Brentford vs Aston Villa
Aston Villa’s impressive Premier League title pursuit continues at the Gtech Community Stadium as they take on out-of-sorts Brentford.
After a formidable three-game winning streak in late October/November, Brentford’s league form has spiraled into chaos, with Thomas Frank’s side losing four of their last five Premier League outings (W1). A lack of firepower in the absence of standout forward Ivan Toney has seen the ‘Bees’ fail to score in three of those four defeats. Beating newcomers Luton Town 3-1 in their opening December fixture is hardly a consolation, especially now that they start this round off the back of a disheartening 1-0 defeat at rock-bottom Sheffield United. Maybe the impending home return could inspire Brentford’s revival as they’ve emerged victorious in three of their last four Premier League outings at the Gtech Stadium (L1) after going winless in their first four (D3, L1).
Meanwhile, no one is taking Aston Villa’s title candidacy lightly anymore after the ‘Lions’ claimed back-to-back 1-0 home wins against Arsenal and Manchester City. But despite whittling down the gap on table-topping Liverpool to only two points, translating an outstanding home form to their travels is another prerequisite for Villa’s title credentials. Not only is Villa’s eight-game away league record evenly balanced (W3, D3, L3), but they’ve only won once on their last four trips (D2, L1) despite facing sides from the bottom half of the table on three occasions. Defensive resilience hasn’t been Villa’s strong suit on hostile turf this season by any stretch of the imagination, with Unai Emery’s side registering just one clean sheet on 12 competitive travels, excluding Europa Conference League qualifiers.