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Bournemouth vs Brentford predictions: Bees to edge south coast clash
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Dan Sait
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Thomas Frank's Brentford go to Bournemouth this weekend
Thomas Frank's Brentford go to Bournemouth this weekend

Bournemouth and Brentford meet for their first-ever top flight encounter with both teams making quietly impressive progress in the Premier League. 

Cherries supporters would not have been feeling too optimistic four matches into their Premier League return, with a handful of heavy thumpings seeing them harbouring a -14 goal difference and on the hunt for a new manager. 

The sacking of Scott Parker came after a 9-0 humiliation at Liverpool but while the scale of that defeat and a 4-0 reverse at Manchester City were chastening, few would realistically have expected Bournemouth to get more than a point or three against Aston Villa, City, Arsenal and Liverpool. 

Former first-team coach Gary O'Neil stepped up to steady the ship and has impressed as he has led the club to creditable draws against Wolves and Newcastle and masterminded a come-from-behind 3-2 victory away at Nottingham Forest. 

Sitting a point above them are this weekend’s opponents, Brentford, whose performances have veered between sublime and strangely soporific this season. 

Spectacular victories over Manchester United and Leeds are offset by limp defeats to Fulham and Arsenal, while draws against Leicester, Everton and Crystal Palace all needed late comebacks to gain a point. 

Team news

O'Neil has a number of Bournemouth players unavailable, with long-term absentees David Brooks and Joe Rothwell both still out. 

Centre-back Lloyd Kelly is also likely to miss out with a knee injury, while Ben Pearson and right-back Ryan Fredericks look unlikely to make it back in time to face Brentford. 

Bees manager Thomas Frank must again do without centre-back Ethan Pinnock and defensive midfielder Christian Norgaard, though neither player is far away from returning from knee and Achilles problems respectively. 

Keane Lewis-Potter had to withdraw from the England Under-21s and is a doubt this weekend. 

The stats

While Bournemouth and Brentford have never previously met in the top flight, there has been no shortage of meetings between the pair elsewhere in the English football pyramid. 

The Bees edge it with 37 league wins to the Cherries' 35 and there have been 30 draws. 

However, their only head-to-heads in the past seven years came in four Championship meetings in 2020-21, with Brentford winning home and away in the regular campaign and then beating the Cherries 3-2 on aggregate in the play-off semi-finals. 

Bournemouth's poor run against the Bees could be extended this weekend if the underlying numbers are any guide. 

While O'Neil has rightly been praised for galvanising his Cherries squad to claim two draws and a win from his three matches in charge, the results have been far more impressive than the performances. 

Wolves racked up 1.5 expected goals to Bournemouth's 0.5 in their 0-0 draw in late August, while Newcastle won the xG count against Bournemouth by a whopping 2.0-0.6 in their 1-1 draw last time out. 

On both occasions, Bournemouth were largely dominated and only their opponents' profligacy in front of goal spared them.

O'Neil's men even lost the xG count in their 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest and while the interim manager will be pleased with the spirit shown by his squad, he will know that his side cannot keep offering up as many chances without getting punished. 

Gary O'Neil took over as interim boss from the sacked Scott Parker at Bournemouth
Gary O'Neil took over as interim boss from the sacked Scott Parker at Bournemouth

Prediction

For different reasons, both teams are hard to trust. 

Bournemouth under O'Neil are simply not as good as the results suggest. While the discipline and mental courage needed to bounce back from two heavy defeats and a 9-0 walloping against Liverpool deserves plenty of credit, there has been more luck than judgement about the fact that they have followed up with a run of three games unbeaten. 

Brentford's performances have been up and down and it is tricky judging whether their comebacks should be seen as a positive or negative. 

The Bees have undoubtedly shown determination and a positive mentality to claw their way back into games, but it has been under-par performances that put them in trouble in the first place. 

Taking a point from their trip to Crystal Palace was a good result for Frank’s men but the Bees also failed to put a struggling Everton side to the sword and made hard work of their 2-2 draw at ailing Leicester. 

However, Brentford's victories were more emphatic than their defeats were concerning even if they failed to turn up against a strong Arsenal side in their last outing and were sloppy to let Fulham back in after dragging the match back to 2-2.

The quality on show in the Bees' 5-2 victory over Leeds and even more so in the 4-0 defeat of Manchester United suggest Frank’s men have the quality to claim victory on the south coast.

Tags

AFC BournemouthBrentfordPremier League
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