Manchester City will enter the new year with an eight-point lead at the top of the English Premier League after Phil Foden scored in the first half to give them a 1-0 win at Brentford on Wednesday.
Foden’s goal in the 16th minute after a cross pass by Kevin De Bruyne was enough for Pep Guardiola’s team to win its tenth consecutive league win.
With Liverpool’s loss at Leicester City on Tuesday, and Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with its guest, Brighton & Hove Albion, City took advantage of the opportunity to control their dominance at the top.
The defending champion presented a modest performance and Brentford could have come out with a better result. De Bruyne hit the post after the break, and two goals for Foden and Aymeric Laporte were disallowed.
City withstood to raise its score to 50 points from 20 games, compared to 42 for Chelsea from 20 games as well, while Liverpool has 41 points from 19 games.
This is the fourth time that Guardiola has achieved ten consecutive victories since taking over as City coach.
“During the Christmas period, you have to push and stay focused,” Foden said. This team does that.”
Foden was left out of City’s starting lineup in the last two league matches against Newcastle United and Leicester City, after a problem with Guardiola due to staying up with his colleague Jack Grealish.
The 21-year-old returned to the starting line-up against Brentford, making up for it with an effective touch.
Moments after Joao Cancelo cleared a ball off the goal line that almost gave Brentford the lead, City scored.
An attack ended with De Bruyne, who passed it to Foden, to put it in the crosshairs of Alvaro Fernandez, scoring his fifth goal in the league this season.
Brentford was the better party at the start of the match and Ederson saved his goal from a pass that collided with fellow defender Ruben Diaz.
City dominated after the break and Foden put a pass from De Bruyne into the goal, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
De Bruyne hit the post low and the referee canceled Laporte’s goal for offside.
Despite his lack of attacking effectiveness that led him to score 17 goals in his last three games, City showed their ability to win matches in the most difficult situations.
Brentford remained in 14th place, nine points above the relegation zone.
Guardiola said: “Phil Foden has been amazing since he started training with the team. Exceptionally, he can play in several positions. He’s a good player and there are no doubts about that, he doesn’t have to prove anything to me. He needs to enjoy football like he used to when he was a kid.
City look on their way to a fourth title in the last five seasons in the league, but Guardiola has been cautious when talking about the title race.
“There are still 54 points,” he said. Thank you for your praise after our victory but I will only believe you when everything is settled.
“Chelsea and Liverpool are two great teams,” he added. One of them is the European champions and Liverpool have been our main competitors in recent years. We won a game but it’s still the end of December and there are a lot of games left.
“Social media maven. Award-winning coffee geek. General explorer. Problem solver.”