Brighton are in their fifth season in the Premier League, and go into Saturday’s match one point and two places ahead of Brentford.
Since winning promotion in 2017, they have finished 15th twice, 16th and 17th, winning nine matches every season.
It is now their longest-ever spell in the top flight, with their only previous stay being four seasons in the old First Division from 1979 to 1983, the same season they also reached the FA Cup final, where they were beaten 4-0 by Manchester United in a replay.
The Seagulls made a brilliant start to this campaign, following a 2-1 opening-day triumph at Burnley with a 2-0 defeat of Watford – the first time they had ever won their first two matches of a top-flight season.
However, they slipped up in their last match, going down 2-0 at home to Everton.
In the Carabao Cup, they won 2-0 at Cardiff in round two and now face more south Wales opposition, with a home tie against Swansea later this month.
One familiar face in their ranks of course is Neal Maupay, who made such an impact in his two seasons with the Bees.
He scored 37 Championship goals in 68 full and 17 substitute appearances over two seasons – with his 25 in 2018/19 becoming the most by a Brentford player in a league campaign since Steve Phillips in 1977/78.
Neal left us in the summer of 2019 to move to the Amex, where he has continued to find the net on a regular basis, with 20 Premier League goals for the Seagulls in 62 starts and 11 appearances off the bench – two of those strikes coming this season.
Brighton have now been at the Amex Stadium for 10 years, after moving there in 2011 following 12 years at Withdean athletics stadium. They had been forced to groundshare for two seasons at Gillingham after leaving the Goldstone Ground.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Graham Potter was named as Brighton manager in May 2019, in succession to Chris Hughton.
It is his second job in British football, after spending the 2018/19 campaign in charge of Swansea.
This followed seven-and-a-half years at the helm of Swedish side Ostersunds FK.
When he took over in January 2011, the club had been relegated to the country’s fourth tier but he transformed their fortunes by winning back-to-back promotions in his first two seasons in charge.
They finished 10th in their first year in the second tier and at the end of the 2015 campaign were promoted to the top division for the first time in their history.
Ostersunds won the Swedish Cup, their first major trophy, two years later to qualify for the following season’s Europa League.
Their success continued with the side qualifying for the group stage and finishing second before facing Arsenal in the round of 32. Although the Gunners won the first leg 3-0 in Sweden, Graham’s side earned a famous 2-1 victory at the Emirates to bow out 4-2 on aggregate.
Graham played more than 300 games as a full-back in the Football League and Premier League for Birmingham, Stoke, Southampton, West Brom, York, Boston and Macclesfield and also earned one England Under-21 cap.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Brentford and Brighton have met in three of England’s top four divisions, with Saturday’s Premier League game completing the full set.
We met in the Football League basement as recently as 1998/99, and then met in five of the next 12 seasons in the third tier.
The Seagulls were also on our fixture list in our first three seasons in the Championship, before they won promotion to the Premier League in 2017.
We did the double over them in 2014/15 (3-2 at home and 1-0 away), although they gained revenge in the FA Cup third round 2-0 in Chris Hughton’s first game in charge of them.
But we had two memorable meetings in 2016/17.
We became one of only three visiting teams to win at the Amex that season, when a goal in each half from Scott Hogan wrapped up a 2-0 victory in early September.
And we shared the spoils in a thrilling 3-3 draw in the Griffin Park return.
The Bees raced into an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Jota and Harlee Dean and that was how it stayed until the closing 15 minutes, when two goals in four minutes from Solly March and Shane Duffy levelled the match. Konstantin Kerschbaumer thought he had won it with his first Brentford goal in the fourth minute of stoppage-time, but there was still time for Tomer Hemed to nod in a dramatic late equaliser.
BBC Radio Sussex’s Brighton and Hove Albion commentator Johnny Cantor, who you can follow on Twitter here, analyses Brighton’s season so far, looks at the impact Neal Maupay has made on the south coast, and reveals his Griffin Park memories.
Q – How would you assess Brighton’s start to the season?
A – I think any Seagulls fan would have taken six points from a possible nine and a win in the League Cup. Saying that, the defeat to an organised Everton side was a bit of a reality check and a reminder that there are bigger tests to come.
The first 45 minutes against Burnley on the opening day was chaotic and they could have been 3-0 down at half-time, but Graham Potter was able to turn things around at the break with a change in personnel and formation.
Q – What transfer business did the Seagulls do during the summer window?
A – Not that much. Left-sided player Marc Cucurella joined from Getafe for around £15m and will provide competition to Solly March and Dan Burn. He can play in defence or midfield and provides flexibility that Graham Potter craves.
Enock Mwepu arrived from Salzburg, but may need more time to settle into the Premier League. Selling Ben White to Arsenal for £50m was good business but the best bit of work was keeping Yves Bissouma. The big boys are circling. Several big earners left, and the club has around 20 players out on loan.
