Brentford are in a slump, and they must snap out of it quickly if the aims of promotion are to be achieved this season. With only one win in the previous four Championship games and no wins away from home it has created a must win atmosphere to all games at Griffin Park.
Reading came to sit deep and frustrate, which was undone by an early Neal Maupay goal. However, two costly mistakes by Daniel Bentley gifted Reading a route back into the game and the lead.
Along with the poor refereeing/linesmen decisions all game and a dubious red card for Said Benrahma, it was a very frustrating day for Brentford. Yoann Barbet came up with the goods to equalise late on, but it only serves to paper over the cracks that are beginning to form.
Then comes Tuesday’s match against Birmingham City, a fixture which was surrounded in its own drama last season after the departure of Maxime Colin, Harlee Dean and Jota Peleteiro to St Andrews at the end of last summer. The previous two matches went the way of Brentford, 2-0 away and a stomping 5-0 victory at home (also on a Tuesday night), and Bees fans will be desperate for a similar result come Tuesday.
Birmingham themselves are certainly in a rut, with only one win all season (though it was against Leeds) and seven draws. There is certainly an added heat to this match after last season, so expect another aggressive game plan as Gary Monk’s men try to upset Brentford’s rhythm.
The key men for Birmingham will of course be their top goal scorers in Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz (three each for the season) who will pose very different threats, but Brentford will also be wary to keep an eye on Colin, Dean and especially Jota. The Spaniard was a fan favourite and a wizard for the Bees, so there will be a lot of attention focused on him.
Brentford likely line-up: (4-2-3-1)
Dalsgaard – Konsa – Mepham – Barbet
McEachran – Macleod
Judge – Sawyers – Watkins
Despite his shocking mistakes on Saturday, I expect Bentley to retain his spot in goal. Smith isn’t the sort of manager to just drop someone like Bentley after only making two mistakes (although they were shocking).
Benrahma was fantastic on Saturday, but sadly due to his second yellow and sending off he won’t be in action. This leaves a space for players such as Sergi Canos and Alan Judge to push for, and after Judge’s free-kick vs Arsenal and a good spell after coming on Saturday I think he’ll get the nod.
Tuesday will be a tough game, almost with a derby feel to it. Both sides will be desperate to finally get another win on the board, as well as have the bragging rights. Expect a lot of noise and a fantastic atmosphere under the lights at Griffin Park, and with that backing I think the Bees will get the win.
Brentford 3 – 1 Birmingham City
Up the Bees.
Picture Credit: Brentford FC