Brentford vs Aston Villa: Match Preview | Premier League 2022/23

Anugrah Patnigere
By Anugrah Patnigere
8 Min Read

Unai Emery’s in-form Villains travel to London to face Thomas Frank’s Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium as both the teams will battle it out for all 3 points in a bid to strengthen their place in the points table and secure European football for next season.

Brentford find themselves in 9th place and have been off the pace as they are winless in their last 5 games in the league while being beaten consecutively 3 times in their last 3 outings. The Bees seem to have put their foot of the gas as they have fallen out of the European spots and now stand a slim chance of making it to Europe as they are 6 points behind Brighton who occupy the Conference league place with 2 games in hand. With an outside chance of making it to Europe and just 6 more games to go, it is do-or-die for the Bees as they look to finish in the top half of the table for the first time since their promotion back to the top flight 2 years ago.

Aston Villa on the other hand are showing no signs of stopping and they keep on winning. They have won their last 5 games and their last defeat came 2 months ago at the hand of the league leaders Arsenal. When Emery was appointed as their manager, the Villains were languishing in 15th place back in October. Fast forward to April and they are 6th in the league just 6 points off 4th place and well positioned to make it to the Europa League as they remain 3 points behind Spurs whom they face next month in what could be a crucial match for both sides to qualify for the prestigious Champions League next season.

When and Where?

Date:- 22nd April, 2023.
Time:- 3:00 PM GMT.
Venue:- Gtech Community Stadium.

Match Officials

Referee: Michael Salisbury.
Assistants: Neil Davies, Scott Ledger.
Fourth official: John Busby.
VAR: Craig Pawson.
Assistant VAR: Gary Beswick.

Team News

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Thomas Frank will be without Pontus Jansson as the defender suffered a thigh injury last weekend. He will join Kristoffer Ajer and Keane Lewis Potter in the treatment room as the trio are expected to miss out. Yoane Wissa and Mikkel Damsgaard could return to the starting XI as we could see a lot of chopping and changing by Frank to get his side back to winning ways.

Aston Villa will have Boubacar Kamara and Philippe Coutinho back and fully fit for the game after the duo’s return to training. Matty Cash is a doubt for this one as the game might come too early for the Polish fullback as he continues to recover from his injury. Leon Bailey will not travel with the squad as the Jamaican is still out with his thigh injury which kept him unavailable last weekend too.

Match Analysis

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No one would have expected the two teams to be in the conversation for a place in Europe for next season but the incredible work done by Thomas Frank and Unai Emery has made what seemed impossible possible. The two coaches have worked their magic and it is surely a season to remember for both sets of fans. The game at the weekend will be a great watch for the neutrals as both the teams have their own unique style with two inform strikers leading the line for them.

Thomas Frank will set up in a back 4 system due to the unavailability of his first-choice defenders Jansson and Ajer which could see the return of summer recruit Mikkel Damsgaard back into the fray for the Bees. The Danish winger has had an injury-stricken first season in the Premier League and will want to end the season on a high as he is back to full fitness. Brentford have relied heavily on Ivan Toney for the goals this season and will need the rest of the attack to step up if they are to inflict damage on the Villains who have conceded just 1 goal in their last 5 games.

Aston Villa will lineup in their usual 4-2-3-1 with their main man Ollie Watkins leading the line against his former employers. Defender Ezri Konsa will also be facing his former side so plenty of storylines to follow in this one. Emery’s men have the momentum and consistency against the struggling Bees but the tables could turn in this one as the two need all 3 points to chase a common goal- European football next season.

Key Players

Ollie Watkins

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This man requires no mentioning as to why he is his side’s key player as the former Brentford man has already scored 14 goals this season and another goal against the Bees would see him level the tally of Christian Benteke for the most goals scored by a single player in Aston Villa’s history in one season. With his composed finishing and dangerous runs in behind opposition lines, Brentford will have to devise a game plan to keep the striker quite throughout as it won’t be a comfortable afternoon for the Bees defenders.

Ivan Toney

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Like his England colleague Watkins, Toney has enjoyed his best individual season so far for the Bees with 18 goals and 4 assists in the league already. His 22 goal contributions contribute to 46% of the Bees’ goals scored this season and its fair to say the 27 year old has kept his side’s European ambitions alive despite the recent slump in form. He has been vital for the Bees this season with goals in clutch moments and could be the difference between the two sides.

Predicted XIs

Brentford(4-3-3): Raya, Hickey, Mee, Pinnock, Henry, Jensen, Norgaard, Damsgaard, Mbeumo, Wissa, Toney.

Aston Villa(4-2-3-1): Martinez, Young, Mings, Konsa, Moreno, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey, Buendia, Traore, Watkins.

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