Brentford return to Premier League action with a trip to Southampton on Saturday afternoon after their midweek match against Manchester United was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak among the Red Devils.
A 2-1 victory in front of a boisterous Brentford Community Stadium against fellow promoted side Watford eased the Bees further away from the Premier League plughole last Friday night. Thomas Frank’s side will have waited eight days to resume their top flight duties, an age amid the densely packed fixture list, especially during the festive period.
Frank did not disclose which players were among the 13 that have tested positive among club staff, so with that in mind, here’s the Brentford XI that we believe should start as long as they are free to do so.
Alvaro Fernandez (GK) – While David Raya’s stand-in doesn’t quite fulfil the dynamic passing and front-footed sweeping of his compatriot, Fernandez has been faced with a torrent of higher quality efforts on his goal.
Charlie Goode (CB) – Gradually leaning closer towards performances that reflect his surname.
Pontus Jansson (CB) – Became Brentford’s 12th Premier League scorer of the season against Watford with his first goal in 73 appearances for the club last Friday.
Vitaly Janelt (CB) – Shining from an unnatural centre back berth against the Hornets last week, Janelt may well have to reprise that role in Ethan Pinnock’s continued absence.
Sergio Canos (RWB) – Restored to his shackles at wingback – a position Frank had to convince his natural winger to play in the first place – after scoring in his short cameo let off the leash up front. May soon have more competition for his place in the form of Vanderson.
Shandon Baptiste (CM) – The all-action midfielder scored his first league goal outside the third tier in Brentford’s last away trip.
Christian Norgaard (CM) – The player tasked with ending opposition attacks and starting Brentford’s own has been pivotal from his midfield pivot.
Mathias Jensen (CM) – Brentford‘s most prolific chance creator (17 key passes) despite making just five Premier League starts does rely on set pieces to carve out openings.
Rico Henry (LWB) – With just a pair of strikes, Henry – distressingly – is Brentford’s joint-top scorer of non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season.
Bryan Mbeumo (ST) – Only three Premier League clubs – excluding Brentford themselves – have hit the woodwork more often than Mbeumo on his own this season, striking the goal frame a sickening seven times.
Ivan Toney (ST) – Set to be restored from his Covid-enforced absence, Brentford have collected four points from the two games their talisman missed but will be thrilled by his return – in both boxes – nevertheless.