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Everton have had a very mixed start to the season under new manager Rafael Benitez.

The former Liverpool boss made a great start and the Toffees were joint top of the table after four games.

But a run of only one win and two draws in their next eight matches has dropped them into the bottom half of the table – three places and two points ahead of us.

Their campaign began with a 3-1 home win over Southampton and, after a 2-2 draw at Leeds, they won 2-0 at Brighton and 3-1 against Burnley.

The Toffees’ first defeat came 3-0 at Aston Villa, and although they bounced back to beat Norwich 2-0, they haven’t won in six games since.

They drew 1-1 at Manchester United and 0-0 with Spurs, but have lost twice at home – 1-0 to West Ham and 5-2 to Watford – and twice away – 2-1 at Wolves and then 3-0 at Manchester City last Saturday.

Everton’s chances of success in the Carabao Cup also ended early as they went out 8-7 on penalties down the road at QPR, following a 2-2 draw, after winning 2-1 at Huddersfield in round two.

Everton have spent more seasons than any other club in the top flight of English football – 119 out of 123.

They are also the second-longest serving top flight club, having completed 68 seasons since winning promotion in 1954/55, behind Arsenal (96).

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.

Everton were a founder member of the Football League in 1888 and been crowned champions nine times, the last occasion in 1986/87, and been runners-up seven times.

They have also won the FA Cup five times, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup once.


Rafael Benitez took over in the summer after the sudden departure of Carlo Ancelotti.

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He has enjoyed a distinguished managerial career so far at some of Europe’s top clubs, winning 13 major trophies, with the most well-known being Liverpool’s famous Champions League final win in 2005 – when they came back from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties.

Benitez’s Liverpool were runners-up in the final two years later, while he also won the FA Cup and finished second in the Premier League during his time at Anfield.

He has also managed Chelsea – leading them to the Europa League title in 2013 – and has had spells in charge of Valencia, Inter Milan, Napoli and Real Madrid.

His last Premier League job before moving to Goodison Park was with Newcastle – with the first of his three full seasons in the north-east being in the Championship. He left the Magpies in the summer of 2019 and then coached Chinese side Dalian Professional before leaving them at the start of this year.

He is only the second man to manage both Liverpool and Everton.


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Brentford and Everton have not met in the league for nearly 70 years – with our last meeting in February 1954 – so the only previous match most people will remember is the Carling Cup third round tie from September 2010.

Seamus Coleman gave the Toffees an early lead with his first goal for the club, but Gary Alexander headed us level from Myles Weston’s cross just before the break.

Early in the second half, the League One Bees were awarded a penalty when Weston was fouled by Coleman, but Charlie MacDonald had his effort saved by Jan Mucha.

The match went to extra-time but the sides could not be separated so it went to penalties at the Ealing Road end of Griffin Park.

And 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 with a 4-3 shootout win.

Brentford: Lee, Woodman, Balkestein, Spillane, Osborne, O’Connor (Bean 96), Weston, Adams (Saunders 68), Diagouraga, MacDonald, Alexander (Forster 73). Subs not used: Royce, Legge, Wood, Cort.

Everton: Mucha, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Neville, Coleman, Bilyaletdinov (Arteta 68), Osman, Fellaini, Gueye (Pienaar 67), Yakubu (Beckford 98). Subs not used: Howard, Mustafi, Barkley, Silva.

In the league, our record against each other is even, with seven wins apiece and two draws, both at Griffin Park. Each side has done the double once, us in the first year we met – 1935/36 – and the Toffees in 1952/53.

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


BBC Radio Merseyside Sport’s Chris Coughlin looks at Everton’s start to the season, how Rafael Benitez has settled into his job, and gives his thoughts on the Bees’ campaign so far.

Q – What has gone wrong for Everton in recent weeks after such a good start to the season?

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A – The thing that’s gone wrong for the Blues is injuries. Any side would suffer if their first-choice striker, central midfielder and centre-back were all injured, and you can add first-choice winger to that list too with Demarai Gray’s recent injury. Dominic Calvert-Lewin in particular has been a huge loss, as the Blues have been without a fully fit number nine for the best part of three months.

Admittedly, however, those injuries have been combined with poor defending from the Blues recently. To concede four goals in the final 15 minutes against Watford while 2-1 up was unacceptable, and the first half against Wolves was particularly poor from Benitez’s men who have found themselves to be vulnerable from set-pieces this term.

There have been promising displays from youngster Anthony Gordon and the experienced Fabian Delph, who’s found himself back in the starting line-up recently but it’s a tough winter schedule for the Blues with Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all to come after an already difficult test at Brentford.

Q – How has Rafael Benitez settled into the club, and are fans still split over his appointment?

A – It was always going to be a controversial appointment given Benitez’s history at Liverpool in the 2000s but, overall, Evertonians welcomed the Spaniard and he was greeted with warm applause on the opening day against Southampton. A good start won many over as well, but there’s undoubtedly been discontent with recent results and performances.

There was particular frustration with his substitutions against Watford as Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray were both replaced while the Blues were winning the game prior to Watford’s late comeback. There is of course sympathy when it comes to the Blues’ busy treatment room, but the displays in recent weeks simply haven’t been good enough.

