After letting a two-goal lead slip against Premier League champions Manchester City over the weekend, Crystal Palace will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Brentford in a London Derby at Selhurst Park on Tuesday evening.
The Eagles were ahead 2-0 at half-time at the Etihad, but Bernardo Silva’s strike and Erling Haaland’s hat-trick succumbed them to a 4-2 defeat, while the Bees dominated against Everton but only had to settle for a point in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Despite the defeat, there was indeed a lot of positives for Patrick Vieira to take away against the Premier League champions. Man City are no strangers to two-goal deficit comebacks having performed it the weekend before, having gone down 3-1 to Newcastle United and fighting back to a 3-3 draw.
Palace certainly showed a lot of endeavour and character but were overwhelmed by City’s attacking onslaught in the second half. The Eagles come into this contest with Thomas Frank’s Brentford having only lost two of their last nine encounters in South London, registering five clean sheets along the way and will be in search of their second triumph of the campaign, having beaten Aston Villa on home soil during gameweek 3.
Reading into their record in the London Derbies doesn’t shape the best of reverberations with only two wins of their last 19 capital ties which were 3-0 victories over both North London outfits Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal last season, Palace drew Brentford 0-0 in both of their encounters last campaign.
It’s safe to say Brentford have enjoyed an eventful start to the campaign so far, picking up five points from a possible 12 on offer. They have been down but not out on numerous occasions, and Saturday’s draw with Everton was no different. After falling behind to an Anthony Gordon effort, the Bees delivered an excellent attacking response and performance, creating bags of chances but yet only scoring just an equaliser.
Frank’s men will certainly feel they should have picked up all three points but for their wastefulness in front of goal.
All four of Brentford’s goals away from home this campaign have come in the second half – they have rescued two matches from losing positions already with the leveller against Leicester City in the 86th minute and an 84th minute strike against the Toffees.
The visitors stand winless at the Shelhurst Park, with last three pointer coming 65 year back in a 2-0 win.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Venue: Selhurst Park.
Date: Tuesday, 30th August 2022.
Time: 19:30PM (BST).
Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistant referee: Adrian Holmes, Mark Scholes.
Fourth official: James Bell.
VAR: Craig Pawson.
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies.
Top goalscorer and key man Wilfried Zaha who has three goals to his name so far this campaign missed the defeat to Manchester City due to a leg injury and it is unclear whether he’d be fit enough to feature against Brentford on Tuesday evening.
James McArthur could soon recover from a groin problem, though goalkeeper Jack Butland remains sidelined with a broken wrist. Tyrick Mitchell could be ready for a return to action after previously suffering a knock prior to their game against the Premier League champions.
Defender Kristoffer Ajer may be in line for a return to the Brentford fold pending a late fitness test. However, Frank does have some players on the treatment table with Ethan Pinnock currently nursing a knee issue, Sergi Canos has a hamstring strain and Pontus Jansson nursing a foot injury.
Vieira will be expected to get Palace back to their fluid 4-3-3 setup after taking a reserved approach against Manchester City at the weekend. For all of about 45 minutes, Palace superbly dealt with the threat posed by Man City’s quality, cutting out space in between the lines and shutting out every attempt from City to enter the final third.
Defensive midfielder Cheick Doucoure has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water, and already looks at home in his new surroundings and will again prove pivotal to whatever success Palace enjoy this season.
He and his teammates put in a stunning first-half showing, but were quickly overwhelmed by the tactical genius that is Pep Guardiola who flooded the wide areas in order for City to come rampaging back into the tie and setting up a dramatic comeback win.
The Eagles have conceded eight goals in the league so far – the joint third most – and will be hoping to shut up shop against a Brentford side who look very confident and exciting going forward right now. With Wilfried Zaha injured, it will be intriguing to see how Vieira lines up his side? Does he finally hand a start to Michael Olise or to new signing Malcolm Ebiowei? Both players are certainly creative enough to provide the Eagles with the impetus to score goals. Though, it will be tricky against a resurgent Brentford.
Thomas Frank’s men are enjoying a new lease of life in their new and found 4-3-3 setup with Ivan Toney, Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo wreaking havoc in their attack. The Bees have hit nine goals in four games so far this campaign which means this fixture could well have goals in the offing. How Brentford came away with just a point against Everton is certainly baffling considering the number of chances they created, though manager Frank will be hoping for the same intensity and attacking endeavour at Selhurst Park.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Potentially without Wilf Zaha, Palace will need an added injection of creativity and drive against Brentford and Ebere Eze is certainly the man to provide it. The former QPR playmaker has enjoyed a stunning start to the campaign and is already showing why Patrick Vieira is placing so much faith in him to become one of Palace’s key components in midfield.
A free-8 role in midfield is certainly doing wonders to his individual game, maturity and development right now, especially after an injury-laden period last season.
So far this campaign, he’s registered two assists, created three big chances according to SofaScore and is recording 1.5 key passes per game. His marauding and mazy runs from midfield have proven an invaluable weapon for Palace when progressing up the pitch, he’s successfully completed 71% of his dribbles at a rate of 3.8 per game – a stunning individual talent who can create moments of ingenuity at a regular rate. He’s so far becoming just as effective in his defending too, winning 56% of his total duels, carrying out 0.8 tackles per game.
If Eze can continue in this vein, he may well be a wildcard selection bet for Southgate’s England squad for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar in November. The ball is in his court.
While Ivan Toney, Mbeumo and Wissa are wreaking havoc in an attack for Thomas Frank’s men, Mathias Jensen is providing the impetus in possession and out of it behind them, and is performing with such admirable and composed aplomb so far this campaign.
In the absence of the departed Christian Eriksen, Jensen has tremendously managed to fill the void left by his Danish counterpart registering a goal and two assists so far this season.
He is a player quietly going about his business, while the three up-front grab the headlines. If there is one player who is Thomas Frank’s trusted lieutenant on the pitch for the Bees, it is Jensen.
An underrated influencer in midfield who is a tremendous, metronomic and influential presence in Brentford’s build-up play, but a stunning workhorse and leader when the Bees have their backs against the wall. He’s registered two key passes per game so far this season, and two tackles also, Jensen is certainly a contender for player of the month right now.
Crystal Palace predicted lineup vs Brentford: Guaita; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Eze, Doucoure, Olise, Schlupp; Ayew; Edouard.
Brentford predicted lineup vs Crystal Palace: Raya; Hickey, Jorgensen, Mee, Henry; Dasilva, Norgaard, Jensen; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa.