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Brentford may have won their last four games of the regular season, including a 1-0 win at Bournemouth, but that is just classic Brentford that they playing well when the pressure is off. Thomas Frank’s side had an excellent opportunity to seal automatic promotion this season, but a series of disappointing draws against sides in the lower half of the table meant that they couldn’t catch Watford with four games to go.
Once the pressure was lifted off their shoulders, their returned to their flawless winning ways, securing a series of impressive victories in the closing days of the campaign. They have shown time-and-time-again over the past two seasons that they simply cannot handle pressure.
They bottled the automatic promotion race last season after working so hard to reel West Brom in and then lost the Play-Off final to Fulham despite being the heavily fancied favourites.
They even made hard work out of a plucky Swansea side in the Play-Off semi-final last term and had to overturn a first-leg deficit. They may have to do the same here against a Bournemouth side that has been gathering momentum throughout 2021.
Jonathan Woodgate’s appointment has been the catalyst for the Cherries, who languished outside the Play-Offs when he took over. They subsequently went on a seven-game winning run and wrapped up their place in the top six with several games to spare. Bournemouth may have lost their final three games of the season, but they were clearly taking their foot off the peddle ahead of the Play-Offs and can cause damage against a jittery Brentford side.
Monday 18:00 – Bournemouth v Brentford
Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football
Brentford and Bournemouth are statistically the most exciting teams to watch in the Championship. No team has recorded a higher combination of goals scored and conceded than these two.
Brentford, the highest scorers in the division with 79 goals from 46 games, have been involved in a whopping 121 goals this season. Bournemouth, on the other hand, are the third-highest scorers in the division and have been involved in 119 goals.
Brentford have conceded just under one goal per game on average this season, compared to Bournemouth, who have conceded an average of exactly one goal per game. With swashbuckling attacks and less than impressive defences, it’s hard to see how both sides keep a clean sheet on Monday night – even in what should be a cagey affair.
Brentford may have emerged victors when these two sides met at the Vitality Stadium last month, but it mattered little in the context of the season. Watford’s win over Millwall on the same day consigned Brentford to the Play-Offs, while Bournemouth had already made sure of their place in the top six.
Therefore, it can’t be seen as a dress rehearsal for this fixture, which will be a completely different game. Monday night’s first leg is likely to be far more nervy and error-strewn, and as Brentford have shown in the past that they don’t cope with pressure on big nights.
They demonstrated that in their end-of-season defeats to Stoke and Barnsley last year, while it was on display again this season when they let leads slip against the likes of Nottingham Forest and Derby when the door to automatic promotion stood wide open. They undeniably have the talent up front to catch Bournemouth out, but they may just be edged out in a narrow defeat.
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