Aston Villa will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they head to the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday to take on Brentford.
The visitors, who are currently 12th in the table, suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea on Boxing Day, while Brentford lost 1-0 to Manchester City on Wednesday.
Brentford have not lost to Villa in any competition since February 1953, and the points were shared in a 1-1 draw earlier this season. Villa will fancy their chances of returning to winning ways here, but we believe that Brentford will have enough to secure a share of the spoils in front of their own supporters.
Brentford have won five, drawn five and lost eight of their 18 Premier League matches this season to collect 20 points, which has left them in 14th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone, so it has been a successful campaign to date for the promoted club.
Thomas Frank's side took four points from their two games against Leeds United and Watford earlier this month but have lost their last two against Brighton & Hove Albion and Man City without finding the back of the net.
Brentford will travel to Anfield to face Liverpool in their next league match after this one, while they will face Man City at the Etihad Stadium on February 9, and it will be fascinating to see where the Bees are in the table by the time that February rolls around.
Frank's team picked up a point in a 1-1 draw with Villa in the reverse match earlier this season, while they recorded a 1-0 victory when the two teams last locked horns in Middlesex back in February 2019.
Villa, meanwhile, had been due to take on Leeds United at Elland Road on December 28, but the match was postponed due to coronavirus issues in the home side's squad.
As a result, Steven Gerrard's side have not been in action since suffering a 3-1 home loss to Chelsea on Boxing Day, and a total of 22 points from 18 matches has left them in 12th position in the table.
Villa have shown huge improvement since Gerrard's arrival as head coach, winning four of their seven matches, but they have struggled for consistency for much of the campaign and will take on Manchester United in the FA Cup and Premier League respectively in the middle of January.
The visitors have been victorious in two of their last three away league fixtures, beating Crystal Palace and Norwich City, and they are only three points behind eighth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers on the same number of matches (18), so a win here could propel them up the table.
Villa have not actually beaten Brentford in the league since February 1947, with the Bees enjoying the better of the previous Championship meetings between the two teams.
Brentford boss Frank revealed during Friday's press conference that Bryan Mbuemo is "tough and go" for the contest, while Kristoffer Ajer could potentially make the bench after a period out.
Rico Henry is unavailable, though, and the match is also expected to come too soon for Vitaly Janelt, who is still recovering from coronavirus.
The Bees will also be missing Mathias Jorgensen, David Raya, Charlie Goode, Tariqe Fosu and Josh Dasilva, so Frank does not have huge options for change, but Christian Norgaard is available following suspension, while Sergi Canos is expected to earn a recall in a wide area.
As for Villa, Tyrone Mings is suspended, so either Kortney Hause or Axel Tuanzebe will come into the back four, while Leon Bailey and Marvelous Nakamba will miss the match through injury.
Ashley Young is also a doubt due to a fractured toe, but John McGinn is available and will return in the middle of the park, while Morgan Sanson should also retain his spot in midfield.
Gerrard has decisions to make in the final third of the field when it comes to his formation, but Ollie Watkins is a certain starter, while Danny Ings and Emiliano Buendia should also feature for the visitors.
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Fernandez; Pinnock, Jansson, Sorensen; Roerslev, Baptiste, Norgaard, Onyeka, Canos; Mbuemo, Toney
Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Hause, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Sanson; Buendia, Watkins, Ings