Brentford must make a short trip across London for their first away game in the Premier League to face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Patrick Vieira might have great memories playing against Chelsea as a player but was dealt a harsh blow when he played them as a manager. Crystal Palace endured a difficult outing at Stamford Bridge last weekend, losing to an in-form Chelsea side 3-0. The Eagles had looked healthy during pre-season, but missing some of their key players hurt their chances.
Such a loss wasn’t how Vieira must have envisaged his first game as Palace boss, although he quickly pointed the club towards bringing in new signings before the window’s closure. The Frenchman needs time to bring his team up to shape to the rigours of the Premier League after the group underwent a rebuild this summer.
Vieira will be cautious of Brentford, who come into this game after their superb opening day win. Another factor would be Palace’s bad form in London derbies, and the manager would want to set the record straight as he gears up to lead the team in his first such fixture.
Meanwhile, Brentford, fresh from their victory over Arsenal, will be brimming with confidence. Thomas Frank’s men were not second best against one of the Premier League giants, but the absence of key Gunners’ strikers might have played to the Bees’ benefit. Brentford though, like their opponents, do not have a great record in London derbies either.
After getting back into top-flight football following a 74-year absence, Brentford will meet Palace 39 years after they last played them in a cup tie loss. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Patrick Vieira can hope to call upon some of the players who missed out last weekend for the Brentford clash. On-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher will be available again after being ineligible to play against parent club Chelsea, while striker Christian Benteke is also eyeing a starting berth in the side.
New signing Joachim Andersen, who was fit enough for a bench role, will be hoping for a start against the Bees. Vieira will have to contend with few injury troubles in the squad, with Eberichi Eze, Nathan Ferguson and Michael Olise all on the treatment table and unavailable. Luka Milivojevic also remains a doubt owing to personal reasons.
Vieira could field a 4-3-3 setup with the new signing from Chelsea Marc Guehi leading the backline alongside fellow new arrival Andersen. Tyrick Mitchell will become a regular fixture at left-back this season following the exit of Patrick van Aanholt, while Joel Ward will be a familiar name at right-back.
In the absence of Milivojevic, Vieira could opt to field Jairo Riedewald as the defensive midfielder, supported by Gallagher and experienced midfielder James McArthur on either side. With Benteke set to start, premier attacker Wilfried Zaha will keep his place on the left side and Jordan Ayew flanking the right area.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Guaita; Ward, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; McArthur, Reidewald, Gallagher; Ayew, Benteke, Zaha
Thomas Frank will be happy after the Arsenal game as there were no major injury concerns in the aftermath. Defender Kristopher Ajer will need assessing before the match after taking a knock to the ankle. However, he is expected to be fine and retain his place in the starting lineup.
The manager will seek continuity with his squad, especially the starting lineup, meaning no changes are expected from the previous game.
Ajer, if he starts, will lineup alongside Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock on either side of him in a back-three. Frank will retain the shape of his midfield with a five-man line, including the two wing-backs. Goalscorer Sergi Canos will likely start in the right-wing back role, with Rico Henry on the opposite flank.
A midfield three comprising Frank Onyeka, Vitaly Janet and Christian Norgaard at the base of it is expected for the Palace game. Upfront, main striker Ivan Toney will continue to lead the attack alongside partner Bryan Mbeumo.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Raya; Jansson, Ajer, Pinnock; Canos, Onyeka, Norgaard, Janet, Henry; Toney, Mbeumo
- Crystal Palace are winless in nine London derbies losing the last four.
- Brentford have only two wins from twelve London derbies.
- Brentford and Crystal Palace last faced each other in a 2-2 draw in the Football League trophy 39 years ago.
- Both sides last met in a league fixture back in 1964, with Palace winning 1-0.
- Palace have conceded at least two goals in eight of their nine previous Premier League games.
Player to Watch
Despite all the uncertainty surrounding his future amid his desires of wanting to play at a bigger club, Wilfried Zaha seems set to continue playing on at his boyhood club for the foreseeable future. While his game levels dropped a bit last season, the Ivorian will be hopeful of leading a young generation of stars into the new season in style.
Zaha has to be the star man in the team and perform well enough to keep Palace in a healthy league position. A win over Brentford will go a long way to re-instilling the confidence in the group, and the former Manchester United winger will have to play a key part.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Brentford
Brentford might have won 2-0 against Arsenal on home soil, but they are entering the hostile grounds of London clubs. While there might be similarities with Crystal Palace in some aspects, the match is expected to be a cagey one. Like Ivan Toney, Palace have a physical striker in Christian Benteke, who can cause problems at the back for the Bees.
Some might see Brentford as the favourites coming into the game following their win over Arsenal. However, it is not right to write Palace off just yet, and this encounter will be a battling one. As for the predicted result, an evenly-contested 1-1 draw could be on the cards on Saturday.