Brighton vs Brentford: Returning Toney can make the difference

Brentford travel south to Brighton on Boxing Day in a mid-table clash. Ben Steele thinks the visitors are good value...

Another late show on the South Coast

Brighton and Brentford round out the Boxing Day fixtures at the Amex and if their recent games are anything to go by we can expect late drama to end the day.

Former Brentford striker, Neal Maupay has scored injury time equalisers in two of Brighton's last three games while the Bees scored in the 85th and 96th minute as they beat Watford 2-1 last time out.

Sunday's visitors also conceded a late goal to Leeds in a 2-2 draw earlier in December, so could well see a repeat of the reverse fixture between these two sides. Where Leandro Trossard scored with virtually the last kick of the game to secure the Seagulls a win in West London.

In fact, Brighton's season could be pretty well summarised by their last meeting with Brentford; a game that saw very few chances created by either side, just 11 shots were taken, as Graham Potter's men were solid in defence but lack a consistent threat in attack.

I'd expect a similar pattern on Boxing Day with all the drama coming late in the game Under 0.5 goals in the first half is well priced @ 2.75 .

Clinical Toney gives Bees their sting

Brentford have had their last couple of games postponed due to a Covid outbreak in the squad and even before the outbreak hit the squad top scorer Ivan Toney had missed the last two games after testing positive.

During that spell Bryan Mbeumo has led the line with a decent level of success but the return of Toney will really give the Premier League debutants an extra edge. Brighton are well known for their defensive organisation but with Lewis Dunk, Joel Veltman and Adam Webster all injured and Yves Bissouma suspended the visitors will fancy their chances.

Toney has scored five times in the 2020/21 season, following on from 31 goals in Brentford's promotion campaign, and he has cemented himself as Thomas Frank's go to frontman.

With chances at a premium at the Amex it could come down to which side has the most clinical finisher in their lineup. I'd argue that the inclusion of Toney means Brentford are that side and against a side who haven't won since September, 4.4, is too good a price to turn down.

Official could leave either side could paying the penalty

Penalties have been a major talking point over the last few weeks, with eight awarded in a single weekend at the start of December, and Boxing Day could well see more added to the tally.

Only Chelsea (five) and Leeds (four) have been the beneficiary of more spot kicks than Brentford and Brighton this season, with both sides being awarded three each. In addition referee David Coote has pointed to the spot three times this term, only Darren England has more.

When fit, Toney (2/1 to score anytime) takes the penalties for Brentford and his manager recently described him as "the best penalty taker in the world" so you'd fancy him to step up if his side pick up their fourth spot kick of the year.

I'd expect Maupay, (6/4 anytime) to step up if it is the Seagulls who earn themselves a penalty.

With VAR seeming to be more lenient on the awarding of penalties in recent weeks 15/8 for a penalty to be awarded it worth a look but given that none of the six combined the two sides have won have been missed either the extra value of a penalty to be scored @ 13/5 is well worth a look.

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