Despite a bright start to the campaign, Ben Steele thinks Brentford will suffer their first loss of the season as Brighton, and a former player, come to town...
"Booked in each of his last two games and heading into a battle with the equally combative Yves Bissouma in the Brighton midfielder a Bet Builder of Norgaard to be booked, Maupay to score and Under 2.5 goals in the game @ 36.19 looks like great value."
Maupay looking to mark first return to Brentford
In recent years Brentford have produced a talented group of forwards, with Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma making the step up to the Premier League last season and Ivan Toney proving to be an excellent replacement for the pair as he fired The Bees to promotion. Brighton's Neal Maupay also made his name at Griffin Park before a £20 million move to the south coast after a prolific spell in West London saw him score 41 times in 95 games.
Saturday sees the Frenchman make his first return as an opposition player and the notoriously feisty forward will be hoping to continue his strong start to the season.
Maupay found the net in both games as Graham Potter's side kicked off their campaign with wins over newly promoted Watford and a tough Burnley side before a loss to Everton, despite dominating possession, ended Brighton's winning start.
The story of the 2020/21 season was the lack of a clinical finisher, Maupay leading the scoring charts with just eight goals but he has started the season in fine form and with his side likely to dominate possession again he should have plenty of chances to add to his tally against his former employers.
Premier League new boys, Brentford, have made an impressive start to their first season in the top flight with a headline grabbing win over Arsenal on the opening day followed by two creditable draws against Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. That success has been built on solid defensive foundations.
Centre backs Ethan Pinnock, Pontus Jansson and Kristoffer Ajer have been excellent and goalkeeper David Raya has swept up anything that gets past them but it is in midfield where we can look for betting value in the form of holding midfielder Christian Norgaard.
Brentford have conceded just once this season with Norgaard proving to be a master of breaking up play and protecting the trio of defenders behind him. However, he has also shown a penchant for a booking in his first few games.
Booked in each of his last two games and heading into a battle with the equally combative Yves Bissouma in the Brighton midfielder a Bet Builder of Norgaard to be carded, Maupay to score anytime and Under 2.5 goals in the game @ 36.19 looks like great value.
Saturday's game sees a head to head battle of two darlings of the football analytics world. Graham Potter has bought into the analysis and has built a Brighton side who have more than shown their ability to punch above their weight in the Premier League while Thomas Frank turned Brentford into a Championship powerhouse since his arrival in 2018, and finally got them past the playoff troubles last term.
Brentford's start to the season is the best by a team in their first Premier League season since Portsmouth in 2003/4 but I'm backing Potter and Brighton to end the unbeaten run at three games.
Overall The Seagulls have been solid defensively this season and with Joel Veltman back available for selection after recovering from COVID and Tariq Lamptey also in contention following persistent hamstring troubles I don't imagine that Potter and his team will be too worried defensively.
With three giant centre backs looking to contain Ivan Toney and the highly rated Bissouma in midfield chances could well be at a premium for the hosts on Saturday. On the other hand, in the form of Pascal Groß the visitors have one of the most creative players in the league this season (nine chances created) and have shown themselves to be particularly effective from set pieces.
Only 15 players, all strikers and midfielders, have had more shots in the 2021/22 season than Shane Duffy and with both sides showing themselves to be effective defensively that could well be a crucial factor. With that in mind Brighton to win @ 2.89/5 looks like the value bet in what should be an intriguing encounter.
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