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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brentford Preview: All of the chips

The mission was clear before but even more straightforward now.

Brentford FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

No Europe. No more cups. The calendar says January and all Tottenham Hotspur has left is the Premier League. Given everything that has happened this season, that is probably a good thing, and the odds of Champions League football next year remains very reasonable, and could be even higher depending on the fate of fifth place.

Either way, the goal is still top four, and that means stringing together some wins over the next three and a half weeks. Even though the best XI is still missing some pieces, matches against Brentford, Everton, Brighton, and Wolves offer a great opportunity to build up the point total and stay in the hunt.

The first of these contests comes Wednesday evening with a visit from Brentford. The two sides welcomed the Ange Postecoglou era last August with Cristian Romero opening the scoring and Emerson Royal equalizing at 2-2, the eventual final score line. Both goals were assisted by James Maddison, who hopefully gets back in the starting lineup this week.

Tottenham Hotspur (5th, 40pts) vs. Brentford (15th, 22pts)

Date: Wednesday, January 31
Time: 2:30 pm ET, 7:30 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
TV: USA Network (USA), TNT Sports 2 (UK)

This is not the season Brentford was hoping for. After finishing ninth last year, the Bees are firmly in the bottom half, and while relegation is not a real concern, this season does look like a clear step back. Missing Ivan Toney, who scored (controversially) in his return, for most of the year has not helped, but even the defense has slipped from a fifth-best mark last season, in part due to the departure of David Raya.

Still, with Toney back in the side, there is reason to believe that Brentford will be on the rise. Before his return against Forest, seven of the previous eight matches saw the Bees score one or zero goals — a player of his quality should absolutely help that from not happening again. The same cannot be said for subpar goalkeeping from Mark Flekken, but that kind of just is what it is at this point.

Lilywhite Spotlight: Made for Maddison

Heung-min Son is still gone, but a start from Maddison would be a huge boost for this side. Postecoglou has been forced to tinker with the front three all season, but pushing Dejan Kulusevski forward (and wide) and getting Maddison back in the side looks like the best possible lineup at this time, regardless of who occupies the other two attacking spots.

As seen, the Brentford defense is attackable, and Spurs should be the aggressor, especially at home. It feels like it has been forever since Maddison has been fit, but he was arguably Tottenham’s best player to start the season, orchestrating the attack and popping up all over the pitch. This would be a great time to reintroduce his skill and decisiveness and help bring back some of creativity this team desperately has missed.