Brentford have surrendered their position atop of the Championship but will hope to bounce back against Coventry on Saturday. Mark O'Haire sets the scene.
"The former Posh hitman has notched in 18 of his last 28 league appearances, averages a goal every 93 minutes and is getting on the end of opportunities equating to 0.62 xG per-match"
Coventry v Brentford
Saturday February 20, 12:30
Robins critical of Coventry's latest loss
Coventry manager Mark Robins admitted too many of his players had off days on Wednesday night as the Sky Blues were beaten 2-0 by league leaders Norwich at St Andrew's. The contest was arguably over by half-time as the hosts' slow start was punished by a dominant Canaries display with goals arriving via Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia.
In response, Callum O'Hare got in behind after the break but Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul raced off his line to deny the home side a route back into the encounter. And Robins pulled no punches post-match, suggesting he was disappointed by the mentality of some of his personnel, who he says need to show more fight to stay in the Championship. The 20th-placed Sky Blues are 2.8815/8 to go down.
Robins said: "The second half was good, the first half was awful. While I look at the whole thing, team selection and personnel, it goes out of the window if you are not strong and mentally tough enough to deal with certain situations. There were one or two who went under a little bit, and they need to come back from that."
Brentford beaten in derby date
Brentford's 21-game unbeaten run has come to an abrupt end as the Bees have surrendered top spot in the Championship following back-to-back defeats to Barnsley and near neighbours QPR. Thomas Frank's team were turned over 2-1 at Loftus Road in their most recent outing on Wednesday despite taking a first-half lead and appearing to be in control.
Indeed, Brentford were the better side until the final quarter against QPR and deservedly led at the break thanks to Ivan Toney's 24th league goal of the season. The striker almost added a second with a deflected free-kick that went just over, while Bees keeper David Raya was relatively untroubled before two goals in four second-half minutes turned the tables.
Head coach Frank refused to be downbeat post-match, preferring to look at the bigger picture by saying: "The important message to get out is that if anyone had told us at the beginning of the season that we'd be in this position, with 57 points, I think we would have said 'Yes, we'll take that'."
Meetings between Coventry and Brentford have been sparse over the past 60 years with the two teams crossing swords on five occasions, all of which have arrived since 2012/13. The Bees have certainly enjoyed the upper-hand mind, earning four triumphs from five unbeaten match-ups with the Sky Blues, including a 2-0 win in October's reverse clash.
Coventry 4.607/2 have claimed top honours on only seven occasions since promotion and the Sky Blues are enduring an inconsistent run, posting W2-D4-L6 since mid-December. Mark Robins' men have been turned over just four times at St Andrew's this term but have fallen short against the league's elite, returning W2-D5-L10 against sides in 14th and above.
Brentford 1.9310/11 made their traditionally slow start to the Championship season but the Bees' form since October's international break had been superb before suffering back-to-back losses (W15-D8-L1).
The visitors boast an W8-D4-L3 road record and have posted W10-D2-L2 when taking on teams in 14th and above, justifying their odds-on position here.
Coventry have struck twice or more just once in nine St Andrew's showdowns against sides outside of the bottom-nine as 52% of the Sky Blues' overall goals tally has come in games against the teams in the bottom-third of the division. The hosts have also tended to struggle defensively when taking on the league's elite, regularly shipping multiple goals.
That should encourage a Brentford side that rate as the Championship's best in terms of Expected Goals (xG) production and chance creation. With the Bees fair odds-on favourites to succeed, it may instead pay to take top goalscorer Ivan Toney as an Anytime Goalscorer option at 2.206/5 - a bigger price than the away success, or Over 2.5 Goals 1.9620/21.
The former Posh hitman has notched in 18 of his last 28 league appearances, averages a goal every 93 minutes and is getting on the end of opportunities equating to 0.62 xG per-match in the Championship. Toney is in the midst of a hot-streak with eight goals in his past six outings, including getting on the scoresheet in each of his last three away days.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 103.00 pts
Returned: 109.10 pts