Kickoff is at 2:45 pm ET Tuesday at Wembley Stadium.
Fulham leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 26 goals were the joint-most in the Championship and more than three times as many as Tom Cairney, second amongst the Cottagers. He’s healthy for the first time after missing the semis with a hamstring injury.
Brentford’s Ollie Watkins scored the same amount of goals as Mitrovic, tying for the league lead, and he’s joined by Said Benrahma’s 17 goals (fifth in the league) and Bryan Mbeumo (eighth). The latter have combined for 16 assists, too. The Bees can sting.
Brentford won a even-straight league games to surge into the mix for automatic promotion but lost their last two, meeting Fulham on 81 points.
As for the Cottagers, Fulham finished the season on a seven-match unbeaten run which included five wins
Brentford overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit to oust Swansea City in the semifinal, while Fulham’s first leg win was enough to outlast Cardiff City’s strong second leg in their semi.
Odds and ends
Brentford beat Fulham twice, 1-0 at Griffin Park and 2-0 at Craven Cottage.
The Bees are favored to win the match at +108 odds, while Fulham carries +265 odds of a win.
Mitrovic’s availability is huge for a Fulham side hoping to break down the league’s second-stingiest defense. Brentford feels like it’s the superior side but Fulham has been here and Cairney even scored the goal to beat Aston Villa in the 2017-18 playoff final. That experience is an X-factor, but we’ll still call Brentford 2-1 winners.
Who is best set up, aligned, prepared, and built for success?
There are certainly different questions to all parts of that question. Let’s dive into it.
Status: Down 3-0 to Bayern Munich after first leg at home
Next match: 3 pm ET Saturday at Allianz Arena
It’s not happening. We don’t like sounding definitive, especially with Christian Pulisic involved, but Bayern Munich conceding four times in a 3-goal loss at home seems bonkers even after a couple of weeks without game action.
The Blues are capable of scoring against anyone, yes, but this would be a bigger turnaround than even Liverpool versus Barcelona.
Longest of long shots.
Status: Level 1-1 with Olympiacos after first leg away
Next match: 3 pm ET Thursday at the Molineux
Should Wolves get past Greek powers Olympiacos, they’ll face either Sevilla or Roma in a real scrap to meet the semifinals.
Wolves feel capable of beating anyone in the field, but this path is far from easy. Still, both Wolves and Manchester United can feel grateful to be in the top half of the bracket, with Inter Milan, Wolfsburg, and Shakhtar Donetsk in a dangerous bottom half.
On a round-to-round basis you wouldn’t vote against Wolves. Over a month, though, they feel less likely than the Manchester sides.
Status: Leads 2-1 over Real Madrid after first leg away
Next match: 3 pm ET Friday at the Etihad Stadium
We know Pep Guardiola and his array of weapons are capable of beating anyone in the world, and Sergio Ramos’ suspension from the first leg is wonderful for City. Ramos is having one of those “Ballon d’Or if defenders could win it” seasons.
Having two away goals from the Bernabeu is even better. The bottom half of the UCL bracket, however, is a gauntlet and nothing like the top half. City would love to see Lyon hold off Juventus, but a win over either brings either Napoli, Barcelona, Bayern or — miraculously — Chelsea in the semifinals.
It’s a huge ask but this is a huge team.
Status: Leads 5-0 over LASK Linz after first leg away
Next match: 3 pm ET Wednesday at Old Trafford
United would have to self-destruct in order to miss out on the Europa League quarterfinals, where they’ll be favored whether they meet either Istanbul Basaksehir or Copenhagen. The semifinals will be even tougher, as Olympiacos, Wolves, Sevilla, or Roma.
The question here is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has shown some tactical acumen but also failed the Red Devils in the FA Cup semi against Chelsea. United really should be able to out-perform anyone left, even Inter Milan, but will Solskjaer outduel Antonio Conte or even Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui?
