Former Burnley team-mates Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil will be reunited on Saturday, when Everton make their second visit to new Griffin Park/Gtech Community Stadium.
All three players left Turf Moor in the summer, with Mee joining us and former Bee Tarkowski, along with McNeil, moving to Goodison Park.
The centre-halfs played more than 150 games together at the heart of the Clarets defence and formed a formidable partnership.
Both have been ever-present in the Premier League so far this season, with Tarkowski, who left us in controversial circumstances in 2016, part of an Everton back line which has conceded four goals so far.
The Toffees are still seeking their first league win of the season.
Their campaign started with a 1-0 home defeat by Chelsea, followed by a 2-1 loss at Aston Villa, before they picked up their first point in a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest last Saturday.
They also made it through to the third round of the Carabao Cup, where they will travel to Bournemouth in November after a 1-0 win at League One Fleetwood.
The Toffees had a real battle to avoid relegation and losing their status as the top flight’s second longest-serving club last season.
They beat the drop in their penultimate game by beating Crystal Palace 3-2, eventually finishing four points clear of the bottom three.
Everton have spent more seasons than any other club in the top flight of English football – 119 out of 123 – and have been there since winning promotion in 1954/55. Their run of 69 consecutive seasons is second only to Arsenal (97).
The Toffees are also one of only six teams who are ever-present in the Premier League so far, along with the Gunners, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Frank Lampard needs little introduction to football fans.
The former England captain was appointed as Everton boss in January, after a glittering career in which he won almost every honour in the book.
As well as being Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals, he won 106 caps for England, scoring 29 goals and holds the record for the most penalties scored for his country with nine.
He won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and three League Cups with the Blues as well as both the Champions League and Europa League.
Frank started his career with West Ham,and as well as a loan spell at Swansea, also played for Manchester City and New York City as well as Chelsea.
But following his retirement – after some TV pundit work, he returned to the game when he was appointed manager of Derby in the summer of 2018.
In his first season in charge, he led the Rams to the Championship play-off final, where they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, and that summer he left Pride Park to take over at Chelsea.
During his first campaign at Stamford Bridge he took Chelsea to fourth place in the Premier League and the FA Cup final, where they lost 2-1 to Arsenal.
He was sacked midway through his second season at the helm, and 12 months later took over at Goodison Park.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
This is only the 10th season in which we have met Everton in the league.
They were one of only three teams we did the double over last season, with West Ham and Watford being the other two.
An Ivan Toney penalty, in the 24th minute, separated the sides in the home game in November.
The return match in May was a thriller as the Bees overcame a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 against the nine-man Toffees.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin gave Everton an early lead, but Jarrad Branthwaite was sent off for fouling Ivan Toney in the 18th minute and we equalised in the 37th minute when Yoane Wissa’s delivery was deflected into his own net by Seamus Coleman.
Richarlison restored the Toffees’ lead with a penalty in first-half stoppage-time, but goals from Wissa and Rico Henry in three minutes midway through the second half wrapped up the points for us.
Everton were reduced to nine men in the 88th minute, when substitute Salomon Rondon was sent off only four minutes after coming on as a substitute for a reckless tackle on Henry.
Our past league results (Brentford score first) are:
1935/36 – (H) W 4-1 (A) W 2-1
1936/37 – (H) D 2-2 (A) L 0-3
1937/38 – (H) W 3-0 (A) L 0-3
1938/39 – (H) W 2-0 (A) L 1-2
1946/47 – (H) D 1-1 (A) W 2-0
1951/52 – (H) W 1-0 (A) L 0-1
1952/53 – (H) L 2-4 (A) L 0-5
1953/54 – (H) W 1-0 (A) L 1-6
2021/22 – (H) W 1-0 (A) W 3-2
We also met in the FA Cup fourth round last season in Frank Lampard’s first game in charge and fell to a 4-1 defeat.
Early substitute Yerry Mina headed Everton in front in the 31st minute and Richarlison doubled the lead three minutes after the break.
Ivan Toney quickly pulled one back from the penalty spot, but Mason Holgate and Andros Townsend scored to take the Toffees into the fifth round.
The match was notable for comebacks from injury by David Raya, who played his first game for more than three months, and Josh Dasilva, who came on as a substitute for his first appearance for almost a year.
Our only other recent meeting was the memorable Carling Cup third round tie from September 2010 in which we beat them 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Gary Alexander cancelled out Seamus Coleman’s opener and Charlie MacDonald missed a penalty in normal-time before the match went to a shootout.
