Crystal Palace are in a sticky spell of form at the moment after a solid start to the season.
After they won 2-1 at West Ham at the start of November, they sat 10th in the table with 19 points from 13 games – only two points away from the final European place.
Since then, however, their form has plummeted with only one win in nine Premier League matches – none of them in 2023 – and exits from both cup competitions, leaving them with 25 points from 22 games.
Their only victory in this run was at Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve, and their results this year have been a 4-0 home defeat by Spurs followed by three draws at Selhurst Park – 1-1 against Manchester United and, last Saturday, Brighton and 0-0 with Newcastle, and away defeats at Chelsea (1-0) and Manchester United (2-1).
Their cup defeats came in the third round of each competition. In the Carabao, they lost 3-2 on penalties at Newcastle following a goalless draw, and in the FA Cup, they went down 2-1 at home to Southampton.
Palace have been missing star man Wilfried Zaha for the past two weeks and there is no guarantee he will be fit to play at New GP on Saturday.
However, ex-Brentford Academy left-back Tyrick Mitchell and ex-Bees on-loan midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp are likely to be involved.
This is the Eagles’ 10th 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.
The Eagles have twice reached the FA Cup final – playing Manchester United each time.
In 1989/90, they took 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.
In 2016, Palace were again runners-up – losing 2-1 after extra-time.
If you like your 3.00 Saturday home games, then make the most of this one as it could be a minimum of seven weeks – at least – until the next one.
If Leicester beat Blackburn in the FA Cup at the end of February, then their scheduled visit on 18 March will be off – leaving the Bees with four out of five blank weekends.
We don’t play next weekend as Manchester United, who we were due to visit, are in the Carabao Cup final. The following week our home game with Fulham is now on the Monday night.
We are in action the following Saturday at Everton, but then follows the Leicester weekend and then the international break.
After that we are away to Brighton so the next home game after that is Newcastle on 8 April – although the TV games haven’t been announced yet so the time or date for that one could still change.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Patrick Vieira replaced Roy Hodgson as Crystal Palace boss in the 2021 close season for his first managerial job in England.
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.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Crystal Palace are another team we haven’t met much in recent years.
Before last season, we hadn’t met competitively since the first round of the League Cup in 1977/78.
And our last league meetings before last season were nearly 50 years ago.
All three Premier League meetings so far have ended in draws – with last season’s both goalless.
Our trip to Selhurst Park in August 2021 was our first-ever Premier League away game and despite the lack of goals, both Conor Gallagher and Bryan Mbeumo hit the woodwork.
The return in February halted a run of five straight Premier League defeats for us, but was most memorable for new signing Christian Eriksen being introduced to the crowd before kick-off.
There was yet another draw this season at the end of August – thanks to a last-gasp equaliser from Yoane Wissa.
Wilfried Zaha had put Palace ahead with a wonder strike from the edge of the area, but Wissa headed in Vitaly Janelt’s cross to earn a point and set the travelling Bees fans dancing as it finished 1-1.
When we met in the League Cup first round 46 years ago, 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 before last season 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.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Saturday’s sold-out 3.00pm kick-off and want Brentford commentary, audio coverage is available via the new Buzz Box, currently on a free trial.
Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge and Brentford women’s team striker Kirsty Matthews.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Palace fans coming to the Gtech 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 mins 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
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 2 mins.
Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone
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 👍🏾or a 👎🏻
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 Kings 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 mins 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.