40 min: Marcondes takes. Jeanvier, racing in, can’t quite get a head on it. Marcondes comes again, playing Valencia in down the right, but the flag goes up for offside. Brentford are beginning to threaten Leicester. Just a little, but small acorns and all that.
39 min: Thompson works his way down the inside left and sends a bobbling shot towards the bottom right. It’s probably going wide, but Ward takes no risks and fingertips it out for a corner.
37 min: Fuchs finds Gray on the edge of the area with a searching ball from the left. Gray’s shot is blocked. Leicester come again, Praet dropping a shoulder to make space down the left, then looking to plant a worldie of a curler into the top right. He gets it all wrong, and the ball goes sailing off into the stand again.
35 min: An aimless hoof into the crowd is caught by a punter in a Norway bobble hat. He smiles quite a lot. A fan of Egil Olsen, perhaps.
33 min: Albrighton strips Yearwood and strides towards the Brentford box, before sending a low drive inches wide of the left-hand post. Not sure Daniels was getting there. Leicester so close to doubling their lead.
32 min: Dervisoglu spins his way down the inside-left channel. He’s rather clumsily clipped by Morgan, just to the left of the D. But there’ll be no free kick in a dangerous position, because the ref waves play on.
30 min: Daniels takes a heavy touch when dealing with a backpass, and is nearly robbed by the ever-buzzing Perez. He boots away, just in time.
28 min: Justin dribbles down the right and from a tight spot chips into the mixer. Perez rises to head, six yards out, but sends the ball away in the wrong direction. Valencia hacks clear.
27 min: Ward punches the corner clear with great feeling. After a fast start, this match has fallen a little flat. Not that Brentford will mind, as they slowly work their way back into it and enjoy a little possession.
26 min: More uneventful fare. Then Zamburek suddenly threatens to turn Morgan down the left, and earns a corner off the Leicester captain.
24 min: The game turns a little scrappy. In the technical areas, both managers do quite a lot of shouting, chewing gum and gesticulating. More when we have it.
22 min: Zamburek falls asleep and lets Choudhury steal the ball with great ease. Choudhury makes to break down the right, and is tugged back by Zamburek. Just a free kick, though the referee could well have booked the Brentford midfielder for his cynicism.
20 min: But Brentford come again. They seem to have finally found their feet. First Zamburek has a crack from distance, then Dervisoglu tries a curler towards the top left. It’s well wide, but at least Leicester are being asked a few questions now.
19 min: Gray passes straight to Roerslev. What a nonsense. Brentford launch a quick counter, Zamburek tearing down the right. The problem is, nobody in red and white has kept up with him. He’s forced to turn tail.
18 min: Gray takes the free kick himself. His old foe Yearwood deflects it over the bar for a corner. From which …
17 min: Gray shuffles in from the left and is crudely brought down by Yearwood. This is a free kick in a very dangerous position, just to the left of the D.
16 min: Suddenly Brentford spring into life! Roerslev drops a shoulder down the right to sail past Fuchs. His cross finds Marcondes, coming in from the left. Marcondes sends a rising shot towards the top left … but just wide. The side netting ripples, and that’s something for the home fans to cheer, and their team to build on. Much better.
15 min: Iheanacho rasps a shot goalwards from a tight angle on the left. Daniels isn’t to be beaten at his near post.
14 min: A lull, which will suit Brentford as they battle to get some sort of foothold in this game. Moves of more than two passes remain at a premium for the home side.
12 min: Brentford launch it upfield, and Zamburek battles for a high ball with Justin. The pair clash in mid-air, and Justin lands awkwardly, no fault of his opponent. Just winded, and he’s good to go after a brief pause.
11 min: Iheanacho, Albrighton and Gray combine well down the inside-left channel. A one-two nearly comes off on the edge of the box, but the ball flies out for a goal kick. Leicester look dangerous every time they go forward. Brentford continue to look extremely jittery.
10 min: More room for Perez down the left. He slips Albrighton into the box on the overlap, but in doing so is clipped from behind by Yearwood, who is fortunate not to go in the book. Brentford are fortunate the ref blows up for a free kick instead of letting Albrighton continue on his way. The set piece is wasted by Gray, who shoots into the side netting from a tight angle.
8 min: Perez dances down the left and pulls a ball back for Praet, who looks in the mood this afternoon. From the left of the D, the midfielder launches a shot goalwards. Jeanvier does well to get in the road to block.
6 min: So down goes the volume at Griffin Park. Fans worried at all the changes made by Thomas Frank consider the terrain stretching out in front of them. This shadow Brentford selection have looked shaky from the get-go. They need to clear their heads quickly.
GOAL! Brentford 0-1 Leicester City (Iheanacho 4)
Can you say a goal has been coming after just over three minutes? Yes. And here it is. Praet, in the centre circle, plays a stunning defence-splitting pass towards Albrighton down the right. Albrighton fizzes a low first-time cross into the box, and Iheanacho slaps the sitter into the net from six yards.
