Manchester City missed the chance to move to the Premier League summit as Pep Guardiola’s champions signed off ahead of the World Cup with a shock 2-1 loss against Brentford at Etihad Stadium.
The visitors made a bright start and deservedly took the lead on 16 minutes when Ivan Toney nodded home Ben Mee’s flick-on.
It was the Brentford forward’s 17th league goal of 2022 and a timely early reminder of his quality following his omission from England’s World Cup squad.
City improved as the half wore on and levelled seconds before the interval when Phil Foden lashed a rising shot beyond David Raya.
The home side dominated following the interval but found it difficult to break down a resilient visiting rearguard.
Toney looked like he had passed up the chance to secure a shock win when he could not squeeze a shot beyond Ederson but minutes later grabbed the winner.
The result sees City remain in second place, two points adrift of Arsenal who play Wolves later on Saturday evening.
Brentford are next in league action on Boxing Day when they entertain Tottenham. Man City return two days later at Leeds United.
Toney was one of the obvious omissions from England’s World Cup squad when it was announced earlier this week and he let his football do the talking in response to the snub.
The forward was dangerous despite rarely being involved in general play as City bossed the ball for large spells. However, his tireless work off the ball was complemented by his powerful, pacy showing when he did get the opportunity to show what he can do. Took his goals with aplomb and was unlucky to have a shot cleared off the line for what would have been a hat-trick.
It would be easy to pick Toney for his goal heroics. However, Mee was imperious at the back as the Bees did what so many could not, by keeping Erling Haaland quiet. Capped an excellent defensive display with an assist for Toney’s opener.