Fulham have had a solid start to life back in the Championship following relegation from the Premier League in May.
They have gone on runs of wins – but also winless runs – and arrive for their final game at Griffin Park, on Saturday, third in the table but 11 points behind leading duo Leeds and West Brom.
Over the course of the campaign they have won four in a row, three in a row and two in a row, but also had one winless sequence of four matches and have lost both their games this week.
They have been slightly stronger at home with six wins and two draws from 11 league matches, while away they have won four, drawn three and lost three of 10 games.
Fulham are in their fifth season in the Championship in six years, after their 13-year spell in the Premier League ended in 2014.
They mostly finished in the bottom half of the table during their top flight stay, although they did have four seasons when they came between seventh and ninth and in 2010 reached the Europa League final, where they lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid after extra-time.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Scott Parker was appointed permanent manager in the summer, following a spell as caretaker boss following the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February.
Parker had been the club’s first-team coach since 2018 after moving from Spurs, where he had coached their under-18 squad following his retirement as a player a year earlier.
As a midfielder, Parker won 18 full caps for England, and nine at under-21 level. He started all four matches in the Euro 2012 finals.
In his playing career, he had long spells with Charlton, West Ham and Fulham and also played for Norwich (on loan), Chelsea, Newcastle and Spurs.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Brentford have had the upper hand in the four seasons in which the sides have met in the Championship.
We won both the 2014/15 matches – 2-1 at home (Jota in the last minute) and 4-1 at the Cottage (in front of 6,000 travelling Bees), although we did lose a second round Capital One Cup tie 1-0 at Griffin Park.
We drew 2-2 at Fulham just before Christmas the following season, before winning the return 3-0 at the end of the campaign.
In 2016/17, the Cottagers grabbed their only league win so far in this series in a televised GP enounter, as a goal in each half from Sone Aluko and Tom Cairney, in second half stoppage time, gave the Cottagers a 2-0 win.
A first half penalty save by Daniel Bentley from Tom Cairney, and a stop from the follow-up, ensured the Bees drew 1-1 at Fulham at the end of April. Cairney gave them an early lead but Nico Yennaris equalised after a one-two with Konstantin Kerschbaumer.
We last met in 2017/18 and despite Neeskens Kebano putting Fulham ahead midway through the first half at GP, Sergi Canos quickly equalised and then Romaine Sawyers put us ahead shortly after half-time. Denis Odoi was then sent off before Ollie Watkins’ third sealed a 3-1 win.
Aleksander Mitrovic put Fulham ahead in the 70th minute of the late-season return, but Neal Maupay’s last-gasp equaliser earned us a point in a 1-1 draw.
BBC London reporter and commentator Emma Jones tells us how Fulham’s season has gone so far, analyses the job Scott Parker has done since taking charge and what it’s like watching matches at a three-sided Craven Cottage.
Q – How would you assess Fulham’s season so far – better than expected, worse than expected, or as expected?
A – I think a lot of people were expecting Fulham to hit the ground running – and not let up. So to lose against Barnsley on the first day of the season was something of a wake-up call. Being in the play-off places is the least that is expected.
Q – How good a job has Scott Parker done since taking over at the club last season?
A – It is still early days – but he seems like a good fit for Fulham. He knows the club and its expectations – and is well aware of what success or failure means to the fans too. He likes his team to keep the ball – or win it back quickly if they lose it – which you can see from some impressive possession statistics already this season.
Q – What transfer business – in and out – did Fulham do over the summer?
A – Scott Parker has pretty much gone back to basics from the team relegated from the Premier League, and reverted quite closely to the squad promoted the season before – with a few loan additions from Premier League teams. The club’s best business though has been keeping Mitrovic.
Q – What’s it like watching matches at Craven Cottage this season in a three-sided ground and is it affecting the matches?
A – The Riverside Stand has gradually disappeared during the early home games this season. And last time I was there it was there at the end of November it was just some rubble and a few cranes. It does mean that the ground it exposed directly to the bitter winds that can whip off the Thames, so it can feel even colder than it tends to at this time of year! In terms of atmosphere, with the ground missing one big stand, I am sure it will feel different.
Q – What style of football should Brentford fans expect to see from Fulham?
A – Patient build-up play, lots of possession, crosses from the full backs, plus players pushing through central midfield and Mitrovic being a challenge to defend in the 18 yard box
Q – Which players should we watch out for?
A – Mitrovic. Do you need to ask why?!
Q – Finally, can you give me a possible Fulham starting line-up and formation?
A – Scott has been using Rodak in goal recently – a back four of LB – Joe Bryan, CD – Alfie Mawson and Tim Ream – RB – Cyrus Christie or Josh Onomah Midfield = Johansen, Cairney, Harrison Reed ( if he is back from injury ) Up front – Kamara and Cavaleiro on the wings – Mitrovic as CF
BEESOTTED SCORE PREDICTIONS
Some of the Beesotted crew have given me their score predictions for Saturday’s game.
Brentford 3-2 Fulham. It’ll be a belter of a game. Two expansive, creative sides with in-form strikers and attacking players with mouthwatering skill and flair. It will be close, but I think our defensive rigidity will hold out in the end. Bees up. Fulham down. It will be the game of the season. Robin Hood
3-1 Bees. No stats, rhyme or reason, starting to feel tis be the season. XG Dave
3-1 Brentford. A pulsating encounter by two good footballing teams is won with the Bees scoring two late goals after going into HT 1-1. Watkins x2 and Mbeumo. Cham de Silva
Rampant bees put the freefalling cottagers to the sword with another convincing 2-0 home display. Bees to play high tempo spurred on by a raucous Griffin Park crowd. Damien Flenley
1-1 Dominant Bees suffer yet another frustrating post-win slump. Lou Boyd
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Fulham fans coming to Griffin Park for the final time, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be). As you are probably well aware, Brentford is well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and the newly-opened and renamed The Brook pub – which has jumped on the craft beer bandwagon – are the other options.
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 1 min walk from each other …. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. 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 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) by the away turnstiles. 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. Whereas The Ealing Park Tavern (back in the day, the infamous Penny Flyer) is fairly busy now that they seem to have lifted their “no football fan” policy.
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. And if you are super-adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit One Over the Ait (Kew Bridge Road) – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge, and across from the site of the Bees’ new stadium at Lionel Road. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
There is also The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel. If you sit in the garden, you can see Brentford’s new stadium towering over you. There are a load more pubs in the river in Kew if that takes your fancy – just take a walk down Strand On The Green. A quick Google search and you’ll find them all.
There are many, many more too if you have a look around. Parking near the stadium is a no-no but is pretty easy in the streets north of Griffin Park on the other side of the A4 Great West Rd via Ealing Road or Windmill Road. Make sure you look our for the parking signs which change from area to area.
Getting to Brentford from town – many fans get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) then take the Overground train to Brentford.
The reality is the tube is easier and quicker (and cheaper). It’s 35 minutes to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (even less from Paddington) on the Piccadilly Line and then 15 minutes walk to Griffin Park from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford
If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station (turn LEFT outside the station) to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops – 5 minutes).
If you get off at South Ealing, you can get the 65 from the bus stop across the road – right outside the station.
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.