2 min: And now a scare for Leicester, as Ward faffs around with the ball at his feet, and is nearly stripped of possession by Dervisoglu. Fortunately for the keeper, he’s clumsily bowled over, and the whistle grants him a reprieve. Somewhere, in a parallel universe, it’s 1-1 after one minute and 20 seconds.
And we’re off! Leicester get the ball rolling. Praet launches it long. The ball breaks to Iheanacho, to the right of the D. He slips the ball down the channel for Perez, who is onside and clear in the box! Perez rounds Daniels, and is about to tap home on the 12-second mark when Racic nips in to toe-poke clear. What a start that would have been!
The teams are out! Brentford wear their red and white stripes, while Leicester sport their first-choice blue. Plenty of noise at Griffin Park, a proper FA Cup atmosphere. We’ll be off in a minute!
And now a word with Thomas Frank. “Our confidence is high. We know confidence in life and football is so important if you want to create something special … or some magical moments, as we call it here, the last season at Griffin Park. So we hope with a sell-out and a top Premiership side, we are definitely ready for it. We like to show what we are all about, and put the best possible side out there, but we also need to think that we are going into a three-game week. We have a pretty big game coming up on Tuesday. But if you ask me whether I want to win today or Tuesday, I say yes and yes! Leicester is a very interesting opponent, but this could also be our last FA Cup game here so everyone is a little bit buzzing.”
A chat with Brendan Rodgers. “We’ve obviously picked a strong team, like we’ve done in all the cup competitions. The value for us is the momentum, and obviously we want to win. Today is going to be a really tough day for us, Brentford have done really well in the Championship this season, and play a really good level of football with good ideas. It’s going to be a huge test. We are trying to keep the intensity, it’s no different to over Christmas when I made [similar changes] for a Premier League game. It’s not just the cups. I trust in all the players.” He then drifts off into a nostalgic reverie, having coached at Griffin Park during his time with the youth team at Chelsea. Let’s leave him to enjoy his memories.
Other beverages are available. Vodka and Red Bull, for example. Or whisky. Or tea. This punter has opted for a cup of PG Tips, and with good reason: it’s the taste.
Full marks for the retro DIY rosette, by the way. Are they coming back into fashion? Hope so.
A quick tab before the match. Time for a pint, as well? Yes, why not. It’s OK, it’s socially acceptable, it’s gone 12.
Both teams mix it up for the FA Cup. Then give it a good old shake. The only Brentford players to retain their place from the goalless Championship draw with Huddersfield last weekend: Julian Jeanvier and Kamohelo Mokotjo. Bryan Mbeumo is on the bench, but fellow strikers Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma aren’t in the squad, the latter due to the death of his father.
A similar story for Leicester. Only two of their players remain from the starting XI sent out to thrash West Ham on Wednesday night: Caglar Soyuncu and Ayoze Perez. Kasper Schmeichel, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes drop to the bench. Jamie Vardy misses out altogether on account of his glute injury.
Brentford: Daniels, Roerslev Rasmussen, Luca Racic, Jeanvier, Thompson, Marcondes, Yearwood, Mokotjo, Zamburek, Dervisoglu, Valencia.
Subs: Henry, Pinnock, Norgaard, Gunnarsson, Da Silva, Mbeumo, Hammar.
Leicester City: Ward, Justin, Morgan, Soyuncu, Fuchs, Praet, Choudhury, Gray, Perez, Albrighton, Iheanacho.
Subs: Schmeichel, Evans, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes, Ricardo Pereira, Dewsbury-Hall.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire).
Two fine teams have been drawn together for this FA Cup fourth-round tie. Brentford are one of the country’s in-form sides, having won six of their last nine, drawing two of the other three. They’re fifth in the Championship. Leicester, meanwhile, are flying high in the Premier League, and their manager, formerly of Parkhead, is 31 matches unbeaten in domestic cups.
Whether Thomas Frank or Brendan Rodgers will field those fine teams is, however, a moot point. Leicester have a huge midlands derby coming up on Tuesday night, battling Aston Villa in the hope of reaching the League Cup final. Brentford meanwhile have a big game against Nottingham Forest coming up on the same evening, with a return to the top flight for the first time since 1947 very much the priority. Both bosses have therefore strongly hinted at making a few rotations. The magic of the modern FA Cup, right there.
But both clubs dream of victory nevertheless. This could potentially be Brentford’s last FA Cup tie at Griffin Park, as they leave the old place in the summer. Leicester also have history on their mind; the last time these two played in the FA Cup was 1949, the Foxes winning 3-1 and going on to reach the final. A sign?
Neither club has won the cup. That 1949 final was one of four unsuccessful visits to Wembley for Leicester; they also lost finals in 1961, 1963 and 1969. An unwanted Buffalo Bills style record, there. Brentford’s FA Cup highlights are comparatively modest: four quarter-final appearances, the last against Liverpool in 1989, another the aforementioned game with Leicester in 1949. Could this be Brentford’s year? Or Leicester’s at last? It’s got to be somebody’s. It’s on!
Kick off: 12.45pm GMT.