The return of the Premier League kicks off with an all-London affair with 10th-placed Brentford hosting 4th-placed Tottenham. It should be a battle between two talented English strikers in Ivan Toney and Harry Kane.
You can crack down on all the stats below for goals, shots, corners, fouls, cards and brand new passing in order to pick some winning selections for your bet builders. You can also access my Stats Pack Guide to help you out by clicking here.
Thomas Frank must be tempted to keep with the same starting XI that put in a performance of a lifetime at the Etihad before the break for the World Cup. Brentford beat Man City 2-1 thanks to a brace from Ivan Toney, the second coming in the 98th minute.
On the topic of Ivan Toney, he’s recently been charged with yet more breaches of the FA’s betting rules, however he seemingly remains fine to start matches for the time being.
A recognisable front three of Son, Kane and Kulusevski should line up for Spurs, with the former two coming back from their efforts at the World Cup. Kane will be looking to bounce back from that penalty miss against teammate Hugo Lloris.
The World Cup has led to several Tottenham players missing out on Boxing Day. Bentancur and Richarlison picked up injuries, and Romero, Lloris and Perisic were involved in either of the final and third place play-off so it’s likely neither of those will feature again this year.
Brentford are having success in front of goal this season, they’re averaging 1.53 goals P/90 in the Premier League which is outperforming their expected goals. It helps when you have a natural goalscorer like Ivan Toney up front.
The Bees have scored 23 goals across their 15 league matches so far and that’s a larger total than both Manchester United and Chelsea to provide some perspective.
Brentford matches are often filled with excitement. A standout stat is that they’re conceding nearly 6 shots on target P/90 so you’d expect several chances for the likes of Kane and Son based on that. With that said, Man City managed 6 on target last time out and were beaten by Brentford.
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham have been entertaining on the goals front so far this season. They’re averaging 2.07 goals P/90 for themselves, and the 1.40 conceded P/90 is a statistic that will give Brentford some enthusiasm.
Tottenham are actually the goalsiest side in the Premier League if you take away Man City who are ridiculous quite frankly.
Spurs are averaging 3.47 goals per game and Brentford’s average of 3.20 isn’t too bad either. What’s interesting is Brentford and Tottenham have both had over 1.5 goals in 87% of their league matches which are the joint-best records in the Premier League.
Player shots and shots on target
Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbuemo are the danger men for Brentford and they’re more than capable of hurting Tottenham or at the very least having efforts on goal against them.
Toney and Mbuemo are both averaging at least a couple of shots per 90 minutes with the Englishman being the only Brentford player above one on target P/90. It’s worth remembering Toney is the Bees’ penalty taker, and a good one at that.
Shock horror, both Harry Kane and Heung-min Son lead the way for Spurs. Their numbers aren’t that different, for Kane it’s 3.51 shots P/90 and it’s 3.16 for Son. Both of them averaging well over one shots on target per game also.
Other standouts are Ryan Sessegnon who’s generated some decent numbers for a full back, it’s just whether he gets the nod over Doherty or not. 2.16 shots P/90 with 0.68 on target is more than respectable.
Kulusevski’s couple of shots per outing is an interesting one. He’ll be desperate for a big performance given the absence of Richarlison, so the game against Brentford has presented a big opportunity. He should be fresh having not featured at World Cup also.
Player goals and assists
Ivan Toney is having an amazing season personally and should feel hard done by having not had the opportunity to experience Qatar. He’s been scored 10 goals so far and has provided an additional couple of assists across 12 appearances.
Only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane are outperforming Toney on the goalscoring front, but he’s managed to outscore the likes of Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez, Gabriel Jesus and rival Callum Wilson.
Spurs should be thankful that Harry Kane is having no issues with finding the back of the net this season, because their next best goal contributors are holding midfielders Bentancur and Hojbjerg. The former not being involved today through injury.
Kane has scored 12 goals in 15 appearances, and he’s been carrying Heung-Min Son who’s having an awful campaign by his standards. One thing for sure though, the Korean will explode into life and form eventually. It’s inevitable.
As well as the goals, Ivan Toney leads the way for cards having been booked 5 times and served a suspension already. What stands out is his 1.64 fouls P/90 which is down to his willingness to close down and try win back possession.
I think strikers are underrated when it comes to fouls, especially a physical one like Toney. Opportunities for fouls come from pressing and closing down, as well as challenging for the ball in the air.
Kane, Emerson and Son are the Spurs players who can draw fouls out of their opponents on Boxing Day. While Emerson Royal isn’t very good, he does like to bomb forward on the right side of Spurs’ defence and could be involved in an interesting battle with Rico Henry going both ways.
Match-ups to watch:
Rico Henry vs Emerson Royal
Ethan Pinnock vs Harry Kane
Ben Mee vs Heung-Min Son
Similar to Ivan Toney, Kane leads the way for bookings and it’s because of his nature of closing down as he’s quite dirty to be honest. He’s often leaving one on opponents, especially when frustration kicks in.
Evidently, the real space to watch is in midfield with likely Onyeka and Janelt starting. Other than that, the backline will have some struggles dealing with Toney and Mbuemo on the counter.
Yves Bissouma vs Vitaly Janelt
Clement Lenglet vs Ivan Toney
Emerson Royal vs Bryan Mbuemo
Brentford are averaging 44% possession per game this season which is quite spooky considering the fact that they had 44% possession when they hosted Spurs at the Brentford Community Stadium back in April.
Ben Mee and Mathias Jensen are the only Brentford players to average over 50 passes per 90 minutes. Mee being the man who dictates things from the back, and Jensen who’s in central midfield and a playmaker from deep. He’s been described as having his passing ability as his greatest asset.
Two of Tottenham’s three centre halves rank the highest for passes, coming as no surprise as that’s where most of the attacks in football begin these days. Eric Dier is the only player to have breached 70+ P/90, but Lenglet isn’t that far behind him.
Hojbjerg is great for passes because he sees a lot of the ball in any game as the enforcer in midfield and someone who drops deep to receive the ball from the defence.