When Brentford comfortably survived in the Premier League last season, many questioned whether the Bees were capable of improving even further in 2022-23.
A recent return of 10 points from games with Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Liverpool has provided the answer, Brentford now only having eyes for a top-10 finish.
Thomas Frank will try to find a balance between caution and ambition, yet supporters cannot avoid starting to dream of a potential European place for next season.
The West Londoners have suffered just one top-flight defeat in nine games, that setback coming versus leaders Arsenal, and the manner of their win over Liverpoolearlier this week will only fill Frank and his squad with belief.
Brentford rode their luck at times in the recent encounter with Saturday’s opponents, Ivan Toney and Josh Dasilvagetting on the scoresheet during the first half at the London Stadium.
West Ham are in mourning this week due to the passing of joint-chairman David Gold, which occurred on the morning of the fixture with Leeds United on Wednesday.
The Hammers responded by earning a 2-2 draw which ultimately kept the club outside of the relegation zone, earning David Moyes further breathing space as he battles to save his job with the East London side.
That result ended a five-game losing streak in the top flight, and Moyes will welcome the opportunity for his players to perform with greater freedom across the capital.
Nevertheless, with fixtures against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton to follow in the league, Moyes knows that the upcoming triple-header could make or break whether he remains in the West Ham dugout in the long run.
Frank will hope to have Toney available again after no risks were taken on the forward versus Liverpool due to a minor knee issue.Goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha could be provided with a rare outing between the sticks,
while Dasilva is in line to add fresh legs in midfield.However, Frank may opt against making widespread alterations, instead wanting to try to maintain momentum ahead of returning to Premier League action.