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Crystal Palace are having a solid first season under new manager Patrick Vieira, and after Wednesday’s draw at Norwich are 13th – one place and two points above us with a game in hand.

Their main problem this campaign has been stringing wins together – only achieving back-to-back victories once so far this campaign.

They have drawn 10 times – the joint third highest total in the division – and their home record is much better than that from their away games, which is the fifth worst in the division. Only Everton, Newcastle and Burnley have earned fewer Premier League points on the road.

Incredibly though, their only away victory came at of all places Manchester City at the end of October, while they have drawn five and lost five of the other fixtures on their travels.

They arrive at the Brentford Community Stadium on a run of only two league wins in their last 12 games.

This is the Eagles’ ninth consecutive season in the Premier League – their longest-ever stay in the top flight – and they have finished between 10th and 15th each time.

It is their fifth spell in the Premier League and the only one which has lasted more than a season.

They had two stints in the old Division One – lasting four and two seasons respectively.

Their biggest cup moment came in the 1989/90 FA Cup when they reached the final and took Manchester United to a replay after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Wembley. However, in the second match five days later, United ran out 1-0 winners.


Patrick Vieira replaced Roy Hodgson as Crystal Palace boss in the summer for his first managerial job in England.

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The former France and Arsenal midfielder has previously been in charge of New York City and Nice.

He had an illustrious career in midfield with the Gunners – winning three Premier League titles, and four FA Cups in nine years with the club.

He captained them to their 2003/04 title win, in which they went unbeaten throughout the entire league season and earned the Invincibles tag.

Patrick’s last kick of the ball in an Arsenal shirt was the winning penalty in a shoot-out against Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup final.

He also played for Cannes, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan, before finishing his career at Manchester City, where he won another FA Cup.

He also won 107 caps for France, scoring six international goals, and was part of their team that won the World Cup in 1998, and the Euros two years later.

On retiring, he ran City’s academy before moving to their sister club in New York to begin his senior managerial career.


Crystal Palace are another team we haven’t met much in recent years.

Before this season’s goalless draw in August – our first-ever Premier League away game – we hadn’t met competitively since the first round of the League Cup in 1977/78.

And our last league meetings before this campaign were nearly 50 years ago.

Our sunny meeting six months ago ended 0-0 – although Conor Gallagher and Bryan Mbeumo both hit the woodwork.

When we met in the League Cup first round, ties were played over two legs and hopes were high of a shock Brentford victory when we won the first leg at Griffin Park 2-1.

But in the second leg, Second Division Palace tore apart the Fourth Division Bees with a 5-1 triumph, for a 6-3 aggregate victory.

Our last league meetings were in Division Three (now League One) in 1963/64 and both matches ended in home wins – the Bees 2-1 in the September, and Palace 1-0 the following January.


BBC Radio London commentator and presenter Phil Parry looks at Palace’s campaign, the task Patrick Vieira had in replacing Roy Hodgson, and what Brentford could learn from the way the Eagles have established themselves in the Premier League in recent years.

Q – How would you assess Palace’s season so far?

A – I think that it’s been a positive season so far for the Eagles although I would imagine that there’s a decent amount of frustration about the fact that the points tally so far accrued doesn’t reflect the  level of performance in a number of games. A missed penalty at Norwich the other night, the concession of late equalisers at home to Brighton and away at Arsenal, just three examples of where points have been left on the pitch.

It is a surprise to many that they have only picked up one away win so far, at Manchester City of all places, and even at Selhurst Park the win column could easily have had a even healthier glow about it. All this while the side has been undergoing a transformation of style and personnel under the new manager Patrick Vieira. A younger and new spine to the team in front of Guaita with the likes of Guehi, Gallagher, Edouard supported by some of the older guard and a smattering of upcoming talent.

Vieira has also taken the brakes off the team in attack and you can tell that it is an approach being enjoyed by the players. There is of course still work to do, and one win in seven in the Premier League form that they would like to improve, but they don’t give the appearance of a side which will get dragged into a relegation battle. Add to that they have a winnable fifth round FA Cup tie to come, and the run-in to the season could still be an enjoyable one for the fans.

Q – How hard was it for Patrick Vieira to follow Roy Hodgson, after four years in charge, and how has he done?

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A – Roy, along with chief lieutenant Ray Lewington, once of the Parish of Brentford, did a wonderful job of giving the club stability and guaranteed Premier League status. Even if the club hit a sticky patch of form or looked worryingly close to the bottom three, there was a belief that they would clamber clear. He didn’t overuse the bank account and trusted a relatively small group of players to deliver solid, dependable and ultimately positive outcomes. They may not have been the most flamboyant of sides, but there was never any question of commitment or hard work, and during that time they pulled off some notable results.

