Brentford v Nottingham Forest
Saturday March 20, 12:30
Brentford drop vital points
Brentford boss Thomas Frank admitted counterpart Wayne Rooney's triple half-time substitution inspired the second-half recovery by Derby, who came back from two down to draw 2-2 against at Pride Park on Tuesday. The Bees were in complete control at the break after Ivan Toney scored with a penalty and Sergi Canos doubled the lead.
Frank said, "Definitely a game of two halves. I thought we were absolutely excellent first half, maybe one of the best we've played so far in the season, totally in control on and off the ball and could have been up by more than two." The Brentford coach then bemoaned his team's lack of ball retention, whilst also pointing to unforced errors and complacency.
The returning Pontus Jansson was paired with Brentford's other experienced centre-half Winston Reid on Tuesday, with Ethan Pinnock dropping to the bench. Frank could look to make further alterations to his side for Saturday's showdown with Samuel Ghoddos and Tariq Fosu-Henry both pushing for recalls to the starting XI.
Forest outclassed by league leaders
Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton confessed the Reds paid the price for not "getting close enough" to Norwich as the Canaries took another step towards the Championship title on Wednesday night. Daniel Farke's side secured an impressive 2-0 victory at the City Ground and effectively killed the game off inside the opening 15 minutes.
Two early strikes put the table-toppers in complete control. Forest did have a glorious chance to pull a goal back through Ryan Yates, who missed a free header, while Lewis Grabban wasted an opportunity in the second half. But in truth the gulf in quality between the sides was significant and Hughton felt his side struggled to disrupt Norwich's rhythm.
Hughton admitted, "We didn't get it right with our intensity, especially in the first 20-25 minutes of the game. We never got close to them in the first half. It was a difficult evening for us. Our performance in the second half was better, but over 90 minutes it shows where they are and where we are." Goalkeeper Brice Samba is again expected to miss out here.
Brentford will be looking to achieve their first league double over Nottingham Forest since 2016-17 after running out convincing 3-1 winners when the two teams crossed swords at the City Ground in December. The Bees were beaten by the Reds at Griffin Park last season but Forest have never won back-to-back away league games against Brentford.
Brentford 1.748/11 have largely produced an exceptional run of results and performances since October's international break to catapult themselves into automatic promotion contention (W18-D9-L5). However, Thomas Frank's team have endured a slight wobble, including Tuesday night's hiccup, with the Bees boasting just a W3-D1-L4 return over their last eight.
Nottingham Forest 5.609/2 had proven tricky operators for the most part under Chris Hughton's watch. Guided to safer waters, the Tricky Trees have since regressed with injuries also contributing to a downturn of W2-D3-L4 since early February. The Reds have also endured a rotten record when taking on the elite, posting W1-D7-L15 against the top-14.
Only seven of Forest's 33 Championship contests under Chris Hughton have eclipsed the Over 2.5 Goals 2.206/5 barrier, with six of the Reds' most recent nine outings producing no more than a solitary strike. A massive 15/18 (83%) of the Tricky Trees' road trips have also featured fewer than three goals with seven rewarding Under 1.5 Goals backers.
Alarmingly, the Reds have failed to even score in 14 of those aforementioned 23 tussles with teams inside the Championship top-14 and so Saturday looks a tough task for Chris Hughton's troops. Brentford are an appealing price at 1.748/11 but we can bolster the odds to 2.09 by chucking in Under 3.5 Goals on the Same Game Multi, a worthwhile boost.