Brentford host Brighton on Friday night in a Premier League meeting between two clubs spearheaded by owners that share a belief in the power of statistics and a frosty relationship.
Matthew Benham, Brentford’s chief decision maker, was hired by Brighton’s Tony Bloom to work for his betting company Premier Bet in the early 2000s. Benham would move on to form his own firm, sparking a rivalry which, two decades on, is now played out between clubs sitting 11th and seventh in the Premier League.
Here’s everything you need to know about one match “Tony wants to win more than any,” according to one of Bloom’s former employees (per The Athletic).
Where can you watch Brentford vs Brighton Highlights?
Brentford vs Brighton H2H Results (Last Five Games)
Brentford: 1 Win
Brighton: 3 Wins
Current Form (Last Five Games)
Brentford team news
Pontus Jansson has been struggling with a hamstring injury he sustained at the start of October. The club captain is nearing a return but Christian Norgaard isn’t expected to have recovered from Achilles tendonitis by Friday.
Keane Lewis-Potter has resumed individual training but is unlikely to be available for a full competitive outing.
Brentford Starting 11 (4-3-3): Raya; Hickey, Ajer, Mee, Henry; Jensen, Janelt, Dasilva; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa.
Bench: Cox, Canos, Baptiste, Jorgensen, Ghoddos, Onyeka, Damsgaard, Pinnock, Roerslev.
Brighton team news
Enock Mwepu was forced into retirement at the age of 24 last week with a hereditary heart condition. Last summer’s £20m arrival appeared in the club’s first six matches of the season but will play no further part to avoid “a potentially fatal cardiac event”.
Jakub Moder continues to be sidelined with a long-term knee injury.
Brighton Starting 11 (3-4-3): Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March, Mac Allister, Caicedo, Estupinan; Gross, Welbeck, Trossard.
Bench: Steele, Lamptey, Colwill, Lallana, Sarmiento, Undav, Mitoma, Gilmour, Turns.
Few people in the world would be better placed to predict the outcome of this contest than Benham or Bloom. However, if Brentford make the same egregious errors as they did against Newcastle last weekend – gaffes which left Thomas Frank “fuming” with “anger bursting all around” – it wouldn’t take refined statistical analysis to plump for a Brighton success.
Even if the Bees do tighten up, Brighton are favourites as the team’s adaptation to Roberto De Zerbi’s minor tweaks has extended the impressive performances which Graham Potter fostered.
Prediction: Brentford 1-2 Brighton