Top-six hopefuls Brentford host London rivals Crystal Palace at the Gtech Community Stadium, with both sides eyeing a solid win.
Thomas Frank would have been the most relieved man at the Emirates last Saturday as a VAR blunder ruled a goal in Brentford’s favour. Lee Mason in the technical room forgot to draw lines on Christian Norgaard, who was clearly offside before teeing up Ivan Tooney for the equaliser.
With the game ending in a draw, Brentford extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 10 games. They are within a shot of breaking into the top six. Against Arsenal, the Bees were of full value, as they were probably the better side in the contest at the Emirates.
Frank would seek consistency in their next few games, as the pressure is on them to deliver results for a good finish. They have played a game more than six placed Brighton, but winning against Palace seems imperative for the Bees in their quest to finish in European places.
Crystal Palace were also one of the fortunate sides to earn a draw courtesy of another blunder from VAR. This time, the officials made the error in ruling out a Brighton goal scored by Pervis Estupinian, which may have seen the Seagulls take three points.
Did VAR get this one wrong ❓
Brighton's Pervis Estupinan was denied the opening goal at Crystal Palace for this offside decision 🚩
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) February 11, 2023
Like Brentford, Palace could count themselves fortunate to have come out of the contest with a point, but their terrible form continued. They have not won the last six games in the Premier League, which may concern Patrick Vieira, but he could look for a response against the Bees.
While Vieira’s men sit in 12th position, some seven points clear of the relegation zone, they could find themselves in trouble if their current run continues. While the points gap is significant at this stage, a large chunk of the season is yet to be played. Hence they need to start winning games and putting points on board.
Team News & Tactics
Thomas Strakosha, Pontus Jansson and Frasnk Onyeka are the three absentees for BRentford’s clash against Palace. The big concern from last weekend was the fitness of Toney, who was rubbing his hamstring before being subbed off.
💬 Thomas Frank will be without three players tomorrow but Ivan Toney is fit to start#BRECRY
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) February 17, 2023
Frank confirmed the striker was fit and available to start against Palace. Besides that, Brentford has no other fitness concerns, as a strong squad will be available for the weekend’s game. Hence, a similar team to the one that drew at the Emirates could start at home.
While Frank went with a back three against Arsenal, he might revert to a back four and play an attacking lineup against Palace. While he might keep the personnel intact at the back, Kristoffer Ajer might take up a right-back role in this game.
Josh Dasilva, Norgaard and Matthias Jensen will form the trio in midfield. Bryan Mbeumo on the right will support Toney in the central role, with Yoane Wissa expected to start in the attacking third against Palace.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3) – Raya; Ajer, Pinnock, Ben Mee, Henry; Dasilva, Norgaard, Jensen; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa
Joel Ward, Wilfried Zaha and Nathan Ferguson are certainly out of the contest this weekend with their respective injuries. Zaha will only start training in two weeks, although Vieira confirmed James McArthur would form a part of the travelling squad.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 15, 2023
Meanwhile, Joachim Andersen is primed to start against Brentford after missing the last two games. He might replace last weekend’s goalscorer James Tomkins, as Vieira will have his usual central defensive partnership back in action.
There were also reports on Will Hughes picking up a knock against Brentford. If that is the case, Sambi Lokonga could make his first start since arriving from Arsenal, although he has featured in two games as a substitute. The Belgian could partner with Cheick Doucoure in the central area.
Vieira could shift to a standard 4-4-2, something he did against Brighton to contain their attack. In this game, the Frenchman could go with a physical frontline of Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew to help with the physicality in the Brentford defence.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2) – Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Olise, Doucoure, Lokonga, Schlupp; Mateta, Ayew
- Brentford have drawn their last 3 matches against Crystal Palace in all competitions.
- Brentford are unbeaten in 10 Premier League games.
- Brentford are the joint-best defensive side in 2023 alongside Newcastle, conceding just twice.
- Crystal Palace have failed to win their last 6 matches in the Premier League.
- Crystal Palace are yet to win a game in 2023.
Player to Watch
Ivan toney league goals this season: 14 goals
Marcus Rashford league goals this season: 12 goals.
According to united fans Rashford is the best player in PL, the best player in the world and Potential ballon d'or winner 2022.😂😂😂😂💀💀💀💀 pic.twitter.com/uTcZEqIo4n
— TheEdo4thBorn 🇨🇦 (@GeorgeArmour3) February 17, 2023
While Vieira will be hoping to win this calendar year and arrest the slump of his Palace side, he faces a strong striker in Toney. The Brentford star has proved his worth more than once this season, particularly against the top sides, as he dominated Arsenal’s William Saliba in the previous encounter.
He will come to play a huge role against Palace and trouble their backline to his benefit. The goal against the Gunners also showed his clinical nature inside the box, which he would hope is the case at the weekend against Palace. He could be the difference for the Bees in their race to finish in European places.
Brentford 2-1 Crystal Palace
The Bees have tremendous momentum coming into this encounter with Palace, which could lead to a win at the Gtech Community Stadium. Vieira’s side are under great pressure to deliver results, but they meet an in-form Brentford side who are unbeaten in 10 Premier League games.
Hence, Brentford are overwhelming favourites to take three points from this clash and condemn Palace into more trouble. A win would put them in firm contention for a European spot, something Frank hopes would pump up his players and motivate them.