Q – What transfer activity took place over the summer and is a lot more expected in January?

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A – Due to financial fair play restrictions, the Blues had to be savvy with their summer business. Four signings were brought in for a combined total of £1.7m, which was spent on Gray, with Asmir Begovic, Andros Townsend and Salomon Rondon all arriving on free transfers. There was also interest in Porto’s Colombian winger Luiz Diaz but that move failed to materialise.

The main outgoing was playmaker James Rodriguez who, whilst undoubtedly talented as he proved in flashes at Goodison Park, didn’t leave on the best of terms with comments made on social media, including that he wasn’t aware of who the Blues were playing the following weekend. The move also went some way to opening up funds, with Rodriguez being one of the highest-paid players at the club. As for January, there is no debating that Everton need bodies through the door but who they can get with the financial limitations is yet to be seen.

Q – What is the latest on the Toffees’ planned move away from Goodison Park into a new stadium?

A – It’s all looking good for the Blues in terms of their proposed move to Bramley Moore Dock in 2024. The first above-groundwork has been done on the stadium earlier in November and the ground will provide a stunning new addition to Liverpool’s already iconic waterfront. The move has been welcomed by Blues fans, although it will be an emotional end for their final match at Goodison.

Q – Who are the key men to watch out for in the Everton side?

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A – Unfortunately for the Blues, some of their main stars won’t be available for the trip to West London. Dominic Calvert-Lewin hasn’t played since August with persistent injuries, and with him missing, arguably the worst omission is Richarlison, who is suspended after picking up five yellow cards in just eight games this season, a statistic that will only cause more frustration for Evertonians and rightly so.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Demarai Gray also both looked certain to miss the game a few days ago because of injury, but at his press conference on Thursday, Rafael Benitez said that both could yet be fit for Sunday’s game, which would be a major boost for the Blues.

Even with the absentees, there is of course still quality on show for the Blues. French international Lucas Digne hasn’t hit his high standards of previous campaigns yet but his delivery from set-pieces can be exceptional, while Andros Townsend has made a promising start to life on Merseyside after arriving from Crystal Palace. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is also rightly England’s number one, while defender Ben Godfrey can play effectively in several positions across the backline.

Q – From what you have seen on TV, what have you made of Brentford’s start to the season?

A – Firstly, I’d like to say how much I admire the way Brentford are run from top to bottom. Others may have different views on the “Moneyball” strategy but, in an era where wealthy multi-billionaire owners are coming into the game, Brentford have found an alternative way to thrive. The play-off defeat to Fulham in 2020 will of course have been heart-breaking, but I’m sure Bees fans are more than happy to be able to attend games in their first Premier League season as opposed to watching the entire campaign behind closed doors. The opening night against Arsenal is testament to that.

As for the season for Brentford so far, I was extremely impressed with their start and feel they took some teams by surprise with their style of play. The 3-3 draw against Liverpool was a breathless encounter and the win at West Ham has become even more impressive given the Hammers’ start to the season. I think, however, the injuries to key defensive assets has slowed Brentford’s progress. Losing David Raya for several months as well as Kristoffer Ajer was always going to give Thomas Frank problems, as has been proved with the increased number of goals conceded recently.

Going forward, however, there are still plenty of threats for Everton to be wary of. Ivan Toney will cause any centre-back problems, and I’m a big fan of Bryan Mbeumo as well. I’m delighted to see former Liverpool man Sergi Canos starring in the side and Rico Henry has continued his impressive Championship form into this campaign too. Whilst the Bees are going through a sticky spell, I think they have more than enough to stay up.

Q – What memories do you have of the 2010 Carling Cup tie between the sides?

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A – I remember this game being an encapsulation of the frustration Evertonians have felt for some time. David Moyes sent out a strong side that day with the aim of going far in the competition and potentially ending the Blues’ trophy drought which stretches back to 1995.

It all looked good when now club captain Seamus Coleman opened the scoring after six minutes, but Brentford fought back with the passion and determination that we see in the club today. That being said, for Everton to lose on penalties against a League One side – having to survive a penalty in normal time itself – was a very tough pill to swallow for the Blues fans.

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

A – Injuries will force Benitez’s hand in some decisions but I expect the Blues to stick to their 4-2-3-1 that we’ve seen in recent matches. Salomon Rondon is likely to come in for Richarlison up front while it’s expected that Alex Iwobi will come into the side for Demarai Gray, if he fails to make it.

Expected Everton XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Delph, Allan, Townsend, Gordon, Iwobi, Rondon.


If you can’t get to the Brentford Community Stadium for Sunday’s sold-out 2.00pm kick-off, there are various ways of following the game.

TV – The game is being shown live on Sky Sports, our first appearance on the Super Sunday show, with coverage starting at 1.00.

Radio – There will be reports on BBC Radio London Digital, as well as BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSport.

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 Saturday, Mark Burridge, Karleigh Osborne and Jonathan Douglas are your commentators.




For Everton 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

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

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.