Brentford boss Thomas Frank says his side will try cutting off the “source” to Erling Haaland in Saturday’s clash with Manchester City, although admits Kevin De Bruyne will be tough to quieten.
Haaland is on 23 goals for the season already, 18 of which have come in 12 Premier League games. After firing home the stoppage-time winner from the spot in the club’s 2-1 win over Fulham last week, the attacker was rested for the midweek 2-0 League Cup win over Chelsea.
The welcome of Brentford to the Etihad will be City ’s final match before the World Cup, which Haaland will not be going to after Norway’s failure to qualify. Frank is well aware of the danger this entails and is expecting the striker to be all guns blazing in his final competitive game for at least a month.
He described how Haaland has been able to rack up his astonishing total partly due to the service he is being provided with, namely that from De Bruyne. The Belgian has amassed 13 assists this season, six of which have led to Haaland goals.
“He [Haaland] is a goal machine that will break records going forward,” Frank said on Friday. “He’s already done that so far and he’ll continue doing it.
“He’s playing for a team that is giving him probably the best possibilities to score goals; they will provide him with good opportunities from crosses or slide passes. It’s about trying to stop the source; the more we can stop the source, the better.”
He added: “It will not be the first time that people have tried to keep De Bruyne quiet; he always seems to find a way.” Brentford ran City closely in both fixtures last season, going down 1-0 and 2-0.
Frank said he had got his players to look at back at last term’s performances against the champions as a pointer ahead of the weekend.
The Bees boss added: “We showed a few bits to the boys about the last two games against them and also a couple of other games because City and Pep [Guardiola] always find new solutions that you need to be aware of.”
Brentford welcome back midfielder Vitaly Janelt for the clash with Christian Norgaard available after suffering an Achilles injury in August. However, they will be without quad Kristoffer Ajer, Shandon Baptiste, Aaron Hickey and Pontus Jansson until after the mid-season break.