Sunday’s Premier League action will begin with Brentford vs West Ham United at the Gtech Community Stadium.
Gameweek 36 of the 2022/23 Premier League season will continue on Sunday, with the day dishing out three fixtures. And the action will begin at the Gtech Community Stadium, where Brentford vs West Ham United will greet the fans in a London derby.
Brentford once seemed one of the favourites to clinch European qualification at the end of this season. But their form has nosedived in the last few weeks, as they have won just three of their last 11 Premier League fixtures. And the sub-par run of results has left the Bees in the tenth spot, well behind seventh-placed Aston Villa.
On the other hand, West Ham United’s form has improved enough for them to avoid relegation. The Hammers spent several weeks in the drop zone, with David Moyes’s job coming into the blaze of speculation. But while they have shown interest in several managers, including Xabi Alonso, Moyes might succeed in remaining at the London Stadium if he guides West Ham to a European trophy.
The reverse fixture saw Brentford beat West Ham United 2-0 before the Hammers exacted revenge in the FA Cup third round. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
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⚒️ West Ham work pic.twitter.com/jSXRNBkhGQ
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) May 13, 2023
Thomas Frank does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against West Ham United on Sunday, the Brentford manager will be bereft of the services of four first-team players.
Thomas Strakosha (ankle), Pontus Jansson (hamstring), Keane Lewis-Potter (knee), and Christian Norgaard (Achilles) remain on the sidelines. And none of the four players will play again this season due to their respective injuries.
There is no looking past David Raya between the sticks, with Brentford likely lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him. And the backline will feature Aaron Hickey, Ethan Pinnock, Ben Mee, and Rico Henry. Henry, in particular, will have a dual role as he looks to make his mark on both ends.
Norgaard’s absence has left Brentford exposed somewhat in the middle of the park. And Vitaly Janelt has been deputising for the Danish midfielder in the midfield unit. Janelt should join Mathias Jensen and Joshua Dasilva in the centre of the pitch.
Kevin Schade has had some impressive moments lately and might get the nod over Yoane Wissa. The German attacker will likely join Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney in the final third. And the latter, whose performances have compelled Frank to go gaga, will hold the key for the hosts on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Hickey, Pinnock, Mee, Henry; Dasilva, Janelt, Jensen; Mbeumo, Toney, Schade
West Ham United
Like his counterpart in the Brentford dugout, David Moyes has a largely injury-free squad ahead of the trip to the Gtech Community Stadium. The West Ham United manager might be without four first-team players on Sunday.
Vladimir Coufal (hamstring) and Gianluca Scamacca remain on the sidelines due to their respective injuries. And while Coufal should return by next week, the latter will not be fit enough to return before the season ends.
Meanwhile, Moyes has been sweating over the fitness of Angelo Ogbonna (illness) and Michail Antonio (knock). And with one eye on the second leg against AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-finals, the Scot will rest a few players, including Antonio.
Putting in the work 👊 pic.twitter.com/ufBCwmjRMO
— West Ham United (@WestHam) May 13, 2023
So Danny Ings should spearhead the West Ham attack, with Antonio being an option on the bench. Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals will have a chance to impress, with Said Benrahma and Lucas Paqueta earning some rest. And Jarrod Bowen will complete the offensive unit for the visitors.
The midfield unit should continue to feature Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice, with neither player having an alternative in the squad. The two players will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park. But Rice will also push West Ham forward with purpose, while Soucek will threaten during set-piece situations.
As for the defensive unit, Ben Johnson and Emerson Palmieri should be the two full-backs. And Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd should form the central defensive partnership. Finally, Lukasz Fabianski is an automatic pick between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Johnson, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Lanzini, Fornals; Ings
- Brentford have won five of their last seven league games against West Ham United in a run stretching back to 1953 (D1 L1). In addition, they have won all three of their meetings with the Hammers in the Premier League.
- West Ham United have lost seven of their last eight away London derbies in the Premier League (W1), including four of five in 2022/23. The Hammers have never previously lost as many as five away games against fellow London opposition in a single league season.
- Having lost just five of their first 28 Premier League games this season (W10 D13), Brentford have since lost four of their last seven (W2 D1). But the Bees have only lost one of their most recent 13 league matches (W6 D6) at home, a 1-2 defeat to Newcastle United in April.
- Seven of the 11 Premier League matches to see the lowest ball in-play time this season have involved Brentford, with their defeat to Liverpool last week seeing the ball in play for just 43 minutes and 10 seconds, the lowest of any top-flight match in 2022/23 so far.
- No West Ham player has scored (6) or been directly involved (9) in more Premier League goals this season than ex-Brentford man Said Benrahma (6 goals and 3 assists). He has been involved in more shot-ending sequences of play than any other player for the Hammers this term (127 from open play).
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Toney has been in a league of his own at Brentford this season. Meanwhile, the English striker has a strong record against West Ham United. And he has been involved in Brentford’s last four Premier League goals against West Ham, scoring twice and assisting the other two.
On Sunday, he will have the opportunity to become the fourth player to both score and assist a goal in three consecutive Premier League games against an opponent, after Steven Gerrard vs Newcastle United (2007/2008), Theo Walcott against West Ham United (2011-2013) and Roberto Firmino vs Arsenal (2017)
Meanwhile, only Erling Haaland (47% for Manchester City) has either scored or assisted a higher proportion of a team’s goals in the Premier League this season than Ivan Toney for Brentford (46%, 24/52 – 20 goals, 4 assists). And as the hosts look to end the season strongly, the Englishman’s output will be crucial.
Brentford 2-1 West Ham United
The match pits a team with a strong home record against one that seldom wins away games. Brentford’s tally of 31 points in 17 home games is impressive. On the other hand, only three clubs have a worse points haul on the road this term than West Ham United (Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, and Nottingham Forest).
Meanwhile, West Ham will look to clinch back-to-back wins for only the second time this season. But the Hammers have only won one of their last six Premier League games that have come within three days of them playing in the UEFA Europa Conference League beforehand (D3 L2). And the poor run should continue on Sunday, with Brentford boasting a strong record at home.
The hosts will unlikely run riot, considering their recent form. But Ivan Toney should be in inspired touch and will likely deliver the goods for the umpteenth time this season. However, West Ham will not go down without a fight but will fall agonisingly short of clinching a point at the Gtech Community Stadium. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Thomas Frank and his charges.
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