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Brentford vs Brighton match preview: Will the Bees sting the Seagulls?

As Roberto de Zerbi’s Brighton prepare for their match against Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium, the importance of the tie is not lost upon the Bees’ manager Thomas Frank.

When asked about Brighton’s talent and ability, Frank didn’t shy away from heaping praise on the Seagulls. “It’s difficult to get the ball from them when they are on it. That’s their key thing. I’ve got many things [to say], but that’s the standout area.”

Frank’s players impressed and dominated against Manchester United last Saturday, but earning three points in a single game has become a precious commodity for the Bees – who are only five points clear of the relegation zone at the moment.

Against the Red Devils, they recorded 31 shots, their highest ever in a Premier League game, and were in the driving seat until second-half stoppage time. In the end, a 1-1 draw tasted bittersweet, with Frank even saying that he may have lost his faith in the footballing gods had United snatched all three points.

On the other hand, Brighton come into the match on the back of a 2-1 away defeat at Anfield against Manchester United’s sworn rivals, Liverpool. 

As such, Wednesday’s game at home presents a blank slate for the Bees to write their top-flight fortunes on, and Frank has issued a clarion call to Brentford fans for support from the stands.

“Our fans were absolutely fantastic (vs Manchester United). And we need them again massively for Wednesday,” he said.

Brighton are in ninth place in the Premier League with 42 points, and have two wins and a draw in their last five top-flight matches. In stark contrast, Brentford have won only two Premier League games since this year started.

The last time these two sides met, the Seagulls staged a comeback win with Pascal Gross scoring and assisting Jack Hinshelwood, after Bryan Mbeumo had given Frank’s side the lead from 12 yards.

And ahead of the reverse fixture in London, Frank praised Gross’ impact for the Brighton team set-up in the Premier League over recent seasons. 

“I think (Pascal) Gross has been a very good player for Brighton. I think he has been maybe one of their most important players for quite a few seasons,” said the Danish manager.

He knows very well that Brighton’s strength lies in their build-up momentum from the back, and the manner in which De Zerbi’s side orchestrate his instructions on the pitch. 

“Brighton are very clear in their build-up; their phase one structure. We need to do a lot of off-the-ball work, but we are not afraid of doing that,” said Frank.

He also provided injury updates on centre-back Ethan Pinnock and team captain Christian Nørgaard, saying that both are progressing well. He added that attacker Bryan Mbeumo is in contention to start the game on Wednesday night at home.

Brighton’s recent domestic campaign downturn has coincided with their involvement in the Europa League this season, and Frank will be hoping that the Bees can convert the absence of European football at the Gtech Community Stadium into a tangible advantage against De Zerbi’s players.

Just a year ago, these two sides played out a thrilling, last-gasp 3-3 draw at the Amex Stadium, which included a 90th-minute penalty from Alexis Mac Allister. Quizzed about the result this time, Frank said: “I would love to play as good a game with us winning 3-2. That will be the perfect plan for me.”

Following the match against Brighton at home, Brentford enter a crucial stretch of fixtures. Next up is a trip to Birmingham to face Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, followed by matches against fellow strugglers Everton, Luton Town and Sheffield United that could have monumental ramifications for them this season.

Brentford need to urgently start registering wins in the Premier League as they enter the business end of the season – which will decide if they ultimately stay in the top-flight or slip into the abyss of second-division football from next term.

And, Frank is excited by the prospect that the game against Brighton brings with it. “I’m pretty sure it will be quite an entertaining game to watch. It’s a team and a manager I admire a lot.

Brentford vs Brighton match preview
The Brentford logo on display at the club’s training grounds facility

“There’s a big task ahead of us, but we are ready for it. And we will go for the win.”

Author

  • Chaitanya Kohli

    Sports journalist with a keen interest in covering stories about European club football and the history of the beautiful game. Passionate Barcelona and Messi supporter. Perennially interested in bringing out inspiring stories about Indian football on the global stage.