Fulham v Brentford
Friday March 13, 19:45
Fulham drop points at Ashton Gate
Tom Cairney's late goal rescued a point for Fulham at Ashton Gate in last weekend's 1-1 draw at promotion-chasing rivals Bristol City. The Cottagers were unable to take their earlier chances and were punished when they failed to clear a 71st-minute corner. However, a trademark Cairney strike from 25 yards hauled the Whites level with six minutes to play.
Bobby Decordova-Reid could have had a hat-trick against his former club, while Aleksandar Mitrovic and Harry Arter also went close for Fulham before Bristol City broke the deadlock. The visitors battled on after falling behind and were rewarded when Cairney found the bottom corner in fine style. The Whites also had a late penalty claim turned down.
Aboubakar Kamara was rewarded for a series of fine appearances off the bench with a start and impressed again in place of Anthony Knockaert. Elsewhere, Dennis Odoi performed with aplomb at left-back with Joe Bryan unavailable through injury and post-match head coach Scott Parker remarked on how pleased he was with his team's resilient efforts.
Brentford demolish Wednesday
Brentford boss Thomas Frank described his side as "scary" after they thrashed Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 in their latest Championship outing. Goals from Josh Dasilva, Emiliano Marcondes and Bryan Mbeumo put the buzzing Bees 3-0 up at the end of an opening period at Griffin Park with the hosts enjoying a monstrous 80% share of first-half possession.
Brentford were equally stunning after the interval, sealing a first league success since beating Middlesbrough in early February through Dasilva's second strike and Tariqe Fosu's late effort. Afterwards, though, it was the Bees' defenders who attracted special praise from Frank as he piled the praise on his five-star performers in his post-match press conference.
Frank said: "The big headline was the desire to defend. I know that sounds crazy when we won 5-0, but we know that we try to play attractive, offensive football and we try to dominate the matches. When we got on top of the game and created chances we were scary. But, we conceded too many goals in February, so today was a big, big thing."
Bees favourites at Craven Cottage
Fulham have rarely enjoyed recent West London derby dates with Brentford since the duo established themselves in the second-tier. The neighbours have crossed swords nine times in league action since 2014/15 with the Cottagers claiming a solitary success against the Bees (W1-D3-L5). The Whites are winless here against Brentford since 1990 (W0-D5-L4).
Fulham 2.809/5 are six points shy of the automatic promotion places with Scott Parker's side's stutters on their travels largely to blame. In contrast, the Cottagers have picked up the most home points in the Championship thus far (W12-D2-L5), including returning W6-D1-L2 when welcoming fellow top-half teams. Therefore, it's a surprise to see the Whites outsiders here.
Brentford 2.727/4 remain one of the division's data darlings with only Leeds bettering the Bees' emphatic figures for Expected Goals (xG), xG from open play and shots in the box. However, Thomas Frank's troops have had their own issues on the road, posting W2-D2-L5 at top-half rivals and winning twice on their travels since November's international break.
Four of the last five meetings between Fulham and Brentford have featured Under 2.5 Goals (1.80) and it could be worth following a similar theme on Friday night. The visitors are undoubtedly stronger in defensive areas this season with Thomas Frank often setting his side up in a more conservative manner when travelling to top-half rivals.
The Bees have actually fired blanks in five of their eight trips to the top-10 with six of those contests copping for Under 2.5 Goals backers. Fulham's fixtures have produced more goalmouth action at Craven Cottage, however, the Whites have only crossed the Over 3.5 Goals barrier on four occasions this term and that's a barometer I'm keen to build upon.
Taking Fulham Double Chance and Under 3.5 Goals via Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market returns a 1.95 shot and that's too good to turn down. Here, we'll have the 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 or 2-1 home victories, as well as the 0-0 and 1-1 draws onside to support.