With Albion apparently no closer to appointing a replacement for Darren Moore, Jimmy Shan will take charge of first team affairs for a second game as the Baggies travel to west London for a tough match at Griffin Park.
In contrast to Albion’s home form, Brentford are unbeaten in their last nine games at Griffin Park in all competitions, winning the last seven. The last side to avoid defeat there was Norwich City who earned a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day, while Brentford’s last home defeat was to Swansea City in December in the match immediately following their 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.
The Bees have also found their scoring boots in recent weeks having scored three or more goals in six of their last thirteen matches including five goal wins over Blackburn Rovers and Hull City. Neil Maupay remains in the hunt for the Championship golden boot having scored 20 league goals this season, including finding the net in each of Brentford’s last five home games.
Although the Baggies were thumped on their last away trip, they have still won eight of their last ten games away from the Hawthorns and Jimmy Shan will be hoping that the squad can rediscover that belief.
The second half performance against Swansea on Wednesday is the sort of display that will be needed at Griffin Park. Brentford have enjoyed more than 60% possession in each of their last four home league games, and given that Graham Potter’s side had almost 70% at the Hawthorns, I’m expecting Albion to comfortable letting the home side dominate possession.
I’d like to see HRK start as his hold-up play is second to none in the Baggies squad, and I might even consider starting without Gayle, leaving him as an option from the bench. Murphy’s performances of late have not been good, so I’d also give Jefferson Montero a game from the start – he scored in the only match he has started for Albion, and that was in west London!
Shan has indicated that Holgate and Dawson will both be available, which is good news, although Gibbs won’t return until after the international break and Adarabioyo remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Matt Phillips also seems likely to miss out with an ankle problem.
It could be Shan’s last game in charge, although there are rumours that he may be given the job until the end of the season. The risk of that, of course, is that Albion win promotion under him and the board feel compelled to appoint him full time. The ideal result from my point of view, is to get someone in place in the next week to give him a full week’s preparation for the visit of Birmingham City in a fortnight’s time.
Saturday will be just the 18th meeting between West Bromwich Albion and Brentford, and the 14th in the league. It will also be the Baggies 8th visit to Griffin Park and, should Albion win promotion this season, it could be their last. The Bees are due to move to the new Brentford Community Stadium next year.
The Baggies first visited Griffin Park in April 1936 for a Division One fixture. Ginger Richardson opened the scoring for the visitors before goals from Billy Scott and Bobby Reid put the Bees 2-1 up. Stan Wood grabbed a late equaliser for the Baggies.
In November of the same year, the Baggies were back in west London but without either of their influential goalscorers from the first encounter. Reid was on the scoresheet again for the hosts, along with Dave McCulloch. Harry Jones grabbed a late consolation for Albion but the Bees held on for their first win over the Baggies.
A year later, the iconic Ginger Richardson was back in the Baggies side and grabbed a brace as Albion recorded their biggest win at Griffin Park, 2-0.
The next Baggie to score at the venue was Kwame Ampadu almost 54 years later, although Albion had played there only twice in the intervening years, both in 1948. Marcus Gayle scored an equaliser in that Division Three match in October 1991 with ten minutes left, but Don Goodman popped up with a late winner for the visitors.
Brentford’s biggest win over Albion came seven years later in the second leg of a League Cup first round tie. Denis Smith’s Baggies led 2-1 from the first leg but Ron Noades’ Bees turned it around with two quick goals from James Bates and Charlie Oatway just before the hour mark. Lloyd Owusu made it 3-0 late on in what was Albion’s most recent visit to Griffin Park.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
3 Dec 2018 – League Championship
West Brom 1 (Barnes)
Brentford 1 (McLeod)
Last meeting at Brentford
18 Aug 1998 – League Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg
Brentford 3 (Bates, Oatway, Owusu)
West Brom 0
12 Aug 2003 – League Cup 1st Round
West Brom 4 (Hulse (2), Haas, Dobie)
Last win at Brentford
19 Oct 1991 – League Division 3
Brentford 1 (Gayle)
West Brom 2 (Ampadu, Goodman)
Albion’s Record against Brentford