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Back from the Africa Cup of Nations with a bang, Riyad Mahrez may have endured continental disappointment with Algeria, but the former Leicester City man was on top form to help Pep Guardiola‘s men comfortably see off Fulham in the FA Cup.
Mahrez struck twice after the break following Ilkay Gundogan and John Stones‘s efforts in the first half, with Man City forced to come from behind on their own turf after Liverpool target Fabio Carvalho broke the deadlock within four minutes.
A trip to Peterborough United awaits Man City in the fifth round as they seek to keep their hopes of a historic treble alive, although a 1-1 draw at Southampton before the international break has made the title race somewhat more interesting.
Guardiola’s side still hold a comfortable nine-point lead at the summit over Liverpool, but the Reds do have a game in hand over the reigning champions, so a couple of dissatisfactory results for Man City could blow the race for glory wide open in the coming weeks.
City will certainly not expect to slip up at the fortress that is the Etihad, though, with the 4-1 win over Fulham representing their ninth home victory on the bounce across all competitions – a run that includes six consecutive Premier League triumphs on their own territory.
City have little in the way of injury concerns to worry about for the visit of Brentford, with Cole Palmer – who would not have started anyway – and Gabriel Jesus the only two absentees this week.
Jesus is yet to shake off niggles from international duty and will not make the cut, while his compatriot Ederson prepares to displace Zack Steffen in between the sticks.
Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte should also return to form a familiar pairing in front of the Brazilian, with Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva also set to reprise their roles in the XI.
Brentford duo Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa both missed the defeat to Everton after testing positive for COVID-19, but the duo may recover in time to face the champions.
That is more than can be said for Mathias Jorgensen, Tarique Fosu and Julian Jeanvier, while new signing Christian Eriksen is highly unlikely to be given the green light to play just yet.
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Frank will certainly consider reintroducing Frank Onyeka and Shandon Baptiste to the XI after a miserable afternoon in the cup, while the return of David Raya in goal has been welcomed with open arms. Ethan Pinnock also ought to be re-introduced after his international stint with Jamaica.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canos, Norgaard, Onyeka, Jensen, Henry; Toney, Mbeumo