Vieira’s role is to evolve the club and while maintaining the essential work ethic he’s also adding verve, attacking intent and a little bit of swagger. The Frenchman was an elegant yet tough midfielder and I feel that is what he would like his team to be. Considering the turnover of starters, the new coaching set-up, including the impressive Osian Roberts, and the change in style/approach, the transition has been pretty impressive. Vieira has built on the foundations which existed thanks to Roy, but has already stamped his impression on the side, and my interpretation from talking to fans is that they have so far been very pleased by what they have seen.

Q – Conor Gallagher looks a real prospect – how important has he been to Palace this season?

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A – As an individual, Conor is a player who has certainly made an impact at the Palace, a midfielder with good aggression when winning the ball, then great intelligence and quality when using it. And of course he can chip in with goals too, topping the Eagles’ scoring charts at the moment with seven, some important ones too. In the past he has referred to Frank Lampard, as a Chelsea fan not surprisingly, as an inspiration to be one of those midfielders who can break into the box and get on the end of opportunities. That certainly is being added to his game, but if his development continues there is that tag of “complete midfielder” which may well get attached to Conor.

From a wider perspective his arrival was also an indication of what Patrick Vieira wants to achieve with a younger squad with both the confidence of youth and the hunger to achieve. It has been a signposting of the fact that the side are moving towards one of forward drive and attacking intent while retaining that core of tough hard work.

Q – Palace are really established in the Premier League now – is there anything Brentford could learn from them in order to do the same?

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A – I suppose one of the biggest lessons from Palace over the last few years is that stability and continuity are no bad things. Roy Hodgson’s spell in charge was built on a clear ethos combined with a group of players who bought into the plan. A strong defensive base is key and be it Tomkins and Cahill under Roy or what Palace hope will be similar with Andersen and Guehi, having that foundation to be difficult to break down and not be beaten is an important starting point.

There also needs to be a degree of patience and nerve, as I said earlier even under Hodgson Palace had some poor runs of form, but they stuck to the formula and came through some difficult periods. They have also been able to add and use Premier League-quality players, the likes of Tomkins, Cahill, Kouyate all at times adding their experience, plus the odd sprinkling of stardust which can make the difference in a game.

The fans have also created a great atmosphere at Selhurst Park and while results don’t always reflect what goes on in the stands, any home advantage that can be derived can make a real difference.

Q – What do you remember of the sides’ goalless draw in August?

A – I wasn’t at the first game earlier this season but having watched it from afar I think it gave an impression of the direction that Palace were looking to go in with greater emphasis on possession and passing. I suppose both teams will have looked at it and thought they had a chance or two to grab the win while a draw was probably fair.

For the Bees the point might seem like a decent return in the context of the season, especially if they were to win the home encounter, and considering that the Eagles are decent on their own patch. Thomas Frank’s side did create opportunities, only three efforts on target, and I suppose that was a clear early reflection that the Premier League is about being clinical when you can, because chances and opportunities are hard to come by.

Q – Who are the key men in the Eagles side for Brentford fans to watch out for?

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A – As you mentioned above Conor Gallagher has already displayed his importance to the team with ball winning, ball retention and opportunity creation. Wilfried Zaha is back in action for the Eagles and of course is a real threat, just look at his goal from Wednesday night, but there is other exciting talent too with Michael Olise and a fit-again Eberechi Eze available. The central defensive pair are both comfortable on the ball, and ex-Brentford academy player Tyrick Mitchell continues to impress, with two goal-saving interventions and a penalty won in the game at Norwich.

Q – Finally can you give me a possible Palace line-up and formation please?

A –                                                                                Guaita


Ward                     Andersson                                          Guehi                                    Mitchell


Hughes                                                 Schlupp


Olise/Ayew                                                        Gallagher                                                             Zaha




If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Saturday’s sold-out 3.00pm kick-off, there are various ways of following the game.

Radio – There will be live commentary on BBC London 94.9FM as part of the Saturday Sport Show from 2pm.

iFollow – If you want Brentford commentary, iFollow audio coverage is available via monthly or seasonal passes. Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge, Jonathan Douglas and Charlotte Tanner.




For Crystal Palace fans coming to the Brentford Community Stadium for the first time, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).

The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 minutes walk.

Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.

It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zone before heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.

Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone (still very  lively but easier to get a pint)

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 both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford.

About five minutes’ walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a “lively but comfortable” pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.

Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.

The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.

There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cosy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.

For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following: Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.

Then you can then either walk (15 minutes from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a train from Brentford station (which is five minutes walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog) or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.

Trains run at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take two minutes.

Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone (very busy on match days)

Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.

Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.

Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.

North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell. A bit further down are The 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 which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a rating.

Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge

The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to 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. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.

With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from King’s Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.

It is only 40 minutes max station by tube to station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.

The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.

For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Cross or Euston (35 minutes) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.

The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.

You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 minutes.

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.