The Premier League kicks off early this week, as Watford make the short trip to Brentford on Friday night

Two teams trying to fend off the threat of relegation meet on Friday night, as Brentford host Watford when the Premier League weekend kicks off early.

Thomas Frank’s side have been struggling of late after a decent start, and Patrick Bamford’s late goal at Elland Road last weekend denied them what would have been just their second win in eight games, and had them nine points clear of the bottom three.

Since Claudio Ranieri came in at Vicarage Road earlier in the season, Watford have won just two of the Italian’s eight games, but both in memorable style. A 5-2 win at Goodison Park was followed up a couple of weeks later by a 4-1 win over Manchester United, a result which earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the sack.

They’ll both be available for selection again this weekend, but there are at least six missing for the short trip to Brentford. Ben Foster has a groin injury, Adam Masina, Nicolas N’Koulou and Peter Etebo are out with thigh issues, and Kwadwo Baah and Ismaila Sarr are both out as well.

Ken Sema could make it after a knee problem, but the game is likely to come too soon for Francisco Sierralta, who is scheduled to return to training next week, following a hamstring injury.

As for Brentford, they’ve got issues of their own, with seven definitely missing this one. Kristoffer Ajer and Mathias Jorgensen have hamstring problems, Ivan Toney missed last weekend’s draw with Leeds because of a positive COVID test, and Sergi Canos is banned after a fifth yellow card of the season.

There’s also the longer-term problems that David Raya, Julian Jeanvier and Josh DaSilva are battling, so they’re all out too.

It’s fair to say that meetings between these two sides are quite rare, with Friday’s game the first ever top flight game between the pair. The first ever game was just over 100 years ago, when Watford won 1-0 in a Third Division South match in 1921.

In fact, Watford have a strong record against The Bees, with Brentford only winning once in the last 18 meetings, a run that stretches back to 1977. That Brentford win was the last time the teams met though, with Marcus Forss and Ivan Toney scoring in a 2-0 win behind closed doors in the Championship.

If Brentford can repeat that scoreline on Friday, they’ll move into the top half before a trio of rivals have the chance to nudge them back into the bottom half later in the weekend. Anything other than a defeat for Watford would mean that it’s impossible for them to drop into the bottom three, and a two-goal win will take them above Southampton and Leeds into 15th.

Brentford take on Watford at the Brentford Community Stadium on Friday, December 10th. Kick-off is at 8pm.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

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Marley Anderson

Marley Anderson

Head of Social Media at Sport Social
Social media for Sport Social. The man behind the memes. Regular guest on Football Social Daily, usually bemoaning Steve Bruce and his beloved back five system. Cumbrian born, Manchester drawn.
Follow @91Marley on Twitter

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