Brentford vs Brighton: When do Albion play next, how to watch, team news, referee?
To have six points safely stored in the bank is a decent return from Albion and an early shift in fortunes from last season.
Albion played well for the second 45 minutes at Burnley and then produced a complete 90 minutes as they dominated newly-promoted Watford.
It earned Graham Potter’s men maximum reward for their first two matches before their strangely subdued display saw them easily dispatched by an impressive Everton at the Amex last week.
Without crunching the numbers and getting too bogged down in xG, Albion have so far played well for roughly 50 per cent of their time on the pitch but have a healthy return of six points. Quite the contrast from last season, where they played well without reward.
“Sometimes you are better off being lucky than good,” explained Potter after Burnley but the Albion head coach looked far from happy just before the international break with his team’s display after Everton.
Potter is always measured in his response to defeats but he – along with all the fans packed inside the Amex – expected so much more than his team produced against Rafa Benitez’s men.
Potter is very much performance orientated and will grudgingly accept a loss if the team produces their top level to give them the best chance of victory in the Premier League.
Everton was a reminder – if one was needed – that Brighton, despite this being their fifth consecutive season in the top flight, must be at their best to gain Premier League points. Brentford this Saturday will be no exception.
Thomas Frank’s unbeaten team have already shown they can be real handful in the division. They breezed past Ben White and Arsenal 2-0 on the opening day and then shared a goalless draw with Crystal Palace before a 1-1 with Aston Villa.
Striker Ivan Toney – fresh from 31 Championship goals – scored his first in the Premier League at Villa while Sergi Canos also gives Brentford a touch of swagger and unpredictability.
Those two perhaps gain the most praise but Frank’s team are also pretty tight at the back and the goal the conceded against Villa is the only one they have let in so far. Early signs suggest they could be more than okay in the top flight this season.
Brentford in their new Community Stadium – just off the M4 and a stone throw away from their old patch at Griffin Park –is a tough assignment but if Albion can produce much more Watford and far less of Everton, then they could be okay.
Potter may also have a few vital factors working in his favour. Against Everton the line-up looked extremely unbalanced with Pascal Gross and Jakub Moder looking uncomfortable in defensive areas.
Since then Spanish international Marc Cucurella arrived on transfer deadline day for a shade over £15m and will provide much needed defensive cover on the left. Solly March – who missed Everton with a hamstring issue – should return while Joel Veltman, who played the second 45 minutes against Everton, will be all the better for some minutes.
It’s likely March will start on the left with Cucurella on the bench and Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster will take the other defensive slots.
The international break will also have allowed Neal Maupay to recover properly from his shoulder injury sustained against Watford. The Frenchman, who has two goals already, will go up against his former club having left the Bees to join Brighton for £16m in 2019.
Danny Welbeck could also be available for his first start of the season having played the last 30 minutes against Everton but the game will likely arrive too soon for Dan Burn (knee) and Tariq Lamptey (hamstring).
Who? Brentford vs Brighton
Where? At the Brentford Community Stadium
Why? Premier League
When? Saturday, September 11 – kick-off 3pm
How to watch?
Highlights will be available on Match of the Day on BBC1 at 10.30pm.
Referee: Graham Scott. Assistants: Darren Cann, Mark Scholes. Fourth official: Dean Whitestone. VAR: Lee Mason. Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes.