Brentford (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

While the arrival of new owners has injected some much needed life back into the club, giving us hope for the future and some much needed ambition, we are in desperate need of points after an utterly dreadful start to the season.

After working wonders at Bournemouth and taking 15 months out of the game in a bid to come back stronger, it feels fitting that Eddie Howe is the new man in charge of Newcastle United.

The task in hand is a huge one, with Steve Bruce leaving the team devoid of organisation, identity or a single win all season, but everything Howe had said and done so far suggests he has what it takes to turn things around.

It takes something special to take a struggling club from the depths of League Two to the top half of the Premier League, with him not only a hard worker, a clear communicator and a deep thinker, but a meticulous manager who will demand 100% commitment and attempt to get us playing the sort of front-foot football we’ve desired for many years now.

That said, it will be a huge challenge to deliver the wins needed over the next few weeks when also trying to coach this team to play a completely different way – not matter how well the players appear to have responded to Howe’s new methods on the training ground.

Not only that, we’ll have to do it without him on the touchline after he tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday. Absolutely typical and a real kick in the teeth, however it’s said he’ll be in constant communication with his staff from his hotel room on Tyneside.

Still, I for one am just excited to see what’s in store after turning up to so many games this season out of sheer habit, not in hope of a win or with butterflies in my stomach. After all, he’s still had 10 days training with them and will be the man picking the team.

Howe and Bruce are chalk and cheese, but big changes often take time, so let’s stick behind the players throughout, even if a few early passes are misplaced or our attempts to play a better brand of football don’t always go to plan.

As for Brentford, they arrive after on the back of defeats to Norwich and Burnley, knowing another loss will drag them back into a relegation battle they looked set to avoid with ease just a few weeks ago.

Former Mag Ivan Toney will also be one to watch. He’s only scored twice so far this season, but he and Mbeumo have proven to be a handful for just about every Premier League defence they’ve faced this season.

Team news

All of our international players have returned to Tyneside unscathed, however it seems likely that Howe selects the players he’d been able to work with over the last 10 days.

Almiron has only just returned from South America, while Howe has a ‘tough call’ to make on Dubravka – who played his first game of 2021/22 just a few days ago.

The only player who’s been ruled out is Paul Dummett, who remains sidelined after failing to shrug off an ongoing calf injury.

Predicted line ups

(4-4-1-1): Darlow – Manquillo, Lascelles, Fernandez, Ritchie – Saint-Maximin, Hayden, Shelvey, Fraser – Joelinton, Wilson.

(3-5-2):  Fernandez – Jorgensen, Jansson, Pinnock – Canos, Onyeka, Norgaard, Janelt, Henry – Mbuemo, Toney.

Starting in goal, I think Dubravka will become Howe’s no.1 in time, however his pre-match comments suggest he may not be 100% ready after playing his first game of the season in midweek for Slovakia, meaning Darlow may keep his place for now.

At centre-back, I’m backing Fernandez to come back in alongside Lascelles. He’s a leader, is more reliable than the struggling Clark and might get the nod ahead of Schar – who hasn’t long returned from qualifying for the World Cup with Switzerland.

That said, Schar is our only ball-playing CB, making him ideal for Howe if he’s looking to immediately improve our ability to play out from the back.

The left-back situation is an interesting one. Howe always played Ritchie as a right winger during their time together at Bournemouth, but with Lewis back late from international duty and playing just six minutes of Premier League football all season, I can see Ritchie remaining at full-back (for now) with Manquillo down the other flank.

In midfield, Howe has already hinted that Shelvey could be a key player, saying his technical ability and passing range can be ‘very important’ to how he wants to play.

Alongside him could be Hayden. He’s got to improve on the ball to keep his place in a team that will now look to be much better in possession, but his defensive qualities could be key against a big Brentford side who often go with three in the middle of the park.

He can get away with running less in that ‘free role’, however I think Saint-Maximin could be back on the wing here – although he’ll soon get an earful from the new boss if he’s not pulling his weight.

Murphy could be handed a chance in his favoured position if he’s impressed in training, but I’d back Fraser to start on the left – a position he played so well during his time at Bournemouth under Howe.

A part of me wonders if Willock could be used in a more advanced role, allowing him to get back in amongst the goals. He showed his qualities in and around the box while on loan last season, however I fancy Joelinton to get the nod here.

Howe often played Josh King just behind Wilson during their time together at Bournemouth, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brazilian is used in a similar role here. After all, Howe talked him up in his press conference on Friday, stating he has the talent to become a ‘huge player’ for the club.

Match prediction

Brentford arrive having lost each of their last four league games, with the most recent of those coming against Norwich and Burnley.

That said, we’ve all seen how good they can be on their day, with them all over Chelsea just a few weeks ago and winning at West Ham before this losing streak began.

So, we can’t take them lightly, but must get at them from the off and impose ourselves immediately in front of a packed out St James’ Park that promises to be in great voice.