Goalkeeper Richard Lee proved to be our hero, saving from Jermaine Beckford, before Phil Jagielka’s effort hit the post to send us into the fourth round for only the second time in our history.
Q – How would you assess Everton’s start to the season?
A – They say that the league table doesn’t lie, but there’s certainly the feeling that Everton should have more than one solitary point on the board so far.
There were moments against Chelsea where chances would’ve been created had the final pass been right, while I’m still trying to understand how the Blues didn’t get a result at Aston Villa after the chances that came and went in stoppage time for Anthony Gordon and Amadou Onana.
The draw against Nottingham Forest last time out was certainly a game that the Goodison faithful will have been wanting and potentially expecting three points from, but the manner in which the team reacted to going 1-0 down so late on should at least provide encouragement.
Goalscoring has been the big issue so far, not helped by yet another injury to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Frank Lampard isn’t blessed with options in the centre-forward spot.
Salomon Rondon performed well as a substitute against Aston Villa before starting against Nottingham Forest, but there’s no doubt that at least one more forward option is needed at Goodison Park.
At the back, whilst not keeping a clean sheet so far, I feel there is improvement on last season.
James Tarkowski and Conor Coady are both leaders in central defence, while Nathan Patterson has made an excellent impression as he aims to become Seamus Coleman’s heir to the right-back (or right wing-back currently) slot.
Ultimately that first win remains elusive for now and it could well be another tough season, but there are positive signs that can be complemented by new arrivals.
Q – What have you made of the Toffees’ summer transfer business, both in and out, and what else is expected before the window “slams shut”?
A – It’s been an interesting summer of transfers at Goodison Park because I expected there to be a lot more movement, certainly in terms of incomings.
So far the Blues have signed five players – James Tarkowski on a free transfer from Burnley, Dwight McNeil also from Burnley for around £20m, Amadou Onana from Lille for £33m while Conor Coady and Ruben Vinagre have arrived on season-long loans from Wolves and Sporting Lisbon respectively.
However, while reinforcements were needed and the signings made strengthen key areas, the forward options that are so desperately craved haven’t yet arrived.
There have been plenty of strikers linked with Everton in recent weeks, in particularly Armando Broja from Chelsea as part of any potential transfer that Anthony Gordon could make to Stamford Bridge, while there appears to be strong interest in Blackburn Rovers’ Chile international Ben Brereton-Diaz.
The Gordon situation is intriguing given how out of the blue it came, almost immediately after the final whistle of the Blues’ defeat at Villa Park.
The latest reports suggest Chelsea would be willing to pay up to £60m for the Academy product who was handed the No.10 shirt earlier this summer, and any sale of Gordon may well trigger a late spending spree from Frank Lampard.
Finally, on outgoings, Richarlison’s transfer to Tottenham was another that left a lot of Blues scratching their heads and with a bitter taste in their mouths.
The deal could reach a maximum of £60m, which many felt was far below what the Brazilian’s value was to Everton especially after his impact towards the end of the season, but the timing of his departure was also key in order to make financial room for signings to be made.
Big wage earners like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fabian Delph and Cenk Tosun were released on free transfers while Dele Alli is off to Turkish side Besiktas having only moved to Merseyside at the end of the January transfer window.
Having been such a big fan of Dele’s during his time at MK Dons and Tottenham, especially in his early years at Spurs, seeing his rapid decline in recent years is such a sad sight. I hope he rediscovers his form in Istanbul and we see the player that we all know he can be.
Q – What impact has Frank Lampard made since his arrival at Goodison Park?
A – At times, based on results, it’s been difficult to measure Frank Lampard’s impact at Everton because there appeared to be a few false dawns early in his tenure last season.
The 4-1 win against Brentford in the cup followed by a 3-0 victory over Leeds were meant to be the start of a stroll towards safety that just never materialised.
His main impact, however, was undoubtedly off the pitch as he united the fans at Goodison Park with the team in a way that hadn’t been seen for many years.
The run of home form towards the end of the season was absolutely crucial. Wins against Newcastle, Manchester United and Chelsea proved to be vital in the run-in as Goodison Park, for the most part, became something of a fortress in the final month-and-a-half of the season.
The rollercoaster of emotions in that final home game against Crystal Palace could’ve been felt by any football fan watching, as the Blues roared back from 2-0 down to secure survival with a game to go. Lampard played a bigger part in that night than even he may ever realise.