With Manchester City and Chelsea still in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves among the favorites to win the Europa League, there is a lot on the line for Premier League clubs in the coming weeks.
Just because the Premier League season is over, that doesn’t mean the action is over. Far from it.
Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, while the Europa League games will be hosted around Germany.
Below is a look at my predictions, the odds for the games this week and how to watch all of the fixtures in the USA.
JPW’s Champions League predictions
Round of 16 (August 7-8)
Friday, August 7: Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (2-1)
Friday, August 7: Juventus 2-1 Lyon (0-1)
Saturday, August 8: Barcelona 3-1 Napoli (1-1)
Saturday, August 8: Bayern Munich 2-1 Chelsea (3-0)
JPW’s Europa League predictions
Round of 16 (August 5-6)
Copenhagen 1-2 Istanbul Basaksehir
Wolves 2-0 Olympiakos
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Rangers
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Wolfsburg
Basel 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Manchester United 3-1 LASK
Inter Milan 3-0 Getafe
Sevilla 1-3 Roma
Champions League betting odds
Round of 16 (August 7-8)
(-139) Manchester City v. Real Madrid (+320). Tie: +340
(-230) Juventus v. Lyon (+650). Tie: +340
(-150) Barcelona v. Napoli (+400). Tie: +300
(-250) Bayern Munich v. Chelsea (+650). Tie: +410
Quarterfinals (August 12-13)
(+200) Atalanta v. Paris Saint-Germain (+120). Tie: +285
(+225) RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid (+133). Tie: 220
Manchester City (+350)
Bayern Munich (+365)
Paris Saint-Germain (+450)
Atletico Madrid (+700)
RB Leipzig (+1500)
Europa League betting odds
Round of 16 (August 5-6)
(+155) Copenhagen v. Istanbul Basaksehir (+180). Tie: +235
(-134) Wolves v. Olympiakos (+390). Tie: +260
(-162) Bayer Leverkusen v. Rangers (+410). Tie: +310
(+135) Shakhtar Donetsk v. Wolfsburg (+185). Tie: +265
(+155) Basel v. Eintracht Frankfurt (+155). Tie: +275
(-455) Manchester United v. LASK (+1200). Tie: +550
(-143) Inter Milan v. Getafe (+385). Tie: +285
(+110) Sevilla v. Roma (+270). Tie: +230
Manchester United (+160)
Inter Milan (+500)
Bayer Leverkusen (+700)
How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League
Dates: August 5-23
Location: Round of 16 at home venues; Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: Here at NBCSports.com
Thinking about the resurgence of several big name Premier League sides makes the 2020-21 season tantalizing idea. Could Arsenal become a title fighter?
Manchester City, statistically-speaking, was already the most productive team in the league and Liverpool’s team an absolute monster of intensity that seemed to will good fortune on their rare bad days.
Manchester United was second only to City in Project Restart while Chelsea produced as many chances as any team now named City and now has better finishers. Tottenham improved as well — health can be a tactic in that it helps as much as any manager.
A report from Football.London says that Arteta believes Aubameyang and a trio of other moves could help him replicate the 4-3-3 often implemented by former club Man City.
The report says that Arsenal is ready to recruit Willian, Thomas Partey, and Philippe Coutinho to supplement what’s already at the Emirates.
Arsenal is in a tricky situation because of how much promising young talent there is, but Arteta will have learned a thing or too from how Pep Guardiola convinced Phil Foden to buy into a longer development. And winning cures plenty.
Who would fit in the 4-3-3? Arsenal has a tremendous 1-2 punch in goal between Bernd Leno and Emiliano Martinez, and piles of questions at the back. William Saliba finally arrives from Saint-Etienne and Pablo Mari will return, too, while Arteta used Shkrodan Mustafi, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sead Kolasinac, Calum Chambers, and Cedric Soares this season.
The middle part becomes a lot easier with Partey joining Granit Xhaka and Co.