Leicester are having a terrible season and arrive at New Griffin Park on Saturday level on points with third-bottom Bournemouth.
Their form has been up and down, with runs of wins followed by runs of defeats and they have drawn fewer games than anyone else – three – the same as Arsenal and Spurs.
The Foxes’ problems have come at the back. They have scored a decent number of goals – 37 – the highest number outside the top nine in the table – but have conceded 46, with only Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth letting in more.
Leicester’s current Premier League run is four straight defeats – only scoring one goal in the process – after two back-to-back victories in which they scored four times in each game.
Their away record is better than their home record this season. They have the second worst home points tally in the division, with three wins, three draws and seven defeats at the King Power Stadium. On the road they have won four and lost nine, but are still to draw.
The Foxes’ recent history has been nothing sort of remarkable. As recently as 2008/09 they were in League One, and then after five seasons in the Championship they returned to the Premier League after a 10-year absence.
After finishing 14th in their first season back, they defied odds of 5000/1 to be crowned champions 12 months later.
They followed that by finishing 12th and then ninth twice in a row, before coming fifth for two successive seasons to qualify for the Europa League each time, and then eighth last year.
In 2020/21, they won the FA Cup for the first time in their history, after losing in four previous finals, by beating Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Brendan Rodgers is the seventh longest-serving manager in the country, and fourth longest-serving in the Premier League, having taken over at Leicester in February 2019.
In the top flight only Jurgen Klopp (October 2015), Pep Guardiola (July 2016) and our own Thomas Frank (October 2018) were appointed before him.
In his previous Premier League job, he took Liverpool to within a whisker of the title in 2013/14. He had nearly three-and-a-half years in charge at Anfield before being sacked and after seven months out of the game, he took over at Celtic.
Rodgers led the Bhoys to two successive Scottish trebles and was on course for another when he left to join Leicester.
He started his managerial career at Watford and kept them in the Championship in 2009, before moving to Reading – but he was only there for six months before moving to Swansea.
In two years at the Liberty Stadium, Rodgers led the Swans into the Premier League via the play-offs – beating his old club Reading in the final – and then led them to a comfortable 11th-place finish in the club’s first season back in the top flight.
His success attracted the attention of Liverpool and he moved to Anfield in the summer as successor to Kenny Dalglish.
Rodgers’ playing career ended at the age of only 20 because of a knee injury.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Leicester have become a bit of a bogey side for Brentford. We haven’t beaten them in our last 11 league and cup meetings going back to 1953.
That of course includes our three Premier League matches.
Last season they were one of only four sides to do the double over us, the others being Brighton, Manchester City and Manchester United.
They won 2-1 at the then-Brentford Community Stadium on a Sunday in October.
Youri Tielemans put them ahead with an early screamer, but Zanka equalised with a header from a corner on the hour mark with his first goal for the club. However, almost inevitably, it was James Maddison who tapped home the winner in the 74th minute.
The worst thing about the match, however, was the injury sustained by David Raya in a collision with Ayoze Perez, that kept our keeper out of action until February.
Two more brilliant goals put paid to us in the return last March. A piledriver from Timothy Castagne and a 25-yard free-kick from James Maddison put Leicester in control by the 33rd minute. Yoane Wissa pulled one back from 20 yards late on, but the Foxes saw out their second 2-1 victory over us of the season.
We finally took a point off them in an entertaining 2-2 draw on the opening weekend of this season.
We were 2-0 down straight after half-time to goals from Timothy Castagne, again, and Kieran Dewsbury-Hall. But some tactical changes and substitutions from Thomas Frank brought us back into the game and goals from Ivan Toney and then Josh Dasilva, his first since recovering from his long injury lay-off, earned us a well-deserved point.
Last season was the first time we had met in the league since 1992/93 when we were both in Division One (now the Championship).
The newly-promoted Bees held Leicester 0-0 in mid-September, with only the crossbar denying us all three points when Detsi Kruszynski’s fierce shot crashed against it and flew away to safety.
The return in January was the start of a miserable run of results that culminated in relegation on the last day of the season.
Gary Blissett was on target for us, but two goals from Steve Thompson and another from Steve Walsh gave City a 3-1 win.
Before that, we had last met at the same level in the 1953/54 season, with the Foxes being our last second tier opponents for 38 years.
They did the double over us, winning 6-0 at Filbert Street and 3-1 at Griffin Park in the final match of the campaign in which we were relegated.
We at least did the double the previous season – winning 4-2 at home and then, just over 70 years to this Saturday, on 14 March 1953, triumphing 3-2 away, our last win over them.
