West Ham United vs Brentford
K/O: 14:00 BST
Venue: London Stadium
Referee: Peter Bankes
TV: Not live in the UK
Brentford will tussle in their third London Derby of the season when they make the short trip to face West Ham.
Trying to follow-up last week’s performance – entertainment-wise – will be a difficult task. The Bees were involved in the match-of-the-weekend – and potentially the best fixture we’ve seen all season – as they held European behemoths Liverpool to a 3-all draw. Imagine the prospect of that a decade ago as they loitered in mid-table irrelevancy in League One.
Nonetheless, Brentford are in the Premier League and are doing what they can to make sure it is not an acute situation. Two wins and three hard-fought draws have them in mid-table – beyond their wildest dreams.
West Ham are also sitting comfortable, having won their opening two Europa League fixtures, surpassing an anonymous Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, the only club to inflict defeat on the Hammers in the Premier League as they sit three points adrift of Liverpool in first.
David Moyes has constructed a high-functioning machine that is centred around a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-several midfield duo. Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček have formed a formidable partnership that flourished immediately upon Souček’s arrival on loan in January 2020. They tower over the opposition, are more than comfortable on the ball and they are tactically proficient. On top of West Ham’s now considerable offensive threat, opposition will now have to significantly consider the midfield in preparation to play them.
Michail Antonio will lead the line once again, continuing his resurgence as a striker under Moyes, who has seemingly salvaged several once forlorn careers – Michael Dawson, Aaron Cresswell and Angelo Ogbonna amongst them. His movement and strength will trouble Brentford’s three centre-backs who will need to stay alert as Antonio shifts between them.
On the opposite side of the pitch, Ivan Toney will also be one to watch for this match. He undoubtedly won the battle against Champions League-winning centre-back pair Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip. He competed in 15 aerial duels and made sure neither van Dijk nor Matip won more than they lost despite both boasting at least a 14cm height advantage. He led the line with 18 pressures – the most in the match – and finished with a mammoth 0.7 expected assists.
The opposing strikers came into this season with a lot of expectation on their shoulders. They have different play styles btu are equally entertaining to watch. It is not a stretch to say that either one of them may decide what should be an entertaining fixture.
West Ham United
Vladimir Coufal – and Ryan Frederick – will have their fitness assessed prior to kick-off after both were not fit enough to feature mid-week in the Europa League victory.
Otherwise, there is no other new injury news.
Ethan Pinnock was taken off in the first-half of Brentford’s entertaining draw against Liverpool last week. He is unlikely to feature on Sunday.
Once more, there is no new injury news for Brentford.
Predicted Starting XI’s
West Ham United (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Soucek, Rice; Bowen, Fornals, Benrahma; Antonio.
Brentford (3-5-2): Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Jorgensen; Canós, Onyeka, Norgaard, Janelt, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney.
Score predictions: West Ham United 3 – 1 Brentford
The hosts will come into the fixture as favourites, and rightly so. Defensively they are still culpable but they are efficient, aggressive and organised on the counter. Brentford have been happy to sit back in previous games, as might be the case here, but West Ham have also shown a capability in breaking teams down.
The front four of West Ham should create too many problems for the visitors; this could be a goal rush.