Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League clash between Brentford and Burnley, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Six points currently separate the two teams in the Premier League standings, though the Clarets in 18th have two games in hand on the Bees in 15th place.
Brentford finally ended their torrid Premier League run of seven defeats and one draw when they secured a 3-1 victory against fellow strugglers Norwich, with Ivan Toney the man of the hour at Carrow Road.
The 25-year-old netted the first top-flight hat-trick of his career, which included two second-half penalties, to put the visitors three goals to the good, and although Teemu Pukki pulled one back in stoppage time, the Bees managed to put a sting in the tail of the Canaries and claim three precious points for just the third time since the beginning of December.
Since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, Toney has netted 93 goals in all competitions – in games for Peterborough United and Brentford – with only Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane scoring more for sides in England’s top four divisions during that period. In addition, Toney has also scored five hat-tricks in that time, more than any other player across all domestic competitions.
With all five teams below Brentford in the table losing last weekend, Thomas Frank saw his side move six points clear of the relegation zone; however, all five have at least one game in hand, including Saturday’s opponents Burnley who, as mentioned earlier, have two in hand.
With challenging fixtures against Chelsea, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United to come later this season, the Bees will be desperate to secure maximum points on Saturday from one of their more favourable fixtures on paper.
However, Brentford cannot take the Clarets lightly as they have lost each of their last five meetings against them, conceding three goals on four of these occasions.
Sean Dyche‘s Burnley side boosted their survival hopes at the end of February by claiming seven points from three games against Brighton & Hove Albion, Spurs and Crystal Palace; however, back-to-back defeats to begin the month of March against Leicester City and Chelsea has brought the Clarets back down to earth.
Last weekend’s heavy 4-0 loss at home to the current European and world champions was Burnley’s heaviest defeat of the season and that result leaves them still in the relegation zone, just one point behind 17th-placed Everton having played a game more.
Dyche’s men have won only three times in 26 Premier League games this season, the fewest in the division, though their first of the campaign came against Brentford in October last year, with goals from Chris Wood, Matthew Lowton and Maxwel Cornet helping the Clarets win 3-1 at Turf Moor.
Burnley are unbeaten in their last six league meetings with the Bees, winning each of the last four in a row, so they will be full of confidence heading to the capital this weekend.
Victory for the Clarets would see them do the double over Brentford for just the second time in their history – their first coming in the 2015-16 Championship season – as well as extend their unbeaten Premier League away run against London-based opposition to five matches.
Brentford Premier League form:
Brentford form (all competitions):
Burnley Premier League form:
Brentford midfielder Josh Dasilva will serve the second of a three-game suspension following his red card against Newcastle United earlier this month, while Christian Norgaard and Kristoffer Ajer are both injury doubts and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.
The absence of Dasilva, and potentially Norgaard too, will likely see Christian Eriksen handed his second successive start in midfield. The 30-year-old playmaker played the full 90 minutes against Norwich, just under nine months after suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
Frank Onyeka, Vitaly Janelt, Shandon Baptiste and Mathias Jensen will all be competing with Eriksen for a place in centre-midfield, while Bryan Mbeumo is set to start alongside Toney in attack, with Yoane Wissa to occupy a place on the substitutes’ bench.
As for Burnley, they will be without club captain Ben Mee who is suffering with a knee injury, so Nathan Collins is set to retain his place at centre-back alongside James Tarkowski, joining full-backs Connor Roberts and Charlie Taylor in the back four.
Aaron Lennon and Dwight McNeil are set to continue on the flanks, while Cornet will be looking to force his way into the first XI ahead of Jay Rodriguez, potentially partnering Wout Weghorst up front.
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Jorgensen, Jansson, Pinnock; Canos, Eriksen, Onyeka, Janelt, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney
Burnley possible starting lineup:
Pope; Roberts, Collins, Tarkowski, Taylor; Lennon, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Cornet, Weghorst
We say: Brentford 1-1 Burnley
A closely-fought contest is set to be played out at the Brentford Community Stadium, though both sides will fancy their chances of claiming maximum points.
Burnley are unbeaten in their last three away games, including two in London against Arsenal and Crystal Palace, and we can see them securing at least a point on Saturday.