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Fulham vs Brentford: Cottagers triumph in thrilling west London derby

Aleksandar Mitrovic's 90th-minute header capped a West London derby for the ages, as Fulham lost a 2-0 lead against Brentford before snatching a dramatic late win.

Fulham vs Brentford recap: The new Premier League season’s first west London derby was a thrilling affair as the Cottagers topped the Bees 3-2 at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Bobby De Cordova-Reid opening the scoring after just 44 seconds was certainly a sign of things to come. Joao Palhinha doubled Fulham’s advantage in the 20th minute and Brentford looked like they were still yet to complete the 4.9-mile journey from their own ground. Christian Norgaard volleyed home a stunner in the 44th minute and Ivan Toney erased the deficit altogether in the 71st, but Aleksandar Mitrovic bagged his third goal of the season to take all three points in the 90th minute.


What we learned from Fulham vs Brentford

Fulham set tone with tempo, pressure

At halftime, Fulham’s three most-forward attackers combined for 79 touches between them, compared to just 37 for Brentford’s front-three. Fulham’s press gave Brentford’s midfield and defense fits anytime they tried to pass out of the back, while playing a very high line to shrink the space in which Ivan Toney could be targeted with outlet balls. Brentford, the Premier League kings princes of chaos, were simply overwhelmed. It was clever from Marco Silva, taking away the Bees’ two favorite paths forward. It was a real departure from the way Silva’s previous sides (Watford and Everton) ever played in the PL. No doubt about it, there’s more substance and structure to this iteration of Fulham than anything we ever saw from them during their last two stints in the PL.

Brentford battle back but fall short

No matter what’s happening during open play, Brentford will always threaten from set pieces. It’s how they got back into Saturday’s game through Norgaard just before halftime (below video). Toney was millimeters offside just before scoring a would-be equalizer for the first time. Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa combined brilliantly through the right attacking channel to set Toney up for the actual equalizer. There were massive improvements from Brentford in the second half, but the agents of chaos were again given a dose of their own medicine in the final few minutes.

How to watch Fulham vs Brentford live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10 am ET, SaturdayOnline: Stream via Peacock Premium

Key storylines & star players

Thomas Frank’s side has picked up where they left off at the end of last season, most recently pressing Manchester United furiously and pouncing on the myriad mistakes they caused to the tune of a 4-0 victory over the Red Devils last weekend. Ivan Toney, who perhaps flew under the radar last season (12 goals, 5 assists) after scoring 31 times in the Championship the season prior, has resumed service as a 90-minute nightmare for opposing center backs. The big striker scored and assisted Brentford’s two goals in the opening-day draw with Leicester, followed by a sensational, first-time through ball to Bryan Mbeumo for the fourth goal against Man United.

As for Fulham, the first two weeks have been the best of time for Aleksandar Mitrovic, and also the worst of times. Right out of the gates, the big Serbian striker scored twice as Fulham drew Liverpool in a massive upset. Then, last weekend, Mitrovic had his 81st-minute penalty kick saved by Jose Sa as Fulham settle for a 0-0 draw. Thus far, Fulham have gone as Mitrovic has gone, and will likely continue to do so this season. The defense appears improved from their last stint in the PL, but Brentford will put that to the test with wave after wave of pressure and counter-attacks.

Fulham team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Harry Wilson (knee), Manor Solomon (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Andreas Pereira (knock), Bobby De Cordova-Reid (knock), Joe Bryan (hand)

Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Kristoffer Ajer (hamstring), Ethan Pinnock (knee), Sergi Canos (hamstring)

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