Brentford still has a chance to improve its bus stop in Hounslow position to become a pin drop on the European map of UEFA competition as the Premier League (PL) season approaches its customarily dramatic conclusion. Brentford fans may have to put their passports back in the drawer for the time being because they are six points outside the top seven and have played at least one more game than most teams nearby, but improvement from their 13th place finish from the previous season is almost certain, so progress has still been made.
The Bees broke out of their six matches Premier League spiral (D3, L3) midweek with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, showcasing their progress. Even though the Gtech Community Stadium is renowned for being a challenging venue for opposition teams to play, Brentford has only won one of their previous five PL home games (D3, L1), continuing their downward trend.
The Tricky Trees head to the capital after a morale boosting 3-1 victory over Brighton in the middle of the week to attempt and prolong Brentford’s home misery. Although that outcome was sufficient to temporarily remove Forest from the bottom three, the preceding 11 matches winless PL run (D3, L8) left a psychological scar that Forest must heal.
Forest has only won back to back league games once this year, and as the PL’s poorest away team this year (W1, D3, L12), it does not appear probable that Forest will add to that total here. The fact that Forest will be traveling to London won’t help either, as they have already lost all four of their Premier League trips to London this season by a combined score of at least two goals. Forest will be eager to end their London dry spell given that the relegation fight is expected to go down to the wire and that their last three away games have all been in the Big Smoke.
Bryan Mbeumo of Brentford was on a scoring streak against Chelsea. His third goal in his last four games served as the game’s second goal, including in the 2-2 tie in the previous meeting. On that particular day, Morgan Gibbs-White gave Forest the lead, but two of his subsequent three club goals, including the one in the middle of the week, have put the game away.
Keane Lewis-Potter might miss the rest of the season with a knee problem, while Pontus Jansson will be out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury for Brentford.
Thomas Strakosha and Christian Norgaard are both out due to injuries, but Kristoffer Ajer might play for the first team again soon as he continues to recuperate from a calf issue.
Bryan Mbuemo, who scored as a substitute against Chelsea, is set to replace Yoane Wissa in the starting lineup. Ivan Toney, who has scored 19 Premier League goals this season, will likely be the attack’s focal point.
Moussa Niakhate and Neco Williams had to leave Wednesday’s triumph over Brighton, adding to Nottingham Forest’s already lengthy injury list.
With Jonjo Shelvey absent due to an internal disciplinary issue, Niakhate and Williams join Chris Wood, Scott McKenna, Willy Boly, Giulian Biancone, Jack Colback, Ryan Yates, Gustavo Scarpa, Omar Richards, and Dean Henderson on Forest’s casualty list.
On a more positive note, Serge Aurier made a midweek comeback from injury to captain the team, and Cheikhou Kouyate made a comeback from the bench.
With Orel Mangala and Danilo holding down the midfield and Joe Worrall anticipated to take Niakhate’s position, Brennan Johnson and Morgan Gibbs-White will be able to assist Taiwo Awoniyi in attack.
Brentford possible starting lineup
Raya, Hickey, Pinnock, Mee, Henry, Jensen, Onyeka, Janelt, Mbeumo, Toney and Schade.
Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup
Navas, Aurier, Felipe, Worral, Lodi, Mangala, Freuler, Danilo, Johnson, Awoniyi and Gibbs-White.
We predict: Brentford 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Brentford has only lost two of its 16 league home games this season, whereas Nottingham Forest has only won one of their 16 away games while giving up 39 goals.
The victory over Brighton on Wednesday will undoubtedly give Steve Cooper and his team motivation, but Brentford should have enough talent to further frustrate Forest on their away days.