There have been plenty of recent cup meetings – with the first of them in the second round of the Milk Cup in 1984/85.
In the first leg at Filbert Street, Rowan Alexander gave us an early lead against the top-flight Foxes, but despite a second goal from Chris Kamara, Leicester ran out 4-2 winners. They then wrapped up a 6-2 aggregate victory with a 2-0 second leg win at Griffin Park.
We have also met in the FA Cup fourth round in two of the past three seasons.
In January 2020, the tie was decided by an early goal from Kelechi Iheanacho.
We had our moments, with Emiliano Marcondes hitting the post, but our final cup tie at Griffin Park ended in defeat.
Then the following season, we were paired again at the same stage, this time in our new home.
Despite Sunday morning snow, the match went ahead with Mads Bech Sorensen giving us an early lead.
But Cengiz Under equalised 49 seconds into the second half and Youri Tielemans put City ahead with a penalty five minutes later, after he had been fouled, before James Maddison sealed a 3-1 win in the 71st minute, as they took another step towards lifting the trophy.
BBC Radio Leicester’s Leicester City commentator Owynn Atkin looks at why the Foxes have struggled this season, their chances of staying up and whether or not they can hold on to James Maddison this summer.
Q – What has gone wrong at Leicester this season?
A – This season has been a little bit of a landslide of different problems, that culminated in this kind of season for Leicester.
Way back in the summer, the Foxes had problems in the transfer market, and with some players being told they were going to be moved on to only still be at the football club it didn’t start things particularly well. Add into that a lack of funds due to a sustainable model being adopted by the club, and the sale of their biggest financial asset in Wesley Fofana, which only added to the clubs woes.
Then the terrible start to the season saw them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, before the World Cup put a halt on a mini-resurgence.
Since the return of football after Qatar though, they’ve fallen back into the old ways and continue to struggle. They appear to lack heart, desire, quality. You need all three of those to have a chance at surviving in the Premier League.
Q – What do they do need to do to arrest the slide down the table?
A – That’s the million dollar question! How do they stop this terrible form? They’ve tried different formations, different styles, different players.
History tells us that if they can get one win from somewhere, anywhere, and that could begin a resurgence. The “objective is clear” though according to Brendan Rodgers. Get enough points to stay up, and limp through until the end of the season.
Q – What is the general feeling around the club and city regarding their chances of pulling away from danger?
A – The feeling around the club right now is not a good one. The best word to describe it is toxic. More and more fans are beginning to turn on Brendan Rodgers, and some have even accepted relegation to the Championship.
That being said, there is still a long way to go this season, with 12 games to go. But, even if City were able to win six, seven or eight of those games, the wolves would still be at Brendan’s door.
Q – What transfer business did Leicester do in January and has it made any difference to performances?
A – In January, Leicester returned to a tried and tested method of recruiting young players full of potential. It’s a method that allowed them to become the blueprint of a team outside the top six, and after failed investment they’ve returned to it.
In January they brought in Victor Kristiansen (a young left-back from Copenhagen), Harry Souttar (an impressively tall defender, who impressed at the World Cup from Stoke) & the club’s first Brazilian player, Tetê (on-loan from Shakhtar).
They have added a much needed balance to the squad and are all good players. However, fans are a little disappointed with Tetê who had a goalscoring, electric debut – but has flattered to deceive since.
Q – How likely is it that they will lose James Maddison in the summer?
A – Very. Leicester City have eight players out of contract in the summer, with most of them expected to leave the club for nothing. So, Leicester have a big rebuild on their hands. To do that, they need to sell a big asset, and the only one that remains is James Maddison. Only he could command a figure anywhere north of £50m, so it is likely the Foxes could cash in on their prized asset in order to rebuild other areas of a depleted squad.
Q – The Foxes have become a bogey side for Brentford – what do you remember of previous meetings?
A – I remember lots of wins! And I hope to see another on Saturday.
But what I do remember is being impressed with the way that Brentford have handled themselves in the Premier League. They play a distinct brand of football that is both organised yet fluid, in a number of different formations.
Hopefully though, Leicester are able to continue their good run of form against the Bees. Sorry!
Q – Finally can you give me a possible Leicester formation and line-up for Saturday’s game please?
A – WIth Wout Faes’ red-card vs Chelsea last week, it’s likely Leicester will return to a 4-3-3 formation.
Ricardo Amartey Souttar Castagne
Tetê Iheanacho Barnes
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 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 Jonathan Douglas.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Leicester 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.