Brentford look to emphasise their promotion credentials at Villa Park.
Brentford are fast becoming the neutrals’ favourite Championship side. Not a club for breaking the bank, The Bees have assembled a young, exciting squad under Dean Smith, with many tipping them as possible candidates for promotion.
They’ve enjoyed an excellent start to the season – earning seven points from their opening three matches – and know victory against Aston Villa will see them march into the automatic promotion spots (yes, I know it’s early days, but it’s still a good start).
Villa have been oddly forgotten about by many this season. Most assumed there would be mass exodus after their play-off final defeat, Steve Bruce would leave and their club would simply enter free-fall. But none of those things have happened. They’ve retained the core of their talented squad, and thankfully for them, Steve Bruce – one of the best Championship managers around - remains in charge.
The two sides go into this one unbeaten in the league, and it’s hard to separate them at this stage. Brentford earned a good point away at Stoke earlier in the season – in truth they were unfortunate not to win the game – and will be quietly confident of getting a positive result.
Villa and Brentford both have firepower – Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay have been particularly brilliant for Brentford so far – so I’m backing both teams to score in a tasty looking tie.
The aforementioned Watkins has enjoyed a blistering start to the season, scoring three goals in as many games for Brentford. The Bees are a side who create plenty of goalscoring opportunities, so Watkins will fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet.
New Villa ‘keeper Ørjan Nyland has endured a shaky start to life at Villa Park – his mistake costing his side two points against Ipswich last week – which creates doubt amongst the defenders in front of him.
You can be sure Watkins will start this one, and I see him finding the back of the net at Villa Park.
This may be a recurring theme for Brentford matches, but I’m expecting goals to be scored. Their defence has been miserly thus far – conceding just twice in the league – but they’re travelling to a Villa side containing Jack Grealish, Albert Adomah and Jonathan Kodjia.
So far, there’s not been a lot to separate these two, so i’m backing a goal in both halves and the match to end in a draw as my final tip for this exciting midweek tie.