It's good to be home. After three weeks away, Crystal Palace are the visitors to TW8 for our first home game since mid-January. The Eagles head into today a place and two points above us in the Premier League table. Catch all the big match build-up below.
Despite an inconsistent run of late, Crystal Palace are still enjoying a fine season under Patrick Vieira. The Arsenal great has overhauled an ageing Palace squad with his bright, young charges currently occupying 13th in the Premier League with 25 points from 23 games.
Palace put out 17 of the 18 oldest starting XIs in the Premier League last season but it's all change this year. 25 players left in the summer with the likes of Michael Olise [Reading], Joachim Andersen [Lyon], and Marc Guéhi [Chelsea] all added to The Eagles squad.
Vieira's starting XI against Brighton last month included six players aged 23 and under while Odsonne Edouard (23), Tyrick Mitchell (22), Conor Gallagher (21), and Marc Guehi (21) have all featured in 20 or more of Palace's Premier League outings this term.
Palace's recent run does show some of the inconsistencies of youth; they've won four, drawn three, and lost three of their last ten in all competitions. The Eagles' only away Premier League win this term came against Champions Manchester City in October but they have drawn their last two on the road at Brighton and Hove Albion and Norwich City.
Defensively they give up the seventh fewest shots per game (12.4) while also registering the seventh highest average possession (51.7%) and winning the eighth most aerial battles per game (17).
Chelsea loanee Gallagher (pictured above) leads their scoring charts with seven, one clear of Edouard and Wilfried Zaha.
Writing for Hot Off The Press, South London Press journalist, Edmund Brack, says to look out for: "Michael Olise (pictured above), for sure. He is such a good player and when he switches back onto his left foot, with the accuracy and the way he shoots, he always aims for the far left post because he knows it is always going to be inch-perfect and, nine times out of 10, will go in. He does stuff on the ball that is just so exciting to watch and the fact that Palace got him for only £8 million is a steal in the current market. If he is up for it, he is someone who can help Palace take all three points in a game.
Christian Eriksen is still not in consideration while a late decision will be made on Ivan Toney (calf). Bryan Mbeumo and Wissa are both fit to start confirmed Thomas Frank on Thursday while Tariqe Fosu, Zanka (hamstring), and Julian Jeanvier (knee) remain sidelined.
For Palace, Nathan Ferguson (hamstring) is out while James McCarthur may make his return having not played since November. Cheikhou Kouyate missed the midweek draw at Norwich City following Senegal's victory in the Africa Cup of Nations.
- Crystal Palace striker Odsonne Edouard has scored four goals in four Premier League London derbies so far, netting against each opponent he has faced (two v Tottenham Hotspur, one v Arsenal and one v West Ham United). The only player to score as many as five goals in his first five London derbies in the Premier League was Kanu in 1999 for Arsenal, who netted five.
- Brentford's Ivan Toney has scored in his last two Premier League home appearances, having scored in just one of his first nine at Brentford Community Stadium. Toney last scored in more consecutive home league matches for the Bees in October/November 2020 (a run of four).
- Brentford were unbeaten in their first three Premier League London derbies (W2 D1) but have suffered defeats in their last two, losing to Chelsea and Spurs. The Bees have not lost three in a row in the league against fellow London opposition since a four-match run between November 2011 and September 2012, when they lost twice to Charlton Athletic and twice to Leyton Orient in League One.
- The reverse fixture between Brentford and Palace finished 0-0 – only once before have the Eagles had two goalless draws against an opponent in the same Premier League campaign, doing so against Manchester City in 1992/93.
One of the greatest players of his generation, Patrick Vieira won 16 major domestic trophies across an 18-year career. There were three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups at Arsenal, including the 2004 'Invicibles' season, as well as three consecutive Serie A titles with Inter Milan between 2007 and 2009. At international level, Vieira played a key role as France won the World Cup on home soil in 1998 and then followed that up two years later with a European Championship victory.
The commanding midfielder was named in the PFA Team of the Year six years running between 1998 and 2004. He was the Premier League Player of the Year in 2001 and made the Premier League Team of the Decade a year later. In 2014, three years after he retired he was added to the English Football Hall of Fame.
His coaching career began with Manchester City's EDS in 2013 before he moved to New York City as Head Coach in November 2015. He led New York City to their first ever playoff appearance after finishing second in the Eastern Conference that season and improved their position in the combined MLS standings in each of his years with the club, from 17th in 2015 to 4th in Vieira's first season in 2016 and then to 2nd in 2017.
On 11 June 2018, Vieira was appointed as the manager of Ligue 1 side Nice. In his first season in charge, he led the club to a seventh-placed finish in the league, but departed seven months later after a run of five losses in a row and elimination from the group stage of the Europa League.
THE OPPOSITION VIEW
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira told football.london: "It will be a different challenge compared to the last game that we played, we know what to expect.
"We have to be up for it. They're a really difficult team [to play] at home, they're doing really well and we will be ready for that"
LAST TIME OUT
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Derek Eaton
Fourth Official: Robert Jones
VAR: John Brooks
Assistant VAR: Constantine Hatzidakis
Crystal Palace 2021/22
264 fouls - 3rd most in Premier League
42 yellow cards - 8th in Premier League
1 red card - 8th in Premier League
New arrival Christian Eriksen will be officially unveiled to Brentford fans at around 2.45pm this afternoon so make sure you are in early to welcome our new man to TW8.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Today's game will be shown around the world through the Premier League's broadcast partners. Click here to see if it is on where you are
There will also be live commentary on Talksport. For the Brentford angle, Jonathan Douglas and Charlotte Tanner join Mark Burridge on Bees Player.