Brentford will be aiming to build on their strong start to the 2021/22 Premier League season when they welcome Leicester City on Sunday afternoon.

Brentford Community Stadium will play host as a high-flying Brentford lock horn with a resurgent Leicester side in a battle between two of the Premier League’s most tactically adept sides.

The newly-promoted Bees currently sits tenth in the Premier League table, much closer to top-four than to the relegation zone, which was predicted by many before the season started. Thomas Frank’s side has shown a fearless attitude despite having played against Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea. The Bees are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the English top-flight.

Brentford were again highly impressive in the last league game with Chelsea. They went toe-to-toe against the London giants but were denied any points by a motivated Edouard Mendy pulling off spectacular saves. Brentford were ultimately fell to a narrow 1-0 loss against their London neighbours, A defeat that has dropped Thomas Frank’s side to the mid-table places.

After a mixed start to the season at Midlands, some sections believed a new beginning at Newcastle United would do Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers a world of good, but the Northern Irishman affirmed his stance to be committed to the Leicester project. Since then, his team has reacted with much-needed results over Manchester United and Spartak Moscow.

While Leicester have shipped in five more goals to their conceded total, Rodgers will be pleased with the spirit displayed by his men in two comeback victories. Leicester registered a comfortable 3-1 win against then-Championship side Brentford in the FA Cup earlier this year. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Brentford

Brentford central midfielder Vitaly Janelt might return to contention after missing two games through a thigh injury. Yoane Wissa, Mads Sorensen (knee), Josh Dasilva (hip), and Shandon Baptiste (shoulder) have all been ruled out. Even though Kristoffer Ajer is back from injury, Mathias Jørgensen is expected to preserve his spot ahead of the Norwegian.

Thomas Frank may set up Brentford in their usual 3-5-2 formation with intense pressing and high-energy octane football principles. David Raya will take his regular place between the sticks. The Spaniard’s ball-playing ability is key to Bees’ direct style of play, with his long balls to Ivan Toney proving very effective.

The three-man backline in front of Raya would consist of Mathias Jørgensen, experienced defender Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock. Christian Norgaard will be tasked with keeping Leicester’s midfield runners in check, with Mathias Jensen and Frank Onyeka providing defensive assistance. The pair will also provide a forward surge from the centre of the park.

Sergi Canos and Rico Henry would fit in at wing-back, providing width while making late darting runs towards the back post. They will also be responsible for delivering quality crosses into dangerous areas for their strikers to feed on. Finally, the strike duo of Bryan Mbuemo and Ivan Toney, although Toney has only two goal to show for, but his presence up top is of utmost importance for Thomas Frank’s side.

Standing at 6ft 1, the former Newcastle forward possesses a good leap, is incredibly tough to handle in the air and add to that his physical strength to hold off defender’s while carrying the ball and passing ability. He is a perfect package upfront creating a nuisance of himself in forward areas. Brentford plays to his strengths, specifically targeting him with long balls over the top to go up the pitch rapidly and efficiently.

Brentford Probable Lineup(3-5-2): Raya; Zanka, Jansson, Pinnock; Canos, Onyeka, Norgaard, Jensen, Henry; Toney, Mbeumo

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Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed winger Marc Albrighton will be ruled out for up to three weeks following an injury from a nasty tackle in midweek’s Europa League tie. Timothy Castagne wasn’t risked against Spartak Moscow, but Rodgers anticipates that he will be available for this clash.

Ayoze Perez has returned from sickness, while Wilfred Ndidi (hamstring) is out, as are James Justin (knee) and Wesley Fofana (broken leg) with long-term injuries. Youri Tielemans came off sustaining a minor calf injury in midweek, but Rodgers expects he will be ready to start in this one.

Rodgers is likely to field a 3-4-1-2 formation which has worked wonders offensively in recent weeks. Kasper Schmeichel is a certainty between the sticks. The Dane would be hoping to keep only his second clean sheet of the campaign. Jannik Vestergaard might replace defender Daniel Amartey in the three-man central defensive unit, with Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans being his partners at the back.

Andres Pereira and Timothy Castagne will operate in the advancing wing-back roles providing width to midfielders and forwards. With Wilfred Ndidi sidelined, either Hamza Choudhury or Boubakary Soumare will partner with Youri Tielemans in midfield. Choudhury has looked rusty when given a chance. Hence it will be the summer arrival Soumare featuring in double midfield pivot.

The Lille academy product has been bright so far when featured with ball progression and passing his key strengths. He will be looking to build on the initial impression to displace Wilfried Ndidi in the pecking order, while James Maddison should return to the starting XI, replacing Ayoze Perez directly slotting into the No. 10 role sitting just behind the two strikers to provide creativity and slick passing.

Brendan Rodgers faces a huge selection dilemma as a result of Patson Daka’s lethal form in front of the goal. The Zambian will be dissatisfied if he does not start this game following his midweek goal-scoring feats and blossoming partnership with Kelechi Iheanacho. However, Jamie Vardy hasn’t done anything wrong yet to see him dropped. Hence, Iheanacho has to be sacrificed this weekend, joining the likes of Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes on the Leicester bench.

Leicester City Probable Lineup: Schmeichel; Vestergaard, Evans, Soyuncu; Pereira, Tielemans, Soumare, Castagne; Maddison; Daka, Vardy

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Key Stats

  • Brentford haven’t beaten Leicester in the seven games since defeating them 3-2 in the second division in March 1953. (D1, L6).
  • Brentford have struck the crossbar eight times in the Premier League this term, three more than the next closest team. Bryan Mbeumo has done it six times, four more than any other player in the league.
  • Leicester City have won all of their past five games played away from home against Brentford across all competitions, most recently winning twice in consecutive FA Cup campaigns(1-0 in January 2020 and 3-1 in January 2021).
  • Both of Brentford’s Premier League losses came at the Brentford Community Stadium and conceded five of their seven goals. Thomas Frank’s side would look to avoid back-to-back defeats at home league matches for the first time since a three-game losing streak between November and December back in 2018.

Player to Watch

Patson Daka

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Fresh off the back of scoring five goals in just 103 minutes over two games in the Premier League and Europa League, the Zambian striker is standing on the promise, which tempted Leicester to stump £27 million in transfer fees to secure the signature of prolific forward.

In total, the 23-year-old has struck the back of the net five times from 7 appearances for the Foxes in all competitions playing just over 300 minutes. He is extremely intelligent in making deft movements and lightning-fast acceleration, which gets him quickly off the marker and a natural finisher.

The Foxes’ has a gem on their hands, and his link-up with Kelechi Iheanacho also looks promising. If nurtured properly, Leicester have a ready-made replacement for evergreen Jamie Vardy.

Prediction

Brentford 2-1 Leicester City

Given Leicester’s thrilling midweek match left them exhausted and their porous defence. This fixture presents a great opportunity for Brentford to secure another remarkable win. Rodgers’ men have conceded 14 goals from 8 league games while surrendering the second-most shots on goal in the top-flight (16.5), which could play the tie into the home side’s favour, who have a very stubborn and cohesive defensive unit on the contrary.

It would be foolish to dismiss the attacking quality Leicester possesses especially when they have netted 8 goals from last two games, but fundamentally, they appear to be the type of opponent Brentford would enjoy playing against at home at the moment. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow 2-1 for the Bees’ to continue their fairytale following their promotion.

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