Brentford host Bournemouth in the second leg of their Championship play-off semi-final tie looking to overturn a one-goal deficit on Saturday at 12.30pm (UK time).
Bournemouth ran out 1-0 victors in the first leg on Monday, with a 55th-minute Arnaut Danjuma goal separating the sides, but Thomas Frank’s men overcame an identical scoreline last season to reach Wembley, so will not be deterred by the deficit.
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Where to watch Brentford vs Bournemouth on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Football
Scoreline prediction: Brentford 2-0 Bournemouth
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Brentford vs Bournemouth build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Brentford were uncharacteristically off the boil on the South Coast, firing a blank for only the fifth time this season away from home, but they are in familiar territory having suffered an identical scoreline to Swansea in the semis last term, before winning the return leg 3-1 and reaching Wembley.
It was a perfectly executed gameplan from Jonathan Woodgate earlier this week, whose defence kept a lid on goal fiend Ivan Toney and ensured his side have something to hold onto when they travel up the M3 to London, but the Bees will be champing at the bit to get going, so Bournemouth must be prepared for an attacking onslaught.
- Brentford (vs Bournemouth): Raya; Roerslev, Jansson, Norgaard, Pinnock, Canos; Jensen, Janelt, Fosu; Forss, Toney.
- Bournemouth (vs Brentford): Begovic; Smith, Carter-Vickers, Cook*, Kelly; Lerma, Pearson, Brooks, Billing, Danjuma; Solanke.
Josh Dasilva has been out injured since March and may struggle to return here for the hosts, while Henrik Dalsgaard has also not featured since early last month and Shandon Baptiste is also out. In more positive news, Rico Henry returned after three months out, coming on as a second-half substitute on Monday evening.
For Bournemouth, Steve Cook went off injured in the first leg with a knee injury and faces a scan to determine the extent of the problem, meaning his replacement that day, Chris Mepham, is likely to deputise should he not recover in time to make the journey to the capital. Lewis Cook is out while Junior Stanislas is doubtful.
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How Brentford could have lined up if they kept hold of star players
It is a testament to Brentford’s fruitful scouting network that they are able to identify unheralded talent from across the continent on an almost annual basis, remedying the recent departure of reliable goal-getter Watkins with the purchase of record Championship scorer Ivan Toney from Peterborough.
Their squad, at present, resembles anything but a Championship one, with an assortment of cosmopolitan names, including seven Danish footballers, non-league players turned Premier League hopefuls, a Swedish captain and a Spanish goalkeeper.
There is no question that if Brentford fail to achieve promotion yet again, Premier League clubs will be queuing up for their prized assets, potentially joining the likes of current top-flight players Watkins, Benrahma, Neal Maupay, Ezri Konsa, Romaine Sawyers, John Egan and James Tarkowski out the door.
Brentford’s striker conveyor belt
Having parted with Maupay and Watkins in recent seasons, it would have been understandable if the Bees fell by the wayside and drifted back to Championship obscurity, but the Londoners have have continued to churn out devastating centre-forwards, and they arguably have their best one of the bunch in Toney.
The former Newcastle striker has notched a Championship record 31 goals this season, making the seamless transition from League One football to the second tier, going six better than Watkins managed last term and and six better than Maupay the season before that.
Should Brentford fail to achieve promotion yet again this season and Toney does indeed leave, then they arguably have an understudy waiting in the wings to shine, in 21-year-old Marcus Forss, who has hit seven goals in nine starts this season and turned heads at AFC Wimbledon last campaign, bagging 11 goals in just 18 games.
Ivan Toney has now scored 31 goals in the Championship this season, the most by any player in a single-season in the competition's history.
A brilliant debut season so far for the 25-year old. 😍 pic.twitter.com/eZsL5wxOz9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 8, 2021
Ethan Pinnock: From non-league to Premier League?
Watkins initially rose to relative prominence in the Conference South during a loan spell at Weston-super-Mare from Exeter, but the story of Ethan Pinnock is even more incredible. The London-born Jamaica international started his professional career with Dulwich Hamlet in non-league football, before moving on to Forest Green Rovers in the National League and then Barnsley only four years ago.
A barnstorming season in League One at Oakwell culminated in his eventual transfer to Brentford, where he has risen to the challenge and earned his status as one of the Championship’s most impressive centre-backs, an incredible feat given he was plying his trade in non-league football as recently as the 2016/17 season.
Pinnock believes the path he took has been hugely beneficial to his career, rather than wasting away on the fringes of a top-tier team. He said: “I think the path I took, it was better for me going straight into a senior team rather than going into a professional club but being in their youth team.
“I’ve played a lot of men’s football, I played over 200 games for Dulwich and I definitely think that’s helped. No matter what level you play at, if you’re playing regularly it’s always going to be really beneficial.”
Jonathan Woodgate: A less prominent spotlight to ex-England teammates
The coaching careers of Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard have all generated huge attention in recent years, but Jonathan Woodgate’s nascent career in the dugout has largely gone under the radar, and yet, he could be a Premier League coach next season.
The former Real Madrid, Newcastle and Tottenham defender made his initial managerial footsteps in the Middlesbrough technical area, but his stint at the Riverside proved more ill-fated than illustrious and he was sacked with his side only hovering outside the relegation zone on goal difference after 38 games last season.
Now at the Vitality Stadium, Woodgate will be hoping to fare better than Lampard when he made the play-offs with Derby two seasons ago, looking to inspire promotion at the first time of asking, and then pitting his tactical wits against the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp next term.
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