Of course, that was last season and this is now, but it’s important that that unity remains both on and off the pitch.
Q – What do Everton need to do to avoid another season at the wrong end of the table?
A – The first thing that comes to mind is drastically improve the away form.
Last season, Everton earned just 10, yes 10, points outside of Merseyside with just two wins in 19 away matches. That was as many points as Norwich, who finished rock bottom.
The irony is the first of those away wins came in just their third match of the campaign at Brighton, before the travelling Toffees had to wait until mid-May for an important 2-1 win at Leicester.
A similar return this season would simply not be good enough given the pressure that would then put on securing results at Goodison Park.
They also need to be better at the top end of the pitch, and that’s why signing at least one striker before deadline day is so important.
There’s no doubt this squad has the ability to create chances, it’s the taking of them where the biggest doubts remain.
Q – What impact do you think the split season will have on Everton and are a lot of the squad expected to be away at the World Cup?
A – I think it’ll be an interesting season for all involved.
There are 16 Premier League games before the break for the World Cup and, if you’re in a poor position, it’s a long time to wait to get back under way just before the start of the new year.
For Everton, I think that makes it crucial to get into a decent position before the break and create a positive mood around the club.
As for players who will be going to Qatar, I don’t anticipate that “a lot” of Lampard’s squad will be involved in the tournament, which could be a blessing for him to be able to work on tactics and training over the November and December period.
Amadou Onana is a newly capped Belgium international, so he’ll be hoping to be in Roberto Martinez’s plans, meanwhile Jordan Pickford will undoubtedly be part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad and Conor Coady will hope to be involved, but injuries may harm Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hopes of a spot on the plane.
Q – What do you remember of last season’s Bees-Toffees games?
A – I remember them being three very different matches indeed.
The first meeting – Brentford’s narrow 1-0 win courtesy of an Ivan Toney penalty – was a frustrating one for Evertonians, because it was one many felt would’ve been different had the Blues had a clinical finisher.
That being said, Everton didn’t particularly create many significant openings but neither Richarlison or Calvert-Lewin featured on that afternoon and it showed.
The second clash couldn’t have been more different as the sides met in the fourth round of the FA Cup in what was Frank Lampard’s first game in charge.
It was an emphatic Everton win as Yerry Mina, Richarlison, Mason Holgate and Andros Townsend all scored in a 4-1 victory. As I alluded to earlier, that was a game that promised much for the second half of Everton’s season before the relegation scrap in the final months.
The final match-up of the campaign was by far the most dramatic and most controversial of the three.
Everton had just claimed four of their 10 away points for the season against Leicester and Watford in the week before, giving the Blues the chance to secure their top-flight status against the Bees, but hardly anyone could’ve predicted how that afternoon would pan out.
Calvert-Lewin’s first goal since August gave the Blues the lead before the turning point of the match as Jarrad Branthwaite received a straight red card for the denial of a goalscoring opportunity, with Everton feeling they should’ve had a penalty at the other end.
Seamus Coleman’s own goal brought Brentford level before Richarlison restored the lead on the stroke of half-time.
After the break, however, you could tell the 10 men were draining and Brentford took full advantage with goals from Yoanne Wissa and Rico Henry, before Rondon saw red late on for an honestly ridiculous challenge. It was one of those where you knew the colour of the card before the ref had even before he reached for his pocket.
So based off those encounters, who knows what kind of game we’re going to get on Saturday?
Q – Finally can you give me a possible Everton formation and line-up please?
A – So far this season, Everton have gone with a five-at-the-back formation and I expect that to be the case in West London on Saturday.
The Blues lined up with a 5-2-3 formation against Nottingham Forest to get Rondon into the team and, given that he remains the only focal point from a forward perspective for now, I also think he’ll lead the line again.
The main debate is whether Onana comes into the side for his first Premier League start after the Belgian got 90 minutes in his legs against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday, but Lampard may opt to utilise the midfielder from the bench again.
My predicted Everton XI to face Brentford on Saturday is: Pickford, Patterson, Tarkowski, Coady, Holgate, Mykolenko, Iwobi, Davies, Gray, Rondon, Gordon.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Gtech 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 Talksport 2.
Buzz Box – If you 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, who has Carl Hutchings alongside him this Saturday.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Everton fans coming to the Gtech Community Stadium, 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.