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Preview: Bournemouth vs. Brentford - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bournemouth vs. Brentford - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Championship clash between Bournemouth and Brentford, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Bournemouth and Brentford square off in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final at the Vitality Stadium on Monday evening.

While the home side ended the regular season with three successive defeats, the visitors are unbeaten in 12 matches in the second tier.

Match preview

Given the manner of their defeat to Fulham in last season's final, everyone associated with Brentford are aware of the highs and lows which come with competing in the playoffs.

They also know that form could count for little, and rival teams will not be too concerned that the Bees picked up 24 points from their final 12 games of the regular season.

Thomas Frank's men are on a run of four successive victories for the loss of just one goal, a period which includes a 1-0 triumph over their next opponents.

The biggest plus for Brentford ahead of this contest is their return to form in the final third with five strikes coming against Watford and Bristol City.

Two of those efforts came from Ivan Toney, who ended the season with 31 goals, but wideman Bryan Mbeumo is potentially the player to watch after three strikes in four outings.

In sharp contrast, Bournemouth completely lost their way during the closing games of the season, following defeat by Brentford with losses against Wycombe Wanderers and Stoke City.

Jonathan Woodgate took the opportunity to rotate his Cherries squad, but the former defender will be concerned with the performance produced in the most recent of those fixtures.

On some level, Woodgate may be relieved that Bournemouth will be regarded as outsiders in this tie as the club look to earn an immediate return to the top flight.

Nevertheless, supporters are aware that another year in the Championship could lead to the departures of key men, something which they need to avoid if they are to make progress as a club.

Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld and Dominic Solanke, both with 15 goals apiece, have not contributed in their last two appearances.

Bournemouth Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L

Brentford Championship form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Despite starting the last game on the substitutes' bench, Mbeumo is expected to take the place of Brentford teammate Sergi Canos at left wing-back.

With Henrik Dalsgaard, Rico Henry and Josh Dasilva all still absent through injury, that could prove to be the only change to the team.

Woodgate will give more thought to making changes to his Bournemouth XI, particularly in midfield where he has a number of options.

Jack Wilshere could take the place of Ben Pearson, while Jack Stacey is an alternative to Adam Smith at right-back.

Junior Stanislas is pushing to return to the squad after a hamstring injury.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Stacey, Cook, Carter-Vickers, Kelly; Wilshere, Lerma; Brooks, Billing, Groenveld; Solanke

Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Jansson, Norgaard, Pinnock; Rasmussen, Janelt, Jensen, Mbeumo; Fosu-Henry; Forss, Toney

We say: Bournemouth 1-1 Brentford

Given the contrasting form of the two sides, there can be little doubting that Brentford are the favourites for this contest. Nevertheless, Bournemouth will revert to their strongest team for this game and with the stakes getting higher, we expect an improved performance from their experienced players.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:curl

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