Our job is to maintain that by starting on the front foot and beating this Brentford side while they’re down, and I think we just might.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-1 Brentford


About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan, he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC!

74 thoughts on “Brentford (H) Pre-match thoughts, team news, possible line-ups & score prediction

  1. Bad news about Eddie and Covid. He is living in a Hotel so that is pretty much room service or delivery for 10 days. If he doesnt already have a Suite with a big screen TV then they need to get him into one. Also NUFC need to step up and install state of the art audio/video equipment in the Hotel so he can stay in touch with coaches and players. The good news is that the technology is there to make this happen, just somebody has to take the initiative and get it done.

    He can stay in touch remotely but I think it is very important that Howe sees all of the training sessions. If they dont have someone already, then we need to tape all of the training sessions and have him set up for zoom/skype with coaches and players. With the right setup he can still do the video coaching/review.

    The other thing we cannot forget is this is not a trivial matter. Even young and healthy people are badly affected. Remember Darlow was out for like 6 weeks and lost 2 stone. I hope he was vaccinated as that is supposed to really help with keeping this virus under control and symptoms to a minimum.


  2. Olly: your guess for the team is as good as any. The one I would question most is Ritchie at left back. I wont be surprised to see Donkey in the team. It will be interesting to see what he can do when he is not subjected to Bruce/Jones “tactics”. Usually when he gets the ball there is no-one to lay it off to as he is collecting a hoof and all of our players are on the 18 yard line. I am hoping we see a different player under Howe.


  3. Gutted for Eddie that he’s gotten covid and unable to attend game and get a great reception on his first game in charge.
    This could effect our performance with him not being there, even if all the steps are taken that Eric suggest it’s just not the same as him being on the touchline.
    Typical luck and he misses the Arsenal game too.

    Thought we could sneak a win today , not so sure now.


  4. Alreet all, had a mad busy week and haven’t posted much.

    Gutted for Howe – he would have got a great reception from the fans today I reckon.
    But more importantly his presence will be missed on the training ground for the next 10 days. We’ve seen he has such a hands on approach with his training.

    Hopefully he’s been able to get his points across enough during the break that the players know what he’s wanting. Tindall you’d hope can fill in today having worked with Howe so much.

    Interesting starting 11 – looks like a 3-4-3 to me.

    Brentford will be coming to spoil the party for sure. Our boys need to play with high energy and high press imo.

    The result is more important than the performance today imo so 1-0 off Joes hint end would do me ????.



  5. Interesting starting lineup. Fraser on the bench but happy to see Murphy start. Happy too that Schar is starting. This will not be easy though. Brentford have to ability to hurt us and Toney will want to make a point! Let’s see… ??


  6. I wonder if Eddie will get an illegal stream, since nothing televised between 3-5pm… ??

    I hate 3pm kickoffs now as I have to find a stream that’s inevitably ****


  7. Just come on to say I wonder if they’ve worked on set pieces in the break …. Then Toney scores …. Not worked much on defending then ???‍♂️?


  8. FFS!!!! OUR DEFENDERS ARE ROBBING A [email protected] LIVING!!!




  9. Joeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    Get in, he’s been so good today, chuffed for him


  10. The 2 players who are usually our weakest links – Joelinton and Shelvey – have been our best players.

    Darlow nearly made another error coming for a ball outside his box. Murphy cleared it but it didnt look like Darlow would have got there.


  11. Apart from Joe and Shelvey, the other plus is we are getting a lot of players in their box. Darlow and the defenders are at sixes and sevens though. I think it is an absolute certainty we will see Dubs at Arsenal. I suspect this will be Clark’s last game as well – somebody has to pay for this defensive mess.


  12. I thought Joelinton was really good first half – I thought our defence wasn’t!!.

    Need to improve and control the game more in the 2nd half.

    I rate the job Franks has done with Brentford – but we MUST take 3 points today!!.


  13. Players coming and looking for the ball too, quicker getting forward, so many positives but my that defense 😳


  14. Will be awful embarrassing for the new owners if we go down and no real guarantee of coming up, it’s a very tough league to escape from.


  15. All over
    so VILLAS new manager wins
    Norwich new manager wins
    Toons new manager gets covid and inherits a c rap defense.


  16. Bottom of the league but more entertaining.

    Man U lose 4-1 and McGuire sent off. I have the game recorded and will see what he did. He has been in terrible form and Roy Keane was right to call him out for that stupid celebration for England. He seems that he was built up higher than his abilities warranted. DEfinately not worth 80 mil.


  17. How can our defence be so bad? They are dire! Really really awful. ???. We desperately needed to win that one. Yes, we played more attacking football but we need wins. As Metallica say, Nothing else matters!


  18. I wouldn’t mind but one of their goals was a b loody deflection. We used up all our luck under Bruce.
    Darlow was poor today.
    Schar is a red card waiting to happen
    WHAT has happened to Willock !


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