Norwich City and Brentford will both endeavour to end torrid winless runs when they renew hostilities at Carrow Road for Saturday afternoon’s Premier League clash.
The Canaries head into the weekend on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in the FA Cup, while Thomas Frank’s side most recently lost 2-0 to Newcastle United.
As high as Liverpool’s morale was on Wednesday night, a raft of enforced changes from their gruelling 120-minute EFL Cup final showdown with Chelsea may have led to a slight sense of hope from the travelling Norwich fans that an FA Cup upset was on the cards.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s second-string XI ensured that the German would take charge of an FA Cup quarter-final for the first time in his Anfield career, as Takumi Minamino bagged a brace for himself in the first half before Lukas Rupp’s thunderbolt of a consolation.
The Canaries were certainly never expected to go all the way in the FA Cup, and Dean Smith can at least now focus all his efforts on the impending battle for survival, with Norwich rock bottom of the rankings with 17 points after 26 games.
Norwich also sit five points adrift of safety and have played two more games than 17th-placed Everton, so it is certainly a pessimistic outlook for the Premier League’s basement side, but 18th-placed Burnley and 19th-placed Watford face challenging fixtures with Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
Smith’s side can therefore count the visit of Brentford as a prime opportunity to put some pressure on their relegation rivals and potentially climb up to 19th, but they have lost their last four on the bounce in all competitions and are the only team in the top flight yet to hit the 10-goal mark on home soil.
Brentford manager Thomas Frank on February 26, 2022© Reuters
Roars rang out across the Brentford Community Stadium as Christian Eriksen returned to Premier League action less than a year after nearly losing his life at Euro 2020, but as far as the football was concerned, there was very little for the Bees to cheer.
A resurgent Newcastle United leapfrogged their lowly opponents in the table with a comfortable 2-0 success over Frank’s side last Saturday – although Brentford’s cause was not helped by an 11th-minute red card to Josh Dasilva – as Joelinton’s header and Joe Willock’s well-taken goal saw the Magpies storm to a vital three points.
After such a bright start to their inaugural Premier League campaign, Brentford’s first season in the big time is now turning into a nightmare, as the Bees have slipped to 15th in the table having played more games than most of the sides around them (27) and are now just three points clear of the dotted line.
Winless since a 4-1 FA Cup success at Port Vale back in January, Brentford have suffered eight defeats from their last nine in all competitions – the only outlier being a goalless stalemate with Crystal Palace – and not since October have the Bees won or conceded fewer than two goals away from home in the Premier League.
Furthermore, Norwich ran out 2-1 winners at the Brentford Community Stadium earlier this season, with that result stretching the Canaries’ unbeaten run in this fixture to six games since the Bees won by the same scoreline at Carrow Road back in December 2017.