MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) tackles the televised Championship clash from Friday night as Brentford welcome Burnley to the capital.
Brentford v Burnley | Thursday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
It’s beauty against the beast in Friday night’s Championship offering, in what’s certain to be a really intriguing contest from Griffin Park.
In the home corner, Brentford have enjoyed more possession than any of their division rivals with only Derby attempting more shot passes in 2015/16. In the away dressing room, only Preston and Ipswich have played more long balls than the Clarets with the guests notching 12 of their 39 league gaols (31%) from set-piece situations.
Sean Dyche’s men arrive on the back of successive away triumphs at Middlesbrough (2-1) in the FA Cup and MK Dons (5-0) in midweek but they’ve yet to record back-to-back road wins since relegation. And it’s worth noting, all four of their victories away from Turf Moor came at sides ranked 18th or lower.
Brentford were unfortunate to lose 1-0 against Boro in front of their home fans on Tuesday night and were beaten by the same scoreline here against Walsall at the weekend. It’s now three games without a goal for the Bees with the capital club notching all of their six Griffin Park successes against clubs below them in the table.
It means new boss Dean Smith has overseen W3-D2-L4 since leaving the Saddlers and the Londoners are now eight points adrift of the play-off positions, nestled neatly in mid-table. In contrast, under Lee Carsley’s interim watch Brentford had W5-D2-L3.
Middlesbrough, Hull, Sheffield Wednesday, Birmingham and Reading have all departed the Bees’ nest with maximum points this term whilst only five clubs have leaked more on home soil. The hosts have only managed to shutout Brighton, MK Dons and QPR in their 13 outings.
In terms of performance, you’d have to say Brentford are more or less hitting par when viewing all the available data. Sure, the Bees feature prominently amongst the Championship’s shot and shots-on-target efforts but they’re also facing plenty too; for example, only Fulham have conceded more efforts on goal than Brentford at home.
Opponents Burnley (44%) actually fare a lot worse than Brentford (48%) in the shot ratio tables – only Charlton have posted a lesser percentage and although it improves when viewing on-target attempts, 14 clubs have fired in more and only four sides have fewer efforts than the Clarets away.
Dyche’s team are handicapped by their more uncompromising and direct approach when viewing these sort of stats and that’s something to bare in mind. But it is worth noting the visitors have failed to net in six away fixtures, scoring two goals or more on just four of their road trips.
With Lukas Jutkiewicz and Ashley Barnes still sidelined, the Clarets will be investing their faith in their tried-and-trusted 4-4-2 with Sam Vokes partnering Andre Gray in attack.
It’s Gray’s first trip back to Griffin Park since his big money move and with five goals in his most recent five appearances, as well as 16 for their season, the ex-player to score (19/10 BetVictor) could be worth an interest.
The bookmakers have chalked up the Match Odds based on Burnley’s inferior shot data and there does have to be a question mark over their ability to sustain their high-tempo pressing game for a third match in under a week. But with five clean sheets in seven league matches, they remain canny operators.
So instead of taking sides, I’m delving into the goals-based markets. Opposing Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals both have merits based on this season’s trends but it’s the 5/4 from Bwin on the second-half being the Highest Scoring Half that holds most appeal.
An impressive nine of Burnley’s 13 away fixtures have been goalless at half-time with 40 of the 62 total goals (65%) in the Clarets’ games arriving after the interval. When hosting Championship action, Brentford have seen 24 of the total 34 goals (71%) scored coming after the half-time oranges.
Indeed, both sides have seen the second-half win the Highest Scoring Half in 9/13 (69%) of their corresponding home/away games – that percentage chance of a repeat would equate to odds of around 4/9. We’re being offered 5/4 here.
Brentford v Burnley – Highest Scoring Half: Second-Half (5/4 Bwin)
Brentford v Burnley – Andre Gray to score at anytime (19/10 BetVictor)
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