Soccer English Premier League 7 March 2023
Brentford vs Fulham - Match Preview
Matters off the pitch have dominated the headlines, with Brentford having to prepare for this West London Derby amidst the backdrop of intensifying scrutiny on star man Ivan Toney following his gambling breaches. This game will come too soon for whatever punishment he faces, so the Bees will hope that the noise won’t distract them from their goal of extending the Premier League’s (PL) longest current unbeaten run which began in late October (W5, D6).
The sky appears the limit for Brentford this season if they can retain their focus as they sit just four points adrift of sixth place prior to the weekend’s games, a position which will more than likely be enough to secure a European berth. Scoring the opener will likely be crucial to closing that gap on Monday, though, with the Bees one of just three sides ahead of the round yet to win a PL game when conceding first (D6, L4).
Fulham enter the weekend level with sixth-placed Liverpool, but with just a four-point cushion over Brentford with two more games played, so this match has the feel of a ‘six-pointer’ in the race for Europe. Marco Silva’s men booked an FA Cup quarter-final spot last time out, although his side will be weakened from that 2-0 win over Leeds as key midfielder João Palhinha begins a two-game suspension here.
Silva insisted another player will “do his job just as well” during the interim. That would be the ideal outcome as Fulham look to continue a peculiar trend which has seen them go unbeaten in all but one PL game against sides beginning the round below themselves (W11, D5, L1), a run which includes five London derby games (W3, D1, L1).
📋 Players to watch: Brentford’s Toney and Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović have scored four goals apiece in PL London derbies this season, a joint return which is second only to Harry Kane’s eight-goal haul in such games this season.
⚡ Hot stat: Brentford have never lost a PL game when opening the scoring (W17, D4).
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