Q – The Seagulls are in their fifth successive Premier League campaign. What has been the key and could Brentford learn anything from this stability?
A – To a certain extent the club has gone under the radar, which I think has helped. The owner Tony Bloom is prudent in the market and the head coach focuses on the team, not the individual. Both Chris Hughton and Graham Potter have brought their own style but results are key. A solid start, like Brentford have made, helps. Getting out of the bottom three is a psychological test – one that not everyone is up to. A little luck with decisions, injuries and suspensions helps.
Q – How big an impact has ex-Bee Neal Maupay had in his two years with the Seagulls?
A – Large swathes of the fanbase believe a new striker is needed to take the club to the next level, but the impact he has made is unquestionable. Without his goals the Albion would have been in trouble, and you can’t lay all the lack of goals vs XG at his door. He has been the top scorer for both of the last two seasons with 10 and eight and he’s got two in three games this season, That says it all.
Q – Shane Duffy has returned to the Amex and is back in the side, but who the other key players for Bees fans to watch out for?
A – Yves Bissouma makes things tick. He can play in several roles but as a sitting midfielder breaks play up very well, but can also drive forward with the ball at his feet. Adam Lallana still has plenty to offer with his exceptional technical ability and we may see more from Argentinian Alexis Mac Allister.
Poland international Jakub Moder is a very good all-rounder in midfield and can score goals as he proved against England. The game probably comes too soon for Tariq Lamptey, but he is a force of nature at right wing-back.
Q – What memories do you have of previous Brentford-Brighton games?
A – The last one was entertaining that’s for sure with a late equaliser to make it 3-3. The 1-0 win in Chris Hughton’s first game in charge in the FA Cup was significant, not just for the start of a new era but also a determined performance that gave a clue to the attitude that underpinned the side en route to the top level under his leadership.
Q – How excited are you about visiting our new stadium?
A – Hugely excited. I was born opposite the Fullers pub by the river so know the area well and look forward to seeing how they’ve squeezed it in! Griffin Park was a fabulous ground with a great atmosphere, but one of the tightest commentary boxes I have ever encountered. The game after Christmas (and a few too many mince pies) a few years back was a challenge!
Q – Finally, can you give me a possible Seagulls’ starting line-up and formation please?
A – It is nigh on impossible to predict a Graham Potter starting 11 and even the formation is tricky once you know the team! It has become a bit of a regular joke amongst fans, but it does keep the opposition guessing as well as us!
Sanchez gk, Webster, Dunk, Duffy, March (injury doubt) or Cucurella, Gross, Bissouma, Mac Allister, Lallana, Trossard, Maupay.
Johnny also presents the Albion Unlimited podcast on BBC Radio Sussex – I chatted to him on this week’s edition, which also featured the station’s summariser and ex-Bee Warren Aspinall, who gave his views on our current side and recalled memories of his time at Griffin Park. Link below:
💥Albion Unlimited💥 @TommyElph4 discusses his career, new coaching role & #bhafc ‘s future. Also @Beesotted @ianwestbrook talks all things Brentford. Full podcast here 👉 https://t.co/tTOuVrbgL2 pic.twitter.com/efb3WHhkRi
— BBC Radio Sussex Sport (@BBCSussexSport) September 7, 2021
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Saturday’s 3pm kick-off, there are various ways of following the game.
Radio – Reports will be available on BBC Radio London.
iFollow – If you want Brentford commentary, iFollow audio coverage is available again this season via monthly or seasonal passes. Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free and on Friday night, Mark Burridge, Karleigh Osborne and Jonathan Douglas are your commentators this weekend.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Brighton fans coming to the Brentford Community Stadium for the first time, there are plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating – The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and has also been popular with away fans. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to be around what is left of our old home.
From the New Inn, you can walk down Green Dragon Lane and then turn left on to Kew Bridge Road where you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. If you sit in the garden, you can see our new stadium towering over you.
Across the road is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge, and the only home fans’ only pub. It is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
Cross the bridge and there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound.
North of the river along well-to-do Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, The Bell, City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.
There is also The Pilot – close to Gunnersbury station.
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) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about one minute walk from each other …. frequented by “away fans in the know”. And there are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street.
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 the tube 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). 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.
If you decide to get off at South Ealing station, we’ve heard a few people pop into Roddy’s Bar. If you like your craft beer, another fairly new pub worth checking out is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, which is fairly busy before and after the match. There is a pub right by Brentford mainline station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.
For real 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.
Getting to Brentford from town – get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium.
You can also get the tube to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (even less from Paddington) on the Piccadilly Line. The stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing or you can get on the 65 bus across the road which will drop you almost outside. You can also pick up the 65 from Ealing Broadway.
You can also walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury station, but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match,.
A reminder for #BHAFC supporters your best bet after the game is to walk to Chiswick Train Station:
20 min walk from the ground then 14mins to Clapham Junction.
— Met Police Brentford FC (@MPSBrentfordFC) September 9, 2021
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.