Brentford Set to Compound Ndidi, Iheanacho’s Woes

Having lost their four Premier League games and sitting 16th on the log, Super Eagles duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho’s relegation-threatened Leicester City’s woes might be compounded as they visit a Brentford side that are seeking to climb into the top six of the league at the  Gtech Community Stadium today

While the Bees are looking to extend their unbeaten home run in the top flight to 10 matches, the Foxes are hoping to avoid a third successive away defeat.

Brentford saw their 12-game unbeaten league run come to an end at the hands of Everton last weekend, but they quickly returned to winning ways with a routine 2-0 victory away against basement club Southampton on Wednesday night.

Ivan Toney, who has been called up to Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad – increased his top-flight goal tally for the season to 16 with an opening strike just after the half-hour mark before setting up substitute Yoane Wissa in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time to seal Brentford 10th league win of the campaign.

Thomas Frank’s men have moved above West London rivals, Fulham into eighth place in the Premier League table, and with both Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion not in action this weekend, the Bees can climb into sixth place with a victory over Leicester.

Brentford have enjoyed playing in front of their own fans so far this season as they have accumulated 63.4% of their Premier League points on home soil, winning six, drawing six and losing only one of their 13 matches at the Gtech Community Stadium.

However, success today is not a given as they have failed to win any of their previous three Premier League meetings against Leicester, although they did come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with the Foxes at the King Power Stadium back in August.

Leicester appeared to have turned a corner earlier this year after winning three successive games in all competitions, including a 4-1 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur. However, a miserable run of five straight defeats has since followed, piling the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers.

After suffering a disappointing 1-0 loss at Southampton, the Foxes were beaten 3-1 at home against Chelsea last weekend to condemn the hosts to their 16th league defeat of the campaign.

A run of five successive top-10 finishes in the Premier League is all but certain to come to an end this season, with Leicester embroiled in one of the tightest relegation battles in years, sitting 16th in the table and just above the bottom three on goal difference.

Leicester have picked up as many points on home soil as they have on the road (12) so far this season, although suffering nine top-flight away defeats in 13 games is a cause for concern. The Foxes have won only three of their last eight away matches in all competitions since the end of December, with two of those victories against League Two opposition in the FA Cup.

However, Rodgers and co can head to the Gtech Community Stadium with optimism as they are unbeaten in their last seven league meetings against Brentford, including a 2-1 away win last season.

Meanwhile, two sides striving for three points for entirely different reasons meet at St Mary’s this afternoon, as Southampton host Tottenham Hotspur.

Ruben Selles’s basement-dwellers were put to the sword by Brentford in midweek, while the Lilywhites most recently cruised past Nottingham Forest 3-1 last weekend.

There was no shortage of attacking endeavour from Southampton during a rainy visit of Brentford on Wednesday night, but the Bees’ cutting edge set them apart from their South Coast counterparts, whose survival task became all the more arduous with defeat to Thomas Frank’s crop.

From arguably being unfortunate not to have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford to remaining bottom of the table with a humbling loss to Brentford, Southampton still only have a two-point gap separating them from the safety of 17th spot, but their relegation rivals now crucially boast a game in hand.

Southampton can only rely on so many James Ward-Prowse set-piece situations to bail them out of trouble, but the Saints can now boast a paltry three goals from their last eight Premier League contests, while six of their last seven Premier League home games have now ended in defeat.

Silver linings are few and far between at St Mary’s right now, but conceding just three goals in their last five Premier League matches – keeping clean sheets against Chelsea and Man United – can be viewed in a positive light, although that may not count for much against a rejuvenated Spurs outfit.

Southampton are a far cry from the team they were under Mauricio Pochettino, who has been strongly linked with a sensational return to Tottenham as Antonio Conte runs down the final few months on his contract, but the Italian’s fiery passion on the touchline was there for all to see during the visit of Forest.

Richarlison may have seen a strike chalked off within three minutes as his wait for a first Premier League goal for Tottenham goes on, but Harry Kane’s 19th and 20th goals of the season preceded a final Son Heung-min effort before Joe Worrall gave the Forest faithful something to cheer in the dying embers.

Conte’s side were also indebted to a last-gasp Fraser Forster penalty save from Andre Ayew for preventing a true squeaky bum time finish, but by bringing a miserable week to a pleasant end, their fourth-placed standing in the Premier League table remains safe for the time being.

The Lilywhites are out of sight of Liverpool, but Newcastle United have two games in hand to make up a four-point deficit, so Spurs’ hopes of Champions League qualification – which Conte claimed would be akin to winning a trophy are still out of their own hands.

While the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium fortress still has its walls intact, Spurs travel to St Mary’s having suffered an abysmal four away defeats in succession across all tournaments, failing to score in each of their last three against AC Milan, Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

It has been just over 40 years since Spurs last lost four successive away games without finding the back of the net, but they strolled to a 4-1 success over Southampton during the opening weekend of the 2022-23 season, having been held to a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s last season.

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