West Ham United will look to continue their push for a top-four finish when they take on Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday.
Following a 1-1 draw with Lyon earlier this week, West Ham United will set their sights back on the Premier League when they travel to the Brentford Community Stadium to face Brentford on Sunday.
It is a must-win encounter for David Moyes’s men, who are currently embroiled in a fierce race for a top-four finish. They are competing with Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United for just one spot and are presently standing sixth in the Premier League table, just three points behind fourth-placed Spurs.
West Ham have played a few more games, though, so it is imperative for the visitors to secure all three points and keep up the pressure on their opponent. But their job won’t be made any easier by a Brentford side coming on the back of a morale-boosting 4-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend.
The Bees are currently 15th in the Premier League table. Another win for them this weekend could see them safely drive out of the relegation scrap, as they already have a healthy nine-point advantage over the drop zone.
Brentford were the triumphant side when these two teams met during the first half of the season. And with additional home support pushing them, Thomas Frank’s men are eyeing a league double ahead of this crucial match-up in the Premier League this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
💬 Team News
"The squad that was available against Chelsea is available again
Josh Dasilva is starting to train with the team. He could, hopefully, be involved next week
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) April 8, 2022
Brentford are missing only two players in the form of Josh Dasilva and Frank Onyeka. And given how his team performed against Chelsea in the last game, Thomas Frank has no reason to tinker with his starting eleven this weekend.
A 5-3-2 could be on the agenda, with Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney spearheading the attack. The two will ride on the creative prowess of Christian Eriksen, who has been such a revelation for Brentford since joining the club in January. The Dane is expected to feature in the number ten slot, occasionally dropping in as a number eight during defensive phases.
Eriksen should be partnered with Vitaly Janelt and Christian Norgaard in the second line of press. It will be a real test for the two as they come up against a solid West Ham United midfield spearheaded by Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek.
Defensively, one would expect the wing-backs Mads Roerslev and Rico Henry to be given the freedom to push forward and provide width going forward. But they could play a vital role in offering support to the back three of Kristoffer Ajer, Pontus Jansson and Ethan Pinnock this weekend.
Frank has no shortage of alternatives on the bench, though, with Yoane Wissa pushing for a start after scoring against Chelsea. Wissa and Sergi Canos can offer the dynamism in the frontline whereas Mathias Jensen could be an alternative for one of the midfielders or even the playmaker Eriksen if Brentford opt for a defensive approach.
Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Raya; Roerslev, Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Janelt, Eriksen, Norgaard; Mbeumo, Toney
West Ham United
David Moyes faces a major selection dilemma heading into this contest following a midweek game against Lyon. While the West Ham coach would ideally like to ring in the changes, he cannot afford to rely on his lesser-used stars, though some of them may have to play a part in this game one way or another.
One of them could be Nikola Vlasic, who will be hoping to replace Pablo Fornals and occupy the left wing role. As a result, Said Benrahma could fill in for the absent Manuel Lanzini in the number ten slot, while Jarrod Bowen remains a guaranteed starter on the opposite flank. The West Ham attack should be spearheaded by Michail Antonio, as usual.
📋 TEAM NEWS
“Manu Lanzini has been training but he’s still carrying the knock from the car crash, unfortunately. We’re hoping he’s getting much closer to being able to play.”
More from the Boss on #BREWHU 👇
— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 8, 2022
In midfield, there is no looking past Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. But their fitness could be tested against Brentford after playing 90 minutes on Thursday. Moyes may call on the services of either Alex Kral or Mark Noble should any of them struggle this weekend.
As for the defensive unit, Aaron Cresswell’s red card against Lyon caused quite a stir among the West Ham camp. But the left-back is available for this encounter as his suspension only applies to European competitions.
With Cresswell available, Moyes could make only one alteration in the backline, with the right-back Ryan Fredericks making way for Ben Johnson. Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma, on the other hand, should form the central defensive pairing, offering security to Lukasz Fabianski in between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Johnson, Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Vlasic; Antonio
- Brentford are looking to complete their first league double over West Ham since the 1953/54 campaign, though this is just the second season in which they have met since then.
- This will be West Ham’s first visit to Brentford since a 0-0 draw in December 1992.
- Brentford have won three of their last four Premier League matches, as many as in their previous 20 games combined. They are looking to become the first side to win 10 matches in their first Premier League season since Bournemouth in 2015/16 (11).
- West Ham have lost six of their last ten away matches in the league, as many as in their previous 27 on the road. The Hammers haven’t lost three away matches in a row since a run of seven between December 2019 and June 2020.
- Brentford have earned 11 points from Premier League London derbies so far this season, with only Chelsea (18) earning more. The last London side to earn more in their first season in the competition was West Ham back in 1993/94 (14).
Player to Watch
Christian Eriksen is undoubtedly the player to watch out for in this potentially riveting encounter between West Ham United and Brentford. As iterated earlier, the Dane has had a significant impact for the Bees since joining the club in January, despite only racking up one goal and one assist in four league matches.
Eriksen’s ability to offer the creative essence in the final third and his proficiency from set-pieces could be problematic for West Ham, especially given the fact that Brentford have imposing stalwarts such as Kristoffer Ajer and Pontus Jansson prepared to cause issues inside the opposition box.
It will be equally imperative for the Hammers to cut off Eriksen from the other attacking players in Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo as they have all linked up well in recent weeks. Simply put, Eriksen’s performance could go a long way in shaping up the fate of this contest.
Brentford 1-1 West Ham United
Brentford have looked much stronger since February and have what it takes to cause an upset against a West Ham United side coming on the back of a strenuous midweek affair against Lyon in the UEFA Europa League. However, the Hammers should not be underestimated as they have a strong attack and an even better midfield unit.
Everything indicates a draw here as both sides have enough firepower to cancel out one another. While West Ham remain favourites on paper, the result will heavily depend on how they recover from the midweek game and cancel out the influence of Brentford’s attacking players this weekend.