Brentford talisman Ivan Toney has conceded his Bees side found it incredibly difficult against Manchester City at home on Wednesday night.
The striker took to twitter just hours after the full-time whistle had blown to reflect on what was a dominant display from the visitors, though they only ran out 1-0 winners on the night.
Toney jokingly wrote: “Not the best kick about year 11s Stole our ball. But we go again next year. Fans were behind us right till the end. Happy new year everyone stay safe.”
In many ways, Toney’s assessment was alarmingly accurate, Brentford spending the majority of the night chasing shadows as Man City’s expensively assembled side kept the ball between themselves for much of the contest, ending the game with a staggering 77 percentage of possession.
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Phil Foden’s 16th minute effort was enough to hand City the victory and a crucial set of three points that look all the more important in the wake of title rivals Chelsea and Liverpool slipping up in their most recent outings.
Despite his side now sitting pretty at the top of the table with a healthy eight-point lead over nearest challengers Chelsea, City boss Pep Guardiola has insisted that the title race is by no means over.
“There are 54 points to play for,” Guardiola said.
“All of you, thank you for your nice words because we win but I am not going to believe any words you say about it is already done or expected because Chelsea and Liverpool are more than exceptional.
“One is champions of Europe and the other has been our big rivals over the years.
“The distance is not because they drop points but because we win 10 games in a row.”
City’s latest win ensures they see in the new calendar year top of the league, something they have done on twice previously in the 2011-12 and 2017-18 seasons – they went on to win the league on both occasions.
Liverpool and Chelsea play each other next at Stamford Bridge, which is welcome news for City as it ensures at least one, potentially both of their title rivals will drop points.
Guardiola’s men, meanwhile, are gearing up for a New Year’s Day clash away at Arsenal, a side the City boss claimed are “one of the top teams right now”.
“In December no one is champion. We are going to lose games. I see in my mind, Arsenal, Chelsea, Southampton coming,” he added.
“We have a game in London against Arsenal, maybe one of the top teams right now. The best Arsenal in the last four or five years.”