Brentford vs Wolves
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
Kick Off: 4PM
Wolverhampton Wanderers will seek to maintain their charge for a coveted top-four place when they travel to Brentford for this afternoon’s Premier League contest.
The Bees suffered a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United in midweek, while Bruno Lage’s side came up trumps by the same scoreline against Southampton last weekend.
If the first half at the Brentford Community Stadium was anything to go by, Thomas Frank’s side may have felt quietly confident of securing a famous win over Man United, with David de Gea called into action on a couple of occasions before Ralf Rangnick’s men came out all guns blazing in the second 45.
Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all struck following the break to quickly extinguish any hopes of a memorable Brentford success, and Ivan Toney’s fifth goal of the season was only a consolation for the Bees in that 3-1 loss.
Despite posting some eye-catching results during their first-ever Premier League campaign, Brentford still have plenty of work to do to cement their status as a top-flight club, with the Bees now 14th in the table and 10 points clear of 18th-placed Norwich City having played a game more.
It would be a surprise to see the Bees dragged into a relegation dogfight at this stage of the season, but Frank has now overseen three successive defeats in the Premier League, with his side shipping 10 goals in that miserable January streak.
The Bees have also recorded just one clean sheet in their last 10 Premier League games at the Brentford Community Stadium, and now is certainly not the time to face a side with a knack for defensive discipline.
James Ward-Prowse may have put his name in the hat for the Goal of the Season award with his unbelievable free kick, but the joy ended there for Southampton’s dead-ball specialist, as Wolves took the spoils at Molineux with three goals from three different goalscorers last weekend.
Raul Jimenez’s penalty, Conor Coady’s header and Adama Traore’s first goal of the season at the 19th time of asking propelled Bruno Lage’s side to a precious three points after an enthralling contest, one which has seen them keep pace with the European-challenging pack.
The visitors prepare for Saturday’s contest sitting eighth in the table – now just six points behind fourth-placed West Ham United with two games in hand – but the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United have their own games in hand which they will endeavour to take advantage of.
However, Wolves have now taken 10 points from the last 12 on offer in the Premier League and have won their last three in a row across all competitions – conceding just once in that time – and only Manchester City can boast a better defensive record than Lage’s side in the current top-flight season.
Brentford did manage to secure a 2-0 win at Molineux earlier in the season, but Wolves have gone up a notch or two defensively since the autumn, even if their attacking capabilities do still leave a lot to be desired on some occasions.
Brentford possible XI: Fernandez, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Canos, Norgaard, Janelt, Jensen, Henry, Toney, Mbeumo.
Wolves possible XI: Sa, Kilman, Coady, Gomes, Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Ait-Nouri, Traore, Jimenez, Podence.