Tottenham, still just about in the fight for Europa League qualification, host Brentford in the teams’ penultimate game of the season. Here’s our match preview.
Tottenham vs Brentford: Quick Stats
- Our supercomputer gives Tottenham a 48.7% chance of victory over the Bees.
- Tottenham have lost their final home league game of the season in just two of the last 14 seasons, winning 11 and drawing one.
- Brentford have won three of their last four games after a run of six games without a win.
Only four points separate these two sides in the Premier League table going into Saturday’s early kick-off, yet each club will look back on their respective campaigns with rather different outlooks.
It wasn’t so long ago that Spurs were battling for a place in the top four, yet now they look destined for another potentially unwelcome foray into the Europa Conference League. Meanwhile, few Brentford fans would have been dreaming of a top-half finish before the start of the season, and Thomas Frank’s side still stand an ever-so-slim chance of sneaking into seventh place – though only a 1.3% chance according to our supercomputer. A win at Tottenham is a must if they are to have any chance going into the final day of the season.
A terrible run of form spelled the end for Antonio Conte as Tottenham manager, and though there has been a mild improvement since the disaster of a result at Newcastle, when they went 5-0 down inside 21 minutes, Ryan Mason still hasn’t got this team firing on all cylinders. They have slowly drifted down the table over the last few weeks, and now look set for a disappointing finish to 2022-23. The Europa League Conference feels unlikely to convince Harry Kane, who enters the final year of his contract this summer, to stick around. This game may prove a farewell to N17 for Tottenham’s record scorer.
Brentford come into the game on a decent run of form, having won three of their last four. They are also looking to extend an impressive run in Premier League London derby matches, unbeaten in their last eight against fellow teams from the capital. A win here would mark four consecutive league victories against London sides for the first time since March 2009 – when they did so in League Two (five in a row).
They do, however, come into this match without star striker Ivan Toney, who has been banned from football for eight months after breaking Football Association betting rules. Toney is behind only Erling Haaland (36) and Kane (27) in the Premier League goalscoring charts this season, with 20 goals, so will be a big miss.
Goals should still be expected here, though, largely because Spurs are involved. Tottenham’s Premier League games have seen 124 goals scored this season (F65 A59), with only Arsenal (125) producing more. In a 38-game Premier League season, only one team has both scored and conceded 60 goals in a campaign. Fittingly, that was Spurs, who did so in 2007-08 (F66 A61). You’d be a brave person to bet against Tottenham conceding at least once in their final two games of the campaign.
Hugo Lloris misses out for Spurs through injury, but if he is to leave the club this summer after 11 years in north London, he may make an appearance to say goodbye to the fans. He might just choose to keep his head down given how many of those goals Spurs have conceded this season he was responsible for. Rodrigo Bentancur and Ryan Sessegnon also both remain absent, while Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga may prove their fitness, but are unlikely to start anyway.
For Brentford, Toney is absent, and Keane Lewis-Potter, Pontus Jansson, Christian Nørgaard and Thomas Strakosha are all still out through injury.
Brentford 2-2 Tottenham: 26 December 2022 (Premier League)
You were probably busy eating Christmas leftovers or sleeping off the overindulgences of the day before the last time these two met. It was the early kick-off on Boxing Day, and Tottenham’s players might have been said to look like they had eaten too much turkey on Christmas Day if it wasn’t for the fact that slow starts were typical of their season under Conte.
Brentford went 1-0 up through Vitaly Janelt after 15 minutes, and doubled their lead early in the second half when Ivan Toney poked home from a corner. Thomas Frank’s side looked in total control and heading for another impressive win over supposedly superior opposition, but then Spurs woke from their slumber.
Kane popped up with a wonderful header from Clément Lenglet’s cross, before Pierre-Emile Højbjerg equalised with a smart finish from 12 yards. Kane then came close to winning it, flicking another cross from Lenglet onto the bar, but in the end the spoils were shared.
Spurs’ form has fallen slowly and painfully off a cliff in recent weeks (if it ever truly was ‘on’ the cliff at all). They have won only one of their last six Premier League matches, losing four and conceding a rather ludicrous 16 goals.
They’ve also scored 10 goals in those games, but have only taken four points, including a totally respectable and rather uncharacteristic 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Literally anything could happen when Brentford come to town.
Brentford have won three of their last four games to guarantee a top-half finish following a winless run of six games. They won across the capital at Chelsea last month and have some reason to believe they could win again here.
Tottenham: Harry Kane
This game could be a farewell to the Tottenham fans for Kane, who is entering the final year of his contract and, let’s be honest, he hasn’t been given much reason to sign a new one, has he? Spurs are about to end yet another season trophyless and look set to be in the Europa Conference League next term – they have a 61.8% likelihood of finishing seventh according to Opta’s supercomputer.
On a personal note, however, this season hasn’t been a total disappointment for Kane. He has scored 27 Premier League goals, so has an outside chance of making it to 30 for only the second time in his career, having previously done so in 2017-18.
Kane will have plenty of motivation to end the season on a positive note whether or not he is to leave this summer, with the 30-goal mark a milestone he’ll want to hit, and he has Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League scoring record in his sights. Shearer is, as it happens, the only player to have hit 30 Premier League goals in more than one season. He did so three times, though only one of those was in a 38-game season.
As has been the case all season, Kane’s performance will be crucial to Tottenham’s chances of getting a result.
Brentford: Bryan Mbeumo
In the absence of Toney, there is even more pressure on Mbeumo to provide the creative spark for Thomas Frank’s side. He has done that for much of the season, having created more chances from open play (26) than any other Brentford player, and they will need him to be at his best here.
With Tottenham going for the win and likely to push forward from an early stage, Mbeumo’s ball-carrying ability could prove crucial. Only Ben Mee (300) is responsible for more carries this season for Brentford than Mbeumo (278), who also ranks second – this time to Toney – for carries that end in a shot, with 13. His teammates will need him to take the team up the pitch to alleviate pressure on the backline and turn defence into attack on the break.
With two goals in his last four appearances – both in 2-0 wins over London-based opposition in Chelsea and West Ham – Mbeumo will be key on Saturday.
Tottenham vs Brentford Prediction
Tottenham go into the game as favourites, with a 48.7% chance of winning according to our supercomputer. They have, however, lost five home Premier League games this season, which is as many as Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest, and only one fewer than Leeds, so there remains a decent chance of an upset.
The supercomputer gives Brentford just under a one-in-four chance (24.4%) of coming away with a win, but they will have to contend without Toney, and that might make winning this one too big an ask.