Aston Villa v Brentford: Buzzing Bees to continue impressive start

Brentford manager Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank has guided Brentford to a good start
  • Aston Villa vs Brentford
  • Sat 28 Aug, 16:00

Andrew Atherley says the Premier League newcomers can pick up another positive result on Saturday...

"Brentford had eight shots against Arsenal and 10 against Palace (six on target overall), which is an early indication that their style of play is going to be effective in the Premier League."

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Back Brentford on draw no bet at 2.962/1

Reunion for Smith

Dean Smith left Brentford in seventh place in the Championship when he joined Aston Villa just under three years ago, but since then the fortunes of Smith and both clubs have taken a dramatic upswing.

Smith took Villa up from the Championship that same season and has consolidated with finishes of 17th and 11th in the Premier League, while Brentford have finally joined them there under Thomas Frank, who stepped up from assistant coach when Smith left.

The big change for Villa this summer has been the £100m departure of Jack Grealish, with the main incomings being Emi Buendia (£38m from Norwich City), Leon Bailey (£30m from Bayer Leverkusen), Danny Ings (£25m from Southampton) and Ashley Young (free from Inter).

After an opening-day 3-2 defeat at Watford, the new-look Villa were sparked into life by Ings's spectacular overhead kick that set them on the way to a 2-0 home win over Newcastle last weekend.

Aston Villa

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Aston Villa vs Brentford Saturday 28 August, 16:00

Full stats

Bailey has played only the last half-hour against Watford and is likely to be missing again, along with Bertrand Traore.

Ollie Watkins, who has not featured this season due to a thigh injury, could be fit to play some part against his former club.

Brentford well settled

Brentford, back in the top flight for the first time since 1947, have started well with an opening-night 2-0 home win over Arsenal followed by a goalless draw at Crystal Palace that was more entertaining than the scoreline indicated.

Frank's side looked well equipped for life in the Premier League and have lengthened to 4.03/1 in the relegation market, with five teams shorter than them.

The odds for a Brentford top 10 finish are not much longer at 5.24/1.

Frank has fielded the same starting XI in both league matches and is unlikely to change here.

Kristoffer Ajer (£13.5m from Celtic) has slotted into a three-man defence alongside Ethan Pinnock and Pontus Jansson, while midfielder Frank Onyeka has also played both league games since his summer arrival from FC Midtjylland.

Striker Yoane Wissa (£8.5m from FC Lorient) made a brief appearance off the bench at Palace and then scored the opener in his first start in Tuesday's 3-1 Carabao Cup win at home to Forest Green.

Tougher test for both sides

Villa's win over Newcastle proved they could do it without Grealish, although their recent figures without him are still troubling.

Taking into account his lengthy absence in the spring and their two games this season, Villa's win rate without Grealish is only 25%. They have managed just four shots on target this season and, while they have scored from all four, that hints at a lack of creativity (two of the goals were penalties).

Given that Brentford look tougher opponents than Newcastle on current form, Villa are likely to have to do more to win here.

Brentford had eight shots against Arsenal and 10 against Palace (six on target overall), which is an early indication that their style of play is going to be effective in the Premier League.

Many pundits had already reached that conclusion but perhaps fewer of them had realised the strength of Brentford's defending. The only other teams who did not concede in their first two matches were Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham.

Arguably Brentford met this season's opponents at weak points (Mikel Arteta's Arsenal have started slowly and Palace are in transition under Patrick Vieira) and this could be their most difficult match yet.

On the early evidence these two sides look quite closely matched, however, and Villa are not that appealing at 2.0421/20 without more evidence of how they will cope without Grealish.

Brentford could be underestimated in the market at 4.03/1 for the win and certainly look capable of another positive result.

In an open contest Frank's side rate a decent chance at 2.962/1 on draw no bet.

Open match in prospect

Brentford have kept two clean sheets out of two and Villa shut out Newcastle in their opening home match, but both teams to score is interesting at 1.855/6.

That has occurred in 10 of Villa's last 12 Premier League games and Brentford were top of the both teams scored table in the Championship last season.

In both seasons back in the Premier League, Villa have been in the top six for over 2.5 goals, with 22 games (58%) going past that mark each time. The figure is slightly higher at home.

Over 2.5 goals is available at 2.021/1.

Opta Stat

Aston Villa have scored two goals in each of their last five Premier League games. They last scored 2+ goals in more consecutive top-flight matches in October/November 1980 (7), in their last title winning campaign. Villa are 2.0811/10 to score over 1.5 goals in this match.

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