Preview: Fulham vs Brentford

George Singer 13th April 2018

Fulham take on Brentford at the weekend, with a derby day given more spice by the fact that defeat for either side would potentially derail the dreams they have for this season, automatic promotion and a playoff spot respectively. George Singer, as ever, has the details of what to expect from the Bees.

Their Recent Results

D: Brentford 1-1 Middlesbrough
D: Brentford 1-1 Sheffield United
W: Bristol City 0-1 Brentford
W: Brentford 1-0 Ipswich
W: Nottingham Forest 0-1 Brentford

Our Recent Meetings

Dec 2017: Brentford 3-1 Fulham
Apr 2017: Fulham 1-1 Brentford
Nov 2016: Brentford 0-2 Fulham
Apr 2016: Brentford 3-0 Fulham

Match Odds with Grosvenor Casino

Fulham: 13/20
Draw: 3/1
Brentford: 18/5
Fulhamish Tip: Fulham to win and both teams to score is 39/20 with Grosvenor Casino

It’s derby day! Our West London rivals Brentford make the short journey to the Cottage in a crunch match between two sides aiming for promotion spots. Brentford know only a win will keep their flickering play-off hopes alight, and would love to spoil the Whites’ charge on second place. So what can we expect to see from the Bees, as we aim to extend our magnificent unbeaten run to 21 games?

Last time we played

Eugh. Do I have to write about this one..? In surely the lowest point of our season, the Whites were thoroughly bested by an impressive Brentford side. Spearheaded by Johansen at false-9, we were comfortably second best, and went down 3-1.

Our favourite Congolese Kebano opened the scoring early on, poking home from a Fredericks cross. However, it didn’t take long for Brentford to reply, with goals from Sergi Canos and Romain Sawyers putting the Bees ahead.

A dejected Fulham side going behind in the match (Photo: Rex Features)

In a moment of madness, Denis Odoi brought down a Brentford attacker with his shoulder, earning himself a second yellow card. The ten remaining Whites pushed hard for an unlikely equaliser, and went close with Cairney hitting the bar. However, Ollie Watkins sealed the victory for the Bees by finishing off a slick attacking move.

At the time, the win was enough for the Bees to leapfrog Fulham, as the Whites slid down the table to 15th. However, fortunes for the two sides have wildly differed since. Fulham rightly go into the game as favourites, against a Brentford side which has been unable to climb any higher than mid-table. So, what should we expect to see from the Bees as they aim to cause an upset?

Expected Brentford lineup

Brentford’s lineup in their 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest

Brentford have most commonly lined up in a 4-2-3-1 system, which they used in their recent win against Forest. Over the busy Easter period, they’ve rotated a small amount in midfield. As there’s only been 4 days since their previous match, it’s likely they’ll continue to do so.

The formation allows them to pack lots of skillful attacking players into the side, which helps the Bees play their attractive possession-based style of play. In fact, Brentford’s average possession is second only to our own, at an impressive 55%. The attacking midfield 3 will often move all across the pitch, making them a nightmare to defend against.

This style of play allows Brentford to create plenty of chances. In fact – they create more chances per game than any other team in the league. However, it’s their poor finishing which has let them down – they have the 4th worst ‘goal per shot’ ratio in the league. Therefore, whilst they’ve been energetic in attack, they’ve lacked a clinical touch up top.

Shots per game – Brentford top the charts

Man to watch

My man to watch this week is the young English winger Ollie Watkins. The tricky wideman has scored 10 this season, and assisted 4, in an impressive first season in the Championship since signing from Exeter City.

Playing primarily on the left – Watkins is comfortable on both feet. He’ll often cut inside, and dictate the play from all over the pitch. His xAssists for the side so far this season are over 10 (ie he’s created 10 xG). This suggests that if his team mates had their finishing boots on this season, he could easily have had double figures in goals and assists this season. Seriously impressive for a 22 year old!

Watkins showing his playmaking ability – starting and finishing Brentford’s 3rd against Fulham

Notes for Slav

Whilst we got the win against Reading last time out, the Whites really need to pull out a better performance to beat Brentford. They are a really well managed side, playing an attractive brand of football, and creating loads of chances on a limited budget. If they’re able to put away their chances next season, they’ll surely be one of the favourites for promotion.

Brentford play in a very similar way to ourselves, and will expect a lot of the ball. These are classically the teams we tend to do well against at home, as Brentford won’t be used to operating with little possession. Therefore, if we win the midfield battle, we’ll be able to dictate the game and our job will become a lot easier.

I don’t see any need to change the side too much, with our current 11 looking so settled. I’d expect Slav to pick the same lineup as we went with against Reading, perhaps with Kebano and Kamara coming off the bench again to add some dynamism and energy to the game.


This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.