Brentford go into our second west London derby in five days on Saturday in “angry” mood, according to Lasse Vibe, and determined to take out the frustrations of the draw at QPR on Fulham.
Having a second derby so soon after the disappointing ending of the first can be viewed as a good thing – even if the odds point to the match finishing as another draw.
The Loftus Road game was our ninth draw of the season in 19 matches – the highest number in the Championship – while Fulham are one of four clubs (Sheffield Wednesday, Preston and Sunderland being the others) to have shared the points eight times so far.
It should be a much better match than the one on Monday, at least according to Fulham fan Sammy – a guest on this week’s Beesotted podcast.
He said that like Brentford, Fulham also play good football but can’t hold on to a lead. That means it will probably finish 4-4 or be goalless.
You can here Sammy and the rest of the podcast here:
The Cottagers have had a stuttering season so far and achieved back-to-back victories for only the second time last Saturday when they followed up their extraordinary 5-4 win at Sheffield United by beating Millwall 1-0.
They won at Nottingham Forest and QPR in four days at the end of September but their only other two wins – at Ipswich and over Hull – were separated by a draw.
Their away record is better than at the Cottage, where they have drawn six of their 10 matches. On the road, they have won four times, drawn twice and suffered three defeats.
Fulham are in their fourth successive season in the Championship after their 13-year spell in the Premier League ended in 2014.
They mostly finished in the bottom half of the table during their top flight stay, although they did have four seasons when they came between seventh and ninth and in 2010 reached the Europa League final, where they lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid after extra-time.
Last season was the closest they have come to a top flight return as they finished sixth before losing to Reading in the semi-finals.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Slavisa Jokanovic was named as Fulham manager just after Christmas 2015 – nearly two months after they had sacked their previous boss Kit Symons.
The former Chelsea player led Watford into the Premier League in 2014/15 but left the club after contract talks could not be resolved.
He started 2015/16 managing Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv before moving to the Cottage.
He has managed in six different countries having also been in charge of Partizan (Serbia), Muangthong United (Thailand), Levski Sofia (Bulgaria) and Hercules (Spain).
Jokanovic played for eight clubs, with Deportivo La Coruna among them, while he won 64 caps for Yugoslavia/FR Yugoslavia.
Brentford played a second successive televised Friday night west London derby when Fulham visited last November. Having won at QPR the previous week, hopes were high of a double win – but a goal in each half from Sone Aluko and Tom Cairney, in second half stoppage time, gave the Cottagers a 2-0 win.
A first half penalty save by Daniel Bentley ensured the Bees drew 1-1 at Fulham at the end of April. Tom Cairney gave them an early lead but Nico Yennaris equalised after a one-two with Konstantin Kerschbaumer. The Cottagers were given a penalty in first half stoppage time but Bentley superbly saved Cairney’s spot-kick and then blocked the follow-up as the Bees earned a point.
Q – What were the general expectations from Fulham fans at the start of the season – another play-off/promotion push or a mid-table campaign – and why?
A – Considering the way that Fulham finished last season – and that they managed to keep important players like Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon – I think the fans hoped this season would be about aiming for automatic promotion.
Q – How would you assess Fulham’s season so far?
A – I think the season has been disappointing and frustrating so far. Particularly because there had been such high expectations.
Q – Fulham have drawn eight games in the Championship this season. What is the reason for this?
A – It is hard to know why Fulham have drawn so many matches. But I think if the question was “Why haven’t they won more ?” the simple answer is – they haven’t got an obvious out-and-out striker. As a team they seem to require a lot of chances per goals scored.
Q – With 19 games gone now, how do you think the season will eventually pan out for the Cottagers?
A – I think it will depend on a few things. Can Fulham do what they did last year – and manage to turn things around before the end of the season ? And in January can they bring in the players they need to strengthen the team – in particular a proven goalscorer (which could be expensive) and can they hang on to players like Ryan Sessegnon ?
Q – How important was it to keep Slavisa Jokanovic over the summer, when he was linked to other jobs?
A – It was important to keep him. Although I think there is a bigger significance in the recent departure of the controversial Craig Kline from his role at the club. It would suggest that Jokanovic will now have more control over recruitment, after some summer signings that so far don’t seem to have really strengthened the team.
Q – I see David Button has regained his place in the side after a shaky spell last season. How is he doing?
A – David Button has been ever-present in the league this season – and has made some important saves. But – as with a lot of goalkeepers – it can be his mistakes people remember. He made some errors in a defeat at Derby last season, which saw him lose his starting place for the rest of the campaign to Marcus Bettinelli. There are plenty of fans who feel Bettinelli is as good a keeper as Button, if not a better one.
Q – What sort of squad strengthening do you expect Fulham to do in the January transfer window?
A – A striker! Simple as that.
Q – Which Fulham players should we watch out for?
A – Ryan Sessegnon. He has started every league match so far for Fulham this season. Either as a defender or winger. He is only 17 – but is already being linked with a move to Tottenham. He scored a hat-trick against Sheffield United.
Fulham have had a fairly settled back line and midfield this season.
As mentioned earlier, ex-Bee David Button, part of our promotion-winning side in 2014, and highly-rated 17-year-old Ryan Sessegnon, who either plays at left-back or left midfield, are both ever-present, while former Brentford loan player Ryan Fredericks and Tim Ream have each only missed one game and Tomas Kalas two. Denis Odoi has been involved in 15 matches.
Oliver Norwood has featured in every match in midfield and Stefan Johansen has only missed one, Kevin McDonald three and Neeskens Cabano four.
Meanwhile, up front Aboubakar Kamara has come off the bench 11 times and started five matches.
Possible line-up 4-3-3 – right to left:
Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Odoi
Cairney, McDonald, Johansen/Norwood
Ojo, Fonte, Sessegnon
PUBS IN BRENTFORD
For Fulham fans coming to the game, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
We are now back to the traditional four pubs around the ground, following the reopening of the Royal Oak.
The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and the Royal Oak are the other options.
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted pre-match pub. This boozer & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other …. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields. The ‘Northfields run’ makes a much better pub crawl route than South Ealing – getting off at Northfields station, turning left and stopping off at The Plough (2 min walk), The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before ending up at The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) by the away turnstiles.
There’s also a relatively new tiny microbrewery pub in Northfields called The Owl and The Pussycat (Northfields Ave)– right turn out of the station away from the ground as opposed to left.
There is a pub right by Brentford station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.
For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman (Ealing Road) can probably hold 15 of you at a push.
The Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit One Over the Ait (Kew Bridge Road) – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge with a beer deck overlooking the river – and The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel.
A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.
Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Rd (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.
Getting to Brentford from town – many fans get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) then take the Overground train to Brentford.
This is relatively straight forward but can actually take longer than if you get the tube due to waiting times (overground trains come every 15 mins and the journey from Vauxhall or Waterloo to Brentford is 30 mins on the fast train – 51 mins on the slow train – so you could find it takes you over an hour including the journey from Kings Cross/Euston/Paddington).
Many fans choose the tube over the overground. It’s 35 minutes to Northfields station from Kings Cross or Euston (less from Paddington) and then 15 minutes walk to Brentford from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford pub crawl outlined above (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe, Griffin) of course. If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops).
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.
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