PREVIEW | BRENTFORD VS EVERTON

Everton will make only their second ever trip to the Brentford Community Stadium to face the West London outfit on Saturday.

They will be keen for a happier outing than the last one when a 1-0 defeat culminated in a toxic reception for the Everton players from the away support.

The Blues still find themselves without a league win this campaign but were victorious against Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

Meanwhile their opponents have enjoyed a mixed start to the season but did thrash a disjointed Manchester United side in their last home match.

 

The centre forward problem

The big question on everyone’s lips will be if Neal Maupay will be able to play for the Toffees in this match.

The French striker looks set to complete his move from Brighton & Hove Albion but it remains to be seen if he has been registered in time to be available for selection.

However, even if he is indeed available, it looks unlikely Frank Lampard will pick the 26-year-old against his old club, as he hasn’t played a minute for the Seagulls this campaign with Graham Potter preferring Danny Welbeck.

Therefore, and it will prompt groans from the majority of Evertonians, it would appear Salomon Rondon will be given one more runout after a performance against Fleetwood Town that can be described as nothing short of disgraceful.

However, a big boost is the confirmation that Dominic Calvert-Lewin will return to training next week although he is unlikely to be available for the Merseyside Derby on September 3.

 

One to watch – Alex Iwobi

It’s about time one of these previews gives credit to just how much Alex Iwobi has come on in 2022.

He was one of the most heavily-criticised players for his first two and a half years on Merseyside and seemed bereft of confidence by the time Lampard was appointed at the end of January this year.

But the arrival of the former Chelsea midfielder has seen a truly revitalised player emerge in Iwobi and now he is the Toffees’ standout performer every single week, with his relentless running, ability to spread the play and tricky dribbling.

He is still looking to add more goals and assists to his game, but the anticipated strengthening of the Blues’ attack will undoubtedly help that along.

If Everton are to get a result against the Bees, the Nigerian will almost certainly have played a huge role in it.

 

One to watch – Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney is everything the Toffees are currently lacking and has been linked with the club once or twice this summer without any real conviction.

The centre-forward is a physical threat whilst also being relatively light on his feet and has an impressive eye for goal, as shown by his two strikes in Brentford’s first three matches of the season.

He also scored the game’s only goal, albeit from the spot, in his side’s victory over the Blues in this fixture last season.

Conor Coady, James Tarkowski and Mason Holgate will have their work cut out keeping the 26-year-old quiet on Saturday.

 

Final thoughts

Brentford are a good side, exceedingly well-run and well-coached and have made a decent start to the season.

But they are still there for the taking.

Everton played them three times last season, losing the aforementioned away fixture but then hammered them 4-1 in the FA Cup in Lampard’s first match in charge.

They also looked to be heading to victory in the return home fixture in the league before a Jarrad Branthwaite red card derailed the plan and they ended up slumping to a 3-2 defeat.

The Toffees are desperate for a league win and despite their lack of firepower upfront, there is no reason why this clash with Thomas Frank’s side won’t yield one.

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