Scout report: How Sheffield Wednesday can exploit Brentford's weak links and claim a vital win in battle for promotion

Sheffield Wednesday have a prime opportunity to move into the play-off places this weekend, when they take on Brentford at Hillsborough on Saturday.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:32 pm
(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

The Owls are looking to build on their 3-1 victory over Charlton Athletic, as they look to get some more precious points on the table in the run-up to Christmas. Here's our rundown on what to expect for this weekend's visitors...

What's the Bees form been like?

After a rather sluggish start to the season, Brentford are really starting to hit their stride, and have won six out of their last ten matches.

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Their confidence couldn't be higher at the moment, and they’re positively buzzing humiliating newly-promoted Luton Town in a 7-0 shellacking at Griffin Park last weekend.

Who are the danger men that the Owls need to watch out for?

Affectionately nicknamed 'BMW', Brentford's frontline of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins are among the most formidable attacking units in the division.

Watkins, in particular, is a potent threat, and his 12 goals in 19 Championship outings so far this season have seen him attract attention from a number of Premier League clubs. Assists are spread pretty widely across the team, with nine players chipping in at least one thus far in their league campaign.

Danish midfielder Mathias Jensen, formerly of Celta Vigo, is in a rich vein of form, and will be looking to carve the Owls' defence apart with some precision passing.

And what about the manager?

Thomas Frank cut his managerial teeth in his native Denmark with their national youth teams, before taking the reins at top tier side Brondby. He got the Brentford job after being promoted from his next role as assistant head coach, following Dean Smith's departure last October.

The 46-year-old is yet to win any silverware as a manager, but ensured that Brondby qualified for the Europa League two seasons on the bounce between 2013 and 2015.

The style of play?

Their manager favours a fairly straight-forward style of football, but with lots of tempo and intensity to unsettle their opponents.

Last season, Brentford dynamism saw them play some dazzling football, but neglecting their defensive duties saw them blow their promotion chances.

They've now got the joint-best defensive record in the division alongside Nottingham Forest, with their switch to a back four at the start of the season, and the edition of Pontus Jansson, really tightening things up; they're looking a far more complete unit in the 2019/20 campaign.

Any weaknesses to exploit?

Inconsistency on the road remains a bit of a problem for the Bees, who have won five and lost five on their travels this term - it was also an issue last season, where they lost 11 matches away from Griffin Park.

35% of the goals Brentford have conceded this season have been from set-pieces, and this will surely be an area that Garry Monk will be hoping to exploit this weekend. On top of this, a key weakness of the Frank's side is their tendency to struggle with balls played over the top of their high defensive line.

While they've tightened up this season, Barry Bannan would do well to try and replicate the stunning, through-ball assist he provided for Steven Fletcher in last season's 2-0 win against the Bees at Hillsborough.