Promotion-chasing pair Brentford and Bournemouth lock horns on Wednesday evening with Mark O'Haire sharing his verdict on the Championship encounter.
"The Bees have suffered a solitary league loss since October’s international break (W9-D7-L1) to move into touching distance of the automatic promotion places"
Brentford v Bournemouth
Wednesday December 30, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports
Brentford extend unbeaten streak
Brentford continued their superb recent run to make it 15 games unbeaten in all competitions, as Sergi Canos' hat-trick saw them come from behind to win 3-2 at Cardiff on Boxing Day. Will Vaulks put the hosts in front with a stunning lob from inside his own half but the Bees drew level when Canos produced a wonder strike of his own from 25 yards.
Canos put Brentford ahead with a fine run and composed finish before his lob gave Thomas Frank's team a third. The Welsh club pulled a goal back to set-up a grandstand finish but the West Londoners held on to consolidate their position in the Championship play-off positions having made seven changes from the side who beat Newcastle in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.
Brentford weren't at their best in the opening exchanges but the Bees had 16 attempts and seven on-target strikes across the contest with Frank saying, "We were okay in the first half but then they scored a spectacular goal. After that, we moved up to another level. I didn't think they had much in the second half apart from set-pieces."
Bournemouth enjoyed Christmas off
Bournemouth enjoyed a quiet Christmas with the Cherries' scheduled Championship clash with Millwall postponed after an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Lions' squad. It means the recently-relegated outfit haven't played since a goalless draw with Luton on the 19 December, a game that saw the Hatters come closest with Asmir Begovic in fine form.
Jason Tindall's team had the edge in possession and twice as many attempts as Luton but created few clear openings. The stalemate did represent Bournemouth's first successive clean sheet but Phillip Billing's first-half strike over the bar from inside the area was arguably the closest the Cherries came to breaking the deadlock at Kenilworth Road.
Speaking post-match, Tindall had said, "I think we might look back and think it's a good point because it was a difficult final game in a difficult block of fixtures. They've had some good results here, so for us to come here and not concede is a big plus, it's just a shame we couldn't find something in the final third."
Brentford and Bournemouth were regular opponents during the past few decades but are reacquainting themselves for the first time since 2015. The Bees were 3-1 winners when welcoming the Cherries in their last match-up and the capital club have enjoyed a W6-D4-L1 supremacy in this particular fixture going back to March 2000.
As well as reaching the EFL Cup semi-finals, Brentford 2.506/4 have embarked on unbeaten 14-game Championship run (W7-D7-L0) since late October. In fact, the Bees have suffered a solitary league loss since October's international break (W9-D7-L1) to move into touching distance of the automatic promotion places. The hosts have earned W4-D5-L1 on home soil.
Bournemouth 2.9215/8 have only been beaten twice since being demoted to the second-tier (W10-D8-L2), although Jason Tindall's troops have performed at their best on home soil, picking up 61% of their points tally as hosts. The visitors have earned top honours just three times in 10 away days (W3-D6-L1) but have kept three successive shutouts on the road.
Despite the plethora of attacking talent available in both camps, neither Brentford nor Bournemouth have been posting positive goal figures in the Over 2.5 Goals 2.1011/10 market as matches involving opponents at the upper-end of the Championship table have often fallen below the required line, suggesting this could be a tight and cagey contest.
The duo have also shared the spoils in a combined 16 of their collective 41 league fixtures in 2020/21 and so supporting a repeat alongside Under 2.5 Goals via the Same Game Multi could be worth exploring at 3.7511/4. This selection has provided profit on 14 (34%) occasions already, whilst the odds imply a repeat has just a 27% chance of landing on Wednesday.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 69.00 pts
Returned: 73.86 pts
P/L: +4.86 pts