Tom Hancock takes a deeper look at the facts and figures behind matchday 24.
33%: The amount of play in the final third for Wycombe – and in the defensive third for Brentford
Wycombe may be bottom of the Championship table, but we do (jointly) lead the league in one respect: action in the opposition’s third. Along with Middlesbrough, we have 33% of our possession at the top end of the pitch. That’s not surprising considering, statistically, we’re the most direct side in the division, attempting more long balls relative to our possession than any other team – something Brentford didn’t cope especially well with in December’s 0-0 draw at Adams Park. With Uche Ikpeazu now giving us added thrust in attack, we’ll be hoping to give the Bees backline another awkward afternoon.
Brentford, on the other hand, have more of the ball in their own third than the rest of the Championship, reflecting their commitment to slow build-up and playing out from the back. These two sides could scarcely be any more different stylistically. There will be few, if any, bigger footballing culture clashes in the second tier this weekend.
Peterborough may have missed out on the League One play-offs last season, but Ivan Toney, like Wycombe, earned a place in the second tier, making a big money move to Brentford in August – and making his debut in our Carabao Cup Round One shootout defeat. The 24-year-old may be on a run of seven games without scoring in all competitions – his longest drought in almost two years – but 16 goals are enough to put him level with Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong in a typically close race for the Golden Boot.
That said, he didn’t muster a single shot on target in the reverse fixture and appeared to let his frustration show at the end, resulting in a booking – one of four yellow cards he’s this season, which, when added to his sending off against Luton last week, gives him the worst disciplinary record of any striker in the league.
The Blues, meanwhile, will hope that the impact of Uche Ikpeazu and, more recently, Admiral Muskwe – who could make his Wycombe league debut on Saturday – can bring about more goals in the second half of the campaign. Only Sheffield Wednesday have found the back of the net fewer times in 2020/21, although we can take heart from the fact that we’ve registered in six straight matches in league and cup, our longest streak since a run starting with last February’s 2-0 win at Bolton and ending with the aforementioned Carabao Cup tie.
Fans of omens may be pleased to know that we’ve scored on our last six trips to face the Bees (five at Griffin Park before that first visit to the new Brentford Community stadium), stretching back to a 1-1 League Two draw in April 2004, when Nathan Tyson’s opener was cancelled out by future Wanderer Matt Harrold.
1: Player in the current squads who’s played for both clubs
The list of players to have represented Wycombe and Brentford is so long that you could name one for every minute of Saturday’s game (maybe… I haven’t actually counted, but there are a LOT of them). Darius Charles is the only one at the moment, though. The Mango Man made 42 appearances for the Bees, having begun his career in West London in 2004. There are also three players in the Chairboys ranks formerly of Brentford’s local rivals: David Wheeler and Giles Phillips were both at QPR, while Dennis Adeniran started out at Fulham.