Manchester City-Brentford Preview
Thomas Frank has hailed opposite number Pep Guardiola as the "greatest manager of the modern era" ahead of Brentford's home meeting with Manchester City on Wednesday.
City make the trip to west London on a nine-match winning run in the Premier League that has given them a little breathing space at the top of the table.
Guardiola is going in search of his fourth English top-flight title in six seasons with City, adding to the three league crowns won with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
And Frank, who has only coached Brentford and Brondby at senior level, does not believe there is a better manager in the world than Guardiola.
"We're playing against the team in the division with potentially the biggest budget, definitely one of them, and I think the greatest manager of the modern era," he said.
"They have unbelievable players and a very good, specific style of play that makes it quite difficult for a team like us to try to get something out of it.
"Guardiola's a very innovative coach, always tweaking the positions. The way they build up from behind and the way they keep the ball is something I've been studying for years.
"It's difficult to copy, you need decent players, but it's nice to get inspiration from that."
Brentford were beaten 2-0 by Brighton and Hove Albion last time out but are 14th in the Premier League, closer to the top seven than the relegation zone in terms of points.
Up next is an almighty task against a City side boasting 24 goals in seven games in all competitions this month, 17 of those coming in their last three matches.
But City boss Guardiola is taking nothing for granted at the Brentford Community Stadium in his side's final match of an impressive 2021.
"They made an incredible start of the season. They are doing really well," he said.
"I saw the game against Chelsea - they lost, but they were incredible. They drew against Liverpool, they beat Arsenal. (They are a) top team."
Brentford - Alvaro Fernandez
Fernandez is deputising in goal for Brentford in the absence of David Raya but has kept just one clean sheet in eight Premier League appearances so far.
Against a free-scoring City side, it will likely be a busy day for the Spanish goalkeeper.
Manchester City - Raheem Sterling
Sterling has scored in each of his last four Premier League appearances, netting five times in total across that hot goalscoring streak.
Never before has the England international found the net in five consecutive games in the competition.
- The last top-flight meetings between Brentford and Man City were back in 1937-38, with the Bees winning home and away against reigning champions Man City, who were relegated at the end of the campaign.
- This is the first meeting between Brentford and City in any competition since January 1997, with the Citizens winning an FA Cup match 1-0 at Griffin Park thanks to a Nicky Summerbee strike.
- City have won their last three away league games against promoted sides by an aggregate score of 11-1. They last won more consecutively against such opponents between December 2009 and November 2011 under Roberto Mancini (six).
- The Citizens have only lost their final league game in one of the last 20 calendar years (W10 D9), with that defeat coming at Liverpool in 2016.
- After winning just one of their first six Premier League home games (D1 L4), Brentford have won their last two at home in the competition. They last won three in a row at home in the top flight in February/March 1939.
Updated December 28, 2021