Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to get their top-four surge back on track when they visit the Brentford Community Stadium to face off against Thomas Frank’s in-form Brentford side.
Frank’s men kept up their stunning winning run with a 2-1 success over Watford last time out, while Antonio Conte’s men went down 1-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion on their own turf.
The less said about January and February’s miserable run of results the better, but the Bees have suddenly kicked into gear at just the right time to ensure they are not involved in any late scrap for survival in the coming weeks.
Pontus Jansson and Christian Norgaard were both on the scoresheet as the club claimed their fifth win from six away to relegation candidates Watford last weekend at Vicarage. They needed a stoppage-time winner from the latter to send them home with all three points.
Taking 15 points from the last 18 on offer in the top flight has seen Brentford firmly cement their mid-table standing in the Premier League table, with the Bees now 12th in the rankings and only two points off Leicester City and a place in the top 10.
Having averaged more than two goals per game in their stellar run of victories, the introduction of former Lilywhites favourite Christian Eriksen is paying dividends for this in-form Brentford side, who have already come out on top in two London derbies with West Ham United and Chelsea this month.
The Danish star will be hoping to put a dent in his former club’s Champions League ambitions when they face off on Saturday evening.
Thomas Frank has also witnessed his side keep three clean sheets in their last four games at the Brentford Community Stadium, and with the Bees only behind Chelsea in terms of London derby points won this term, Tottenham’s bid to return to winning ways will be far from a walk in the park.
For a long while, it seemed as if no Premier League were capable of halting the unstoppable trio of Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Dejan Kulusevski until Brighton & Hove Albion upset the odds to grab the three points but also come away with an impressive clean sheet too, recording back-to-back North London victories after their win over Arsenal the previous weekend.
Graham Potter’s steadfast defence did not allow Tottenham a single shot on target on their own turf and took all three points back to their South Coast headquarters when Leandro Trossard finished expertly past Hugo Lloris.
The only saving grace for Conte was that Arsenal and Manchester United both failed to capitalise on their early slip-up, but the Gunners did claim an unexpected 4-2 win over Chelsea in midweek to move level on points with fourth-placed Spurs, who would temporarily drop down to fifth if their fierce North London rivals get the better of Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime at the Emirates.
While the home loss and lack of attacking incisiveness was quite a shock to the system, Tottenham have found the back of the net 12 times in their last four away games in the Premier League, but they have strung together a five-game losing streak in London derbies away from home.
The club have never suffered six consecutive defeats in the league to capital sides away from home, and they recorded a straightforward 2-0 success over Brentford back in December, but Frank’s side are a much different attacking proposition now.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 24th April 2022.
Time: 17:30 (BST).
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Assistant referee: Marc Perry, Matthew Wilkes.
Fourth official: James Linington.
VAR: Simon Hooper
Assistant VAR: Wade Smith.
LEAGUE FORM (LAST SIX):
Tottenham Hotspur: LWWWWL
Ethan Pinnock left the field with a hamstring injury in the win over Watford, so Mads Bech Sorensen could be on hand to feature as a replacement alongside Pontus Jansson in defence.
Sergi Canos and Frank Onyeka continue their spells out of action for the visitors but should be back before the end of the season, while Mathias Jorgensen’s muscular injury will likely render him unavailable too.
As for Tottenham, Conte only has his three long-term concerns to worry about, with Matt Doherty, Japhet Tanganga and Oliver Skipp – who has just signed a new deal with the club until 2027 – all out of contention.
Thomas Frank has certainly managed to evolve Brentford’s 3-5-2 style hence their tremendous form in recent weeks. Both Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo have once again proven one of Premier League’s most dynamic attacking duos so far this season, a testament to their understanding tactically and positionally.
With Christian Eriksen’s creative qualities added to the mix both in open play and on set-pieces, it has certainly added a lot of fuel to Frank’s attacking fire so far. Since the Danish international’s introduction, the Bees have scored 13 goals in six games, compared to four goals in the six before Eriksen came into the side.
With Vitaly Janelt and Christian Norgaard alongside him midfield, Frank has now discovered the perfect balance between defence and attack that they had sorely been missing during their testing period between January and February. Energy, enthusiasm, box-to-box presence, dynamism and decisiveness in the final third, and Brentford may well possess one of the finest midfield trios outside the Premier League’s top six.
Brighton & Hove were the first club since February to stop Tottenham Hotspur from finding the back of the net. Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min and Dejan Kulusevski have proven a devastating trio for Antonio Conte in recent weeks, but couldn’t find the target on their own turf against Graham Potter’s men.
They will certainly be the Italian’s go-to attacking trio again come 5:30 pm on Saturday evening and will be hoping they can redeem themselves after last weekend’s surprise defeat to the Seagulls and fire the club to within a touching distance of a Champions League place, with fierce rivals Arsenal facing off against Manchester United a few hours before the Lillywhites kick off in West London.
In defence, the Spurs boss has continued to sing the praises of Ryan Sessegnon, who was an unused substitute in the Brighton loss but will have Sergio Reguilon’s spot on the left firmly in his sights. The back three should otherwise stay the same with Eric Dier at the heart of the back defence with Cristian Romero and Ben Davies on either side of him.
They will certainly be tested by the fluidity and potency of Ivan Toney, Mbuemo and Eriksen in which they will have to be incredibly alert and on-song. Antonio Conte will simply not allow a second below-par performance in a row. Huge test for his men.
PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Recently hailed as having the “mindset of a lion” by his manager Thomas Frank and “phenomenal” by club chairman Cliff Crown, the forward has gone on to register 12 goals and four assists in 28 appearances for the Bees showing that he belongs at the top level.
He’s become a key figure at the Brentford Community Stadium picking up an impressive SofaScore rating of 7.33 for his performances, whilst also registering the sixth-most aerial duels won in the Premier League (122) and the fifth-most through-balls (12) suggesting he is just as much a creative outlet than he is a goalscorer.
The 26-year-old certainly holds the style, panache, presence and speed of thought in the final third to represent a much bigger club in the English top-flight but for now, he’s the big fish in an ever-improving and efficient pond in Thomas Frank’s side. As long as Brentford have him on their books, they’ll always have a chance.
Tottenham Hotspur must beware.
Antonio Conte has labelled the Tottenham Hotspur spell of Son Heung-min amazing and urged the forward to continue at this current level.
Arguably one of the most lethal finishers in the division, the South Korean is currently the league’s second-best goalscorer with 17 goals, five more than his teammate Harry Kane.
Son has been an outstanding performer for Spurs for a number of years now. It is easy to forget that he seemed to only be a peripheral figure during his first season in North London.
Since then, he has been absolutely spell-binding reaching double figures for league goals in each of the last six seasons.
The former Bayer Leverkusen man has scored six goals in his last four appearances, including a hat-trick against Aston Villa.
He’s simply got to be one of the Premier League’s best foreign imports over the past decade, and any chance Spurs have of finally finishing in a top-four place come the end of the season, Son will be as pivotal to those ambitions as his lethal partner Harry Kane.
Brentford (4-3-3): Raya (GK); Ajer, Jansson, Sorensen, Henry; Janelt, Norgaard, Eriksen; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa.
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-3): Lloris (GK); Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son.
Brentford vs Tottenham Hotspur: 1-2