add to his extraordinary start of 23 goals so far.

World Cup can wait

In his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said he would not rest any players despite Qatar coming up.

And two of our England’s stars can push their chances for a start in their opening game against Iran with John Stones and Phil Foden in the side.

Stones has been in outstanding form this season and potentially goes into the World Cup as England’s best defender.

Whether he starts at right-back or in the centre of defence, he has barely put a foot wrong this season and can head to the tournament brimming with confidence.

BEES WARNING

Thomas Frank's side don’t come into the game in the best of form having won just one of their last 10 matches, including a penalty knockout defeat to League Two Gillingham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

But Brentford gave us two extremely difficult games last season, a 1-0 victory away in December followed by a 2-0 win at the Etihad just six weeks later.

"I remember how tough it was meeting here and away. It will be quite similar," Guardiola said.

"It’s an early kick off, which is always a little bit more complicated.”

Ivan Toney offers a huge goal threat with nine from 15 appearances this season although it wasn’t enough to secure a place in the England squad for the World Cup.

STATS AND FACTS

  • City won home and away against Brentford in the Premier League last season but have never won three consecutive league games against the Bees (10 meetings).
  • Brentford have won just one of their five away league games against City, winning 2-0 on Christmas Day in 1937 in the top-flight.
  • We have won each of their last 11 Premier League home games, the longest such run since a run of 14 in the 2017-18 campaign scoring at least twice in their last 15 matches at the Etihad.
  • Brentford are one of four teams yet to win away in the Premier League this season.
  • City are averaging more high turnovers per game than any other side in the Premier League this season (10.8), while only Everton (27) have faced more shots from high turnovers than Brentford so far this term (25).
  • Kevin De Bruyne has fired more shots from outside the box than any other player in the Premier League this season (24), with two of his three goals so far coming from distance.
  • Ederson has won 149 of his 195 Premier League games with City – victory here would make him the first player to reach 150 wins in fewer than 200 appearances in the competition.
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