Fulham vs Brentford predictions: Fulham face more derby despair
A first-ever Premier League meeting between two unbeaten local rivals should produce some quality football as Fulham entertain Brentford at Craven Cottage.
Both clubs can feel satisfied with their start to the new campaign, particularly the visitors after they dismantled Manchester United in front of a disbelieving home crowd last week.
Fulham will attempt to draw the Bees' sting by imposing their own style on the game and servicing prolific striker Aleksandar Mitrovic up front.
The Serbian, who claimed an opening-weekend double against Liverpool, went from hero to zero against Wolves last weekend when his penalty was saved in a 0-0 draw.
He was perhaps also fortunate to avoid a red card following a confrontation with Morgan Gibbs-White so Fulham head coach Marco Silva will want him to keep his cool in this clash of clubs that last met in the Championship play-off final two years ago.
Silva has no fresh injury concerns with his squad, which should mean midfielder Andreas Pereira will be fine to start again after sustaining a minor injury last week.
The same goes for wide attacker Bobby Decordova-Reid, who went off during stoppage time at Molineux and was thought to be a fitness doubt.
But Harry Wilson and Manor Solomon are both ruled out with knee injuries, while forward Rodrigo Muniz is on the verge of joining Middlesbrough on loan.
Kristoffer Ajer and Sergi Canos are still out of contention having missed the Bees' first two games of the season.
Boss Thomas Frank confirmed during his Friday press conference that new signing Mikkel Damsgaard will not start at Craven Cottage, but the Denmark international could feature as a substitute.
Ethan Pinnock remains out with a knee problem, so Pontus Jansson will continue alongside Ben Mee in central defence.
Frank switched from a back four at Leicester to a system featuring three central defenders against the Red Devils and may decide to keep the same shape at Fulham.
Fulham are on a run of 24 Premier League London derbies without a win - stretching back to their 2-1 home victory over West Ham in January 2014.
The Bees have won eight of their last 13 Premier League games, with only Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham averaging more points per game in the top flight since the start of March.
The red hot form of Brentford striker Ivan Toney, who has been involved in 12 goals in his past 13 league appearances with seven goals and five assists, has been sustained throughout that period.
No Premier League player hit the post more times than Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo last season, so he will have been delighted to open his goal tally for the season last weekend.
And if a chance to shoot presents itself, Josh Dasilva will attempt to become the first player to score from outside the box for three successive games since Jordan Henderson in 2015.
Although Fulham beat Brentford at Wembley in 2020, it is the Bees who have done better in the ensuing two seasons and they now look capable of taking the next step by establishing themselves as a top-half Premier League club.
Frank's philosophy has been to pick on their opponents' weaknesses, so Fulham can expect their central defensive axis to face a full examination from Toney with early, direct balls up to the frontman and crosses coming into the box from advanced wide areas.
Silva is still looking for reinforcements before the transfer window shuts and after this game, which Brentford have all the weapons to win, his wish list may have grown longer.