Opposition Focus: Brentford

Form: Well well well, here we go again. End of the season looms and we’ve got Brentford on the fixture list. You reckon the EFL do this on purpose? Anyway, The Bees have put together a tidy little run recently, putting them still in with a fighting chance of the playoffs, unbeaten in their last five and three wins on the bounce. They come into this game off the back of a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest at The City Ground, defender Henrik Dalsgaard with the goal in the last ten minutes.

Formation: Much like our last few opponents, they don’t seem to have one ‘Plan A’ formation they stick with and have tampered in the past few weeks. My guess is though, they’ll try and match us by going with a 4-3-3, trying to jam the middle of the park and not allowing the likes of Tom Cairney & Stefan Johansen to dominate like normal.

Dangerman: No ex-players (thank heavens), and I’ll be brutally honest, I don’t pay attention to Brentford, something I think we can all agree can be quite healthy, so I have no idea who their main guy is. In fact, some disclosure, I was just going to put Lasse Vibe, but it seems he’s been sold to somewhere in China in February. I’ll just say Daniel Bentley, who I think is in the discussion as the best goalkeeper in the division and someone we should have gone for instead of getting David Button.

Battle to watch: Andreas Bjelland v The Fulham wingers. For some reason, Slav just has fiddled around with his right winger in recent matches, with Ojo, Piazon & Ayite all getting a run-out. As much as I said earlier that I don’t know much about Brentford’s team, I do have some knowledge of Bjelland having seen him for Denmark a few times and he can cause problems and will be a tough challenge for whoever he happens to be facing.

Head to Head:

  • This is the 24th season in which Fulham and Brentford have met in the same division – Fulham have won 18, Brentford have won 15 and there have been 14 draws.
  • Fulham have won only 1 of the last 7 meetings with Brentford – despite scoring the opening goal in 4 of these games.
  • Brentford are unbeaten in their last 9 visits to Craven Cottage in all competitions since Fulham’s 1-0 Division Three win in April 1990.
  • That victory is Fulham’s only success in the last 17 home meetings with Brentford in all competitions – a run going back to December 1980.

Opposing view (@deaconcj  – Communications Officer at Brentford Chris Deacon)
What’s gone right for Brentford? The Club has a lot of talented players and young lads who are coming through this season, including the infinitely composed Chris Mepham at centre-back. The squad as a whole is more injury-free than we’ve seen in recent years so that’s making for a good amount of rotation as the games come thick and fast.

What’s gone wrong? I think the run at the start of the season is what everyone will look back on, should we miss out on the top six this season. Despite some really good football, something that’s been an ever-present this term, the wins just wouldn’t fall for Dean Smith. Until mid-November, we were still in the bottom half of the table.

Predictions? There’s so much at stake. Fulham have to keep winning to retain second spot, Brentford have to keep winning to reach the top six. There will be goals. I reckon 2-1 but who wins it? I don’t know

Prediction: Brentford have NOT been fun opponents for us since we dropped down. One win, two draws and four defeats in our previous seven league meetings. It’s this form that for some reason doesn’t fill me with confidence heading into the game. We know that everything goes out the door in a derby game, we know their fans will turn up and make noise and given their form, they will fancy themselves to come and spoil the party. Do we have enough to deal with them and keep them at arm’s length? Yes, we do, but we’d have said the same about QPR and look how that turned out.

Fulham 1 – 1 Brentford