We make the trip to East Anglia this afternoon to take on our former boss Dean Smith and his Norwich City charges. The Canaries head into today's game on the back of four straight defeats, most recently against Liverpool in the Emirates FA Cup on Wednesday, but can close the gap to safety to just two points today. Below you will find all the info ahead of the big match.
That Norwich City remain in touch at the bottom of the table going into this afternoon's game is impressive in itself, given that they picked up just two points from their opening ten Premier League games, a run that ultimately cost Daniel Farke his job.
Since former Bees boss Dean Smith took over in mid-November, the East Anglian outfit have picked up 12 points from 15 matches, seven of which came in a three-game run against Everton, Watford, and Crystal Palace at the start of 2022.
City have been streaky this season. All 17 of their points have come in two game, four game, and three game unbeaten runs which have been sandwiched in between six game, two game, five game, and three game losing runs.
Norwich are the Premier League's lowest scorers (15) from the lowest number of shots per game (10.8). They also give up the second most shots per game (16.2). Their 55 goals conceded is the second-most in the division, not helped by shipping four or more on four occasions this season.
Talismanic striker Teemu Pukki leads their scoring charts with six. At the other end, Grant Hanley (above) averages the fifth-most clearances (5) and second-most blocks (1.3) per game of all Premier League players.
Writing for Hot Off The Press, Connor Southwell of the Eastern Daily Press, said: "What we have, largely, seen from [Dean Smith] is a 4-3-3. Norwich won the games against Watford and Everton playing 4-4-2 but that was mostly because they didn’t have any fit midfielders, so he had to strip it back completely. Subsequently, they have lost Adam Idah for the rest of the season to a knee injury, so they have only got Teemu Pukki (above) to lead the line. I would expect something like this: Krul, Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams, Normann, McLean, Rupp, Rashica, Sargent, Pukki"
Josh Dasilva begins his three-game suspension this afternoon but that's the only absentee after Christian Eriksen, Ivan Toney, and Zanka all made the matchday squad last weekend against Newcastle United.
For Norwich City, Max Aarons and Brandon Williams are available after sitting out City's FA Cup defeat at Liverpool on Wednesday. Ozan Kabak is also in contention but Adam Idah (knee) and Andrew Omobamidele (back) will miss out.
- Norwich City earned their first Premier League win of the season in the reverse fixture against Brentford in November. They can complete a first league double over the Bees since 1959/60.
- Teemu Pukki's only league goal for Norwich against Brentford came in the reverse fixture this season. The Finnish striker has never scored home and away Premier League goals against an opponent in a single campaign before.
- Since beating Aston Villa 2-1 in January, Brentford have picked up just one point from their last 24 available in the Premier League (W0 D1 L7). The Bees' run of eight matches without victory is the longest current winless run in the competition.
- Pontus Jansson has played 2,422 minutes, more than any other outfield player in the Premier League this season. The Brentford defender has only missed eight available minutes, at Molineux in September, when he was substituted off after 82 minutes.
There'll be a very familiar face in the home dugout this afternoon with former Bees boss Dean Smith now in charge of The Canaries.
Smith joined Brentford in November 2015, leading us to ninth, tenth, and ninth in his three seasons in charge. A fine start to the 2018/19 campaign saw boyhood club Aston Villa come calling in October 2018 with The Bees sixth in the Championship.
He took Villa from 14th to promotion via the Play-Offs in his first season. Surviving their maiden campaign back in the top-flight, they then reached the 2020 Carabao Cup Final, losing 2-1 to Manchester City. Aston Villa improved to 11th last season but a five-game losing run saw the 50-year-old depart Villa Park on 7 November, taking over at Carrow Road a week later.
Smith made his name as a player at Leyton Orient, playing 309 times for The O's during a six-year stay in East London. He also had spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale before returning to Brisbane Road to begin his coaching career.
He spent four years as Martin Ling's Assistant Manager before returning to another of his former clubs, Walsall, in 2009 to take up a role as Head of Youth. Two years later he stepped up to the main job at The Bescot, his five-year reign seeing The Saddlers establish themselves in League One while also bringing through the likes of Rico Henry and Romaine Sawyers.
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick and Adam Nunn
Fourth Official: Gavin Ward
VAR: John Brooks
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies
Norwich City 21/22
244 fouls - 15th in Premier League
42 yellow cards - 14th in Premier League
1 red card - 10th in Premier League
The away Supporters' area is located in blocks F, G, and H of the South Stand, turnstiles 51-57, next to the Holiday Inn.
Bags larger than 40cm x 35cm x 19cm (small bag/handbag) will not be allowed into the stadium.
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
The only way to follow in the UK is through Bees Player. Legendary Bees striker Robert Taylor, scorer of 74 goals in 212 matches, joins Mark Burridge for live commentary from Carrow Road.