LONDON: Manchester City extended their Premier League lead to eight points with a 1-0 win over ?? while Chelsea slipped even further off the title pace after being held 1-1 at home by Brighton.
Phil Foden’s first-half goal was enough for City to secure a 1-0 win at Brentford and restore him to favour with manager Pep Guardiola.
Foden and Jack Grealish had been benched for City’s wins over Newcastle and Leicester after they were pictured on a night out following the 7-0 home win over Leeds.
But the England pair were back in the starting line-up in west London, and Foden’s goal made it a perfect 10 wins in a row for Pep Guardiola’s defending champions.
The calendar-year stats churned out at this stage of the season usually have little relevance, but City’s warrant a mention.
They have set English top-flight records for the most victories, 36, and the most away wins, 19, in the last 12 months, while their tally of 113 goals is also a Premier League record.
Brentford have beaten Arsenal, held Liverpool and given Chelsea a fright this season but with 11 first-team players missing – the suspended Christian Norgaard and calf-injury victim Bryan Mbeumo the latest absentees – this had the potential to be a long and painful night against a side who had scored 30 goals in their previous nine wins.
Reece James’s hamstring problem heaped the misery on injury-hit Chelsea as Danny Welbeck’s added-time header stole Brighton a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Romelu Lukaku’s second goal in as many games still pushed Chelsea above Liverpool into second place in the table, but the Blues failed to survive a marauding Brighton’s second-half onslaught.
Welbeck punished a shattered Chelsea at the death, leaving the Blues one point ahead of third-placed Liverpool but with the Reds boasting a vital game in hand.
England star James’s hamstring concern handed boss Thomas Tuchel another headache at wing-back, amid mounting injuries throughout the squad.
Just a day after left wing-back Ben Chilwell was ruled out for the rest of the season due to knee ligament surgery, right wing-back James suffered a leg concern of his own.
Chelsea were already assessing their options ahead of the January transfer window with a view to a possible recruit to offset Chilwell’s injury.
Now the Blues will be made to sweat on the result of tests on James to determine the extent of the latest setback to the Stamford Bridge squad.
Chelsea will host title rivals Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.