Brentford vs Leicester – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 18th March 2023
GTech Community Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we look at Leicester’s visit to Brentford. Leicester are in free fall with 4 straight defeats and just 1 goal scored in those games – can they improve here? Read on with our Brentford vs Leicester prediction.
Brentford vs Leicester Match Preview
Brentford come into this game in good form. Their 12-game undefeated run in the league was halted by Everton at Goodison Park last weekend, where they lost 1-0 to a McNeil goal in the first minute. However, the Bees got back on track with their midweek game away at Southampton. Thomas Frank’s men won 2-0 with goals from Toney in the first half and Wissa in the ninety-seventh minute. Nobody can say Brentford did not deserve it: despite only having 34 per cent possession, they had 11 shots to seven and xG of 2.15 to 0.55.
Brentford are pretty strong at home. They have lost only one of their 13 games at the Community Stadium this season and won seven of the other twelve. With 26 points from home games, only five teams have picked up more. Brentford are in eighth place, with 41 points from 26 games. Indeed, they have been a revelation since they were promoted in 21-22 and may yet fancy themselves to claim a European spot.
Leicester travel south in desperate form. They sit in 19th place in the form table over the last ten games, only winning two in that run. Only Crystal Palace (winless in 2023) are below them. Their previous four games have seen defeats to Man Utd, Arsenal, Southampton and Chelsea; combined with the FA Cup defeat to Blackburn, they have lost their last five competitive games. This situation is clearly unacceptable for coach under-pressure Brendan Rodgers. However, to offer some hope, they have won their last three away matches against Brentford in all competitions.
Leicester are uncommon in that they have attained as many points on their travels this season as at home (12). Perhaps this is because they feel released from the demanding crowd at the King Power. However, they have only beaten Aston Villa in their last five on the road. The 3-1 loss at home to Chelsea last weekend was disappointing. Chelsea have scored few goals in recent months, and Leicester will have wanted better. Sitting in 16th place and level on points with Bournemouth in 18th (24), the Foxes have been dragged into a relegation scrap and are in massive trouble.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Roerslev, Janelt
Will Not Play: Strakosha, Ajer, Lewis-Potter
Might Not Play: Kristiansen, Evans
Will Not Play: Faes, Tielemans, Justin, Bertrand, Vestergaard
Brentford vs Leicester Lineups (Predicted)
Brentford (4-3-3): Raya; Henry, Mee, Pinnock, Hickey; Dasilva, Norgaard, Jensen; Damsgaard, Toney, Mbeumo
Leicester (4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3): Ward; Castagne, Amartey, Souttar, Pereira; Dewsbury-Hall, Mendy; Barnes, Maddison, Tete; Iheanacho
Brentford vs Leicester Analysis
Brentford Will Use Their Physicality
The game’s flow will logically play into Brentford’s hands. Brentford have averaged 44 per cent possession this season, whereas Leicester have 50 per cent. Leicester have also completed over 3,000 more passes than Brentford. These stats imply that Brentford will likely play as the counter-attacking team here, despite being at home. They don’t always play this way (they had 36 per cent at home to Fulham, for example, but 59 per cent at home to Palace). However, it suits them, allowing them to unleash their pace and physical players on transitions when the opposition’s rhythm is disrupted.
Brentford like to play direct football and are particularly adept with aerial balls. The likelihood is that they play the ball down the channels from defensive positions or win the ball in midfield to release the forwards quickly. Norgaard and Jensen are important here in swiftly pouncing with their energy, and the latter also makes runs into the box. If Janelt isn’t fit, the tricky Dasilva will likely come into the team, and he offers some creativity. Mbeumo and the excellent Toney will start in the attacking areas, to be joined by Damsgaard, Wissa, or Schade.
The three selected must try to run Leicester’s defence ragged and overpower them with a combination of pace and power. Toney has been a revelation this season and can’t stop scoring. Indeed, he is in third place in the league’s top scorers list with 16 (only behind Haaland and Kane), and Brentford will again look to him to provide the cutting edge.
Leicester Must Try To Pass And Be Creative
This match is a trap for Leicester. Their natural game and Rodgers’ coaching style is to knit pretty short passes at the back and in midfield areas. They are defensively suspect, especially from set pieces, so we cannot see them being able to sit in a low block and frustrate Brentford. If they try, Brentford will launch crosses into the box and take advantage of Leicester’s set-piece frailties with their height. Therefore, Leicester must build the play and maintain possession. However, this presents a problem, too – Brentford are so industrious in midfield that they can (as stated) pounce to win the ball and release their attackers quickly.
So what can Leicester realistically do? The best thing they can do is be as press-resistant as possible. The Foxes must keep the ball in midfield and stop Brentford from recovering it (and Tielemans is a significant loss in this regard). Then they can find gaps and spaces between the lines where Brentford might overexpose themselves in their pressing. Dewsbury-Hall’s ball-carrying and passing ability could be crucial here, as could Mendy or Ndidi’s patrolling in front of the defence.
If Leicester can get the ball into attacking areas, they can use various options. Daka, Iheanacho, or Vardy could start up front – the first two offer work rate and constant nuisance in movement. Barnes and Tete will likely play wide, and they must drive at Hickey and Henry and try to make their way into the box for shots or cutbacks. As regular readers know, we are big fans of Maddison and connecting/playmaking midfielders generally. Like Odegaard at Arsenal, Maddison is an impressive footballer both qualitatively and quantitatively. He could find pockets of space between the lines where he could hurt Brentford.
As we implied earlier, this game is a banana skin for Leicester. They are playing against a side in much better form and which is strong at home. The tactical setup also favours Brentford. As football is a funny old game, Leicester could surprise us and inflict Brentford’s second home defeat of the season. However, we doubt that will happen. We expect Brentford to let Leicester have the ball and to hit quickly and powerfully on the break and with set pieces. We believe Brentford will overwhelm Leicester with their physicality.
In the last four games between these clubs in all competitions, at least three goals have been scored each time. This statistic isn’t surprising as it is a fixture where both teams have the firepower and can give away chances at the other end. Indeed, on the first matchday of the season, these two drew 2-2 in the East Midlands. Therefore, we will go for goals here, mainly for Brentford. We feel Brentford will be too strong on home soil for a Leicester team which has conceded 46 goals and is in a relegation dogfight.
Brentford 3-1 Leicester
Brentford vs Leicester Betting Tip – Brentford Odds:
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