ALEX JONES (@AlexJ0nes9) analyses the odds as Brentford face Fulham in the 4th Round of the League Cup on Thursday night.
Brentford vs Fulham | Thursday 1st October 2020, 17:30 | Sky Sports
Brentford and Fulham meet again just three months after they faced-off at Wembley to secure a place in the Premier League on a day where Fulham got the better of the two neighbours.
Scott Parker’s men will be looking for a speedy reaction after a dismal home defeat to Aston Villa made it three losses from three in the top-flight, conceding 10 goals in the process. They came under great scrutiny after their performance against on Monday, and rightly so, following some questionable defending.
Fulham had an Expected Goals (xG) output of just 0.53 against Villa at Craven Cottage and despite the 16 shots on the Villa goal, they only tested Emi Martinez three times with relatively comfortable saves.
Whilst on the lookout for a new centre-half, Parker will most likely have to stick with Michael Hector and Tim Ream as their defensive options are limited. It is irrefutable now that the Cottagers are in a relegation scrap so it seems unlikely the hosts will prioritise progressing into the quarter-final stages.
Amid the turbulence surrounding new arrivals and the state of the squad, Parker’s job already looks an incredibly tough one and I can’t imagine the Carabao Cup is high up on Fulham’s agenda. Having said that, defeat here to their rivals would only accentuate speculation surrounding his future and he will surely want to keep that talk to a minimum.
Brentford will be without Rico Henry and Mathias Jensen for this, along with Said Benrahma whose future surely lies at a Premier League club. Manager Thomas Frank made alterations to his starting XI in previous rounds when they defeated Southampton and West Brom and will fancy his chances against their third Premier League opposition.
The Dane has instilled confidence and flair within the Brentford squad which has seen them become heavy favourites for promotion to the top-flight, and what better test then against the side who beat them in the play-off final.
Brentford to march on
I believe Brentford will come out of the traps early here and defeat Fulham. I only back the 1×2 market when I believe the bookies are underestimating a team and Brentford at 29/20 (Betfair) looks a tempting price.
The Bees go into this one knowing they have already surpassed two Premier League challenges and will want revenge over Parker’s men come Thursday evening. A place in the quarter-finals for a Championship side is a great achievement, no matter what happens in the next round.
The Bees have averaged 15.7 shots per-game so far this season, compared to the 10 they have conceded on their own goal, and while they lost to Birmingham on the opening day and drew to Millwall last time out, they should work Fulham out here having played them three times last season in the second tier, beating them on both league occasions.
Despite losing Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa, the Bees have replaced him with Ivan Toney and have been starting Marcus Forss in the Carabao Cup. The Finnish frontman spent the last campaign on-loan at Wimbledon, where he impressed with 11 goals in 18 appearances in League One.
Frank has called upon Forss a few times already this season, scoring twice in his five appearances. The Bees boss will likely remain with him here, in what is another great opportunity for him to show what he can bring to their squad.
Brentford have home advantage and a contrast in atmosphere to the Fulham camp where media scrutiny and controversy surrounding their Director of Football’s tweets suggests certain players weren’t Premier League quality. Brentford have scored two or more in six of the last 11 against Fulham, and considering recent performances, a repeat of that at 5/4 looks good.
Instead I will just stay with the one bet which is Brentford to win (29/20) and progress to the quarter-finals.
Brentford vs Fulham – Brentford to win (29/20 Betfair)