Toney-less Bees to grab a vital win versus Watford
Friday night Barclays Premier League football sees Brentford take on neighbours Watford in west London. The Bees battled well against Leeds United in a topsy-turvy 2-2 draw, but will have to make do once more without striker Ivan Toney, who has tested positive for Covid. Claudio Ranieri's charges had an incredibly difficult week, hosting and losing against two of the three title challengers (Chelsea and Manchester City). They're unlikely to find Thomas Frank's side much more accommodating, either. Read our preview here:
In reality, both teams will be without vast swathes of their respective rosters under the lights and cameras, with Sergi Canós at least only unavailable due to suspension rather than an injury concern, of which there are plenty already. The back three picks itself with the personnel fit, and there's unlikely to be much tinkering elsewhere, either. Shandon Baptiste could be rewarded for his timely strike against Leeds with retaining his place in the centre of midfield; the 23 year old still has unfulfilled potential, having missed huge chunks of his formative years with repeated spells on the sidelines. When ready, he has all the qualities necessary to make playing against him very difficult, and he will be keen to use his previous outing as a springboard for further individual and collective success. Yoane Wissa is in line to replace the suspended Canós, and is an unknown quantity in terms of top tier league starts. He has, however, found the net regularly with limited minutes in the EFL Cup and from the bench.
Dennis will be snookering them
One of the major success stories outside the headline grabbing clubs and amongst all the tumult at the revolving door at Vicarage Road has been the rise to prominence of Emmanuel Dennis. The Nigerian international boasts a superb return of 11 combined goals and assists puts him second in the charts, only bested by the frankly ridiculous numbers Mo Salah accrues in a Liverpool shirt. Ranieri will be banking on more coming from him, especially without Ismaila Sarr for company. Josh King will plough a lone furrow up top, but will be hoping for support on the counter to avoid being cut off. Slovakian veteran Juraj Kucka will look to mop up as the pivot behind an attack-minded midfield unit of four.
Bees trump Hornets
The level of quality on paper makes the duo hard to separate, but the only solace Watford have had recently was dispatching an insipid Manchester United 4-1. The rest of their last six has only had defeats. This is the kind of fixture Brentford need to win to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle at the business end of the season, and Parimatch have odds of 2.10 for a timely win.