Leicester have had a mixed start to the season and will start Sunday’s game one point behind the Bees.
After beating Manchester City 1-0 in the Community Shield and then Wolves by the same score on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, they then lost three of their next four league matches.
They went down 4-1 at West Ham, 1-0 to Manchester City and 2-1 at Brighton, with only a 2-1 win at Norwich stemming the tide.
Two 2-2 draws followed – with Burnley and at Crystal Palace – before last Saturday’s superb 4-2 win over Manchester United.
Goals certainly haven’t been in short supply in Foxes’ matches so far this season, as they followed that victory with a thrilling 4-3 away win over Spartak Moscow in the Europa League on Wednesday, coming back from 2-0 down thanks to four goals from summer signing Patson Daka.
It was their first win in the competition’s group stage this season, after drawing 2-2 with Napoli and losing 1-0 at Legia Warsaw.
Like us, they are in Carabao Cup action next Wednesda as a 2-0 win at Millwall in round three set them up with a fourth round home tie against Brighton.
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.
Last season’s highlight though was winning 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 has been in charge of Leicester since the end of February 2019.
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
Brentford and Leicester have not met many times over the years and in only four seasons since the mid-1950s – including each of the last two.
The first occasion was 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 both the past two years.
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 last 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.
This is only the 11th season in which we have been in the same division as each other.
Each side has won six times and there have been eight draws, but we have failed to beat Leicester in any of our last four league meetings.
The most recent matches came in Division One (now the Championship) in the 1992/93 season.
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 3-2 away – but we have failed to beat them in any of our eight meetings in all competitions since then.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brentford have never played at the King Power Stadium, which Leicester moved into in 2002, with our first visit there due for mid-March.
BBC Radio Leicester’s Leicester City commentator Owynn Atkin looks at the Foxes’ start to the season, how Jamie Vardy continues to score goals on a regular basis, and discusses the chances of City ever repeating their Premier League title triumph.
Q – How would you assess Leicester’s start to the season?
A – Leicester’s start to the season has not been the one that they’ll have been wanting, or expecting. A combination of defensive injury woes, and players out of form gave the Foxes just three wins from seven in all competitions before the international break.
The absence of both Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana has hit the club a little harder than they, or the fans might have been expecting. Without Evans, the backline appears to fall apart in organisation and aggression. Fofana offers the pace and flair needed by central defenders in the Premier League – and it’s left City a little exposed at the back.
However, Evans looks to be back – and has led City really well to two brilliant wins against Manchester United and Spartak Moscow, and you have to wonder whether that will be the kickstart Leicester need for their season.
Q – What sort of impact does playing in Europe have on Premier League performances?
A – The first two games in the Premier League after Europa League fixtures saw a 2-2 draw with Palace and a 2-1 defeat away to Brighton. So, it might be fair to assume that the fixture congestion might not be doing the Foxes any favours.
However, they now have a squad that is capable of rotation to almost a whole new 11 without losing too much quality – which was the main point of the summer transfer window. The main problem has been players in key areas not playing to their full potential – and not performing in the way they are now expected to after that incredible FA Cup-winning season last campaign.
Q – What transfer business did the Foxes do over the summer?
A – The Foxes were petty busy in the summer transfer window. They’ve strengthened the entire squad in many different areas thanks to the acquisitions of Patson Daka, Bouba Soumare, Jannik Vestergaard, Ryan Bertrand and Ademola Lookman (loan).
Patson Daka, as we saw this week, is really starting to show his quality. His quadruple against Spartak Moscow was nothing short of incredible. He really looks like he might be the Jamie Vardy.2 that the club have been searching for ever since they won the Premier League.
We’ve also seen impressive performances recently from Bouba Soumare. Costing around £22m from Lille, he started life at King Power Stadium a little slowly – however, he has shown his excellent athletic ability, in-game knowledge, and creativity in a double pivot with Youri Tielemans over the last two games.
Q – Jamie Vardy keeps up a consistent scoring rate season after season – what is the secret to his success?
A – Who knows!
He’s like Benjamin Button, and continues to show that pace, flair and lethal finishing ability that has made him one of the greatest strikers to grace the Premier League. I am astounded at how he continues to operate at such a high level. One huge positive for the club is the emergence of Patson Daka, which now means Vardy will now rarely play midweek, keeping him fresh for week-in-week-out Premier League action.
Q – Leicester’s title win in 2016 delighted the neutrals – what are the chances of a repeat in the future?
A – Since Leicester City won the Premier League, we’ve seen the “top four” panic I think. The spending of these clubs is at an astronomical level, at which clubs like Leicester and Brentford just cannot compete. They’re protecting the brand of the Premier League and the top four at all costs. A club like Leicester are not good for business.
With that, I see the chances of Leicester or any club of a similar size winning the Premier League getting slimmer by the day. It was a once in a lifetime, 5000-1 achievement. I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything remotely similar in the Premier League for a long, long time.
Q – Who else should Bees fans watch out for in the City side?
A – Kelechi Iheanacho is the man for Leicester City at the moment. His inclusion in the side is a must, and he is now one of the first names on the teamsheet for Brendan Rodgers. He was last season’s top goalscorer, and Leicester just seem to play better when he is in the side.
The Foxes have adopted a 3-5-2 formation over the last two games, which has allowed Iheanacho to join Vardy up front. He has become that connecting, second striker, between the midfield and the attack. He’s now a key cog in the way that Leicester operate, and his form and finishing ability is quite something.
Q – What memories do you have of the FA Cup games between the teams over the past two seasons?
A – Good wins for Leicester City! Clearly last season it was en route to the club’s first-ever FA Cup triumph, and they’ll be days that’ll live long in the memory for Leicester fans as the final piece of the club’s “trophy jigsaw” fell into place.
But, one memory that sticks out is Dennis Praet’s ball in the FA Cup game at Griffin Park in the build-up to Kelechi Iheanacho’s first goal in that game. I don’t know if he meant to play it, just like that, but what a ball it was.
Q – What are you looking forward to about your first trip to the Brentford Community Stadium?
A – I’m most looking forward to the atmosphere. It’s such an exciting time at both clubs, and I have a feeling it’s going to be a raucous afternoon. From the games I’ve seen on the TV, the atmosphere is quite something and I’m really looking forward to hearing it with my own ears. Oh… and for Leicester to get their first league win there!
Q – Finally can you give me a probable Leicester line-up and formation please?
A – 3-5-2
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
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.
Radio – There will be updates on BBC Radio London from Billy Reeves.
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 Sunday, Mark Burridge, Marcus Bean and Charlie MacDonald are your commentators.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Leicester 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 👍🏾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.