Both Lewis Grabban and Neal Maupay could feature when Nottingham Forest take on Brentford at the City Ground this weekend.
Martin O’Neill’s side have struggled of late, whilst the Bees are on an impressive unbeaten run in all competitions. Not only is there a stark contrast in the form of the two sides, but also in the form of their top strikers.
Grabban and Maupay have scored a combined total of 31 goals in the Championship so far this season. Grabban has found the back of the net 14 times, whilst Maupay has scored 17.
However, whilst Maupay has continued to add to his tally, Grabban has struggled to even get in O’Neill’s starting line-up. At one stage, the 31-year-old was one of the most prolific strikers in Europe. However, Aitor Karanka’s departure seems to have halted his progress for multiple reasons.
Who’s in better form?
It seems unfair to compare the form of the two players considering Grabban’s lack of game time of late. Despite starting alongside Daryl Murphy in O’Neill’s first game against Bristol City, he’s found himself on the bench for the last two games. For obvious reasons, this has made it very difficult for him to add to his tally.
However, his barren run in front of goal isn’t purely down to O’Neill’s selections. He has made nine appearances in the Championship without scoring, a run which started weeks before the Northern Irishman arrived at the club.
For a player of his ability, not scoring since the beginning of December is an extremely alarming drought. He’ll be hoping he can end that run against the Bees on Saturday.
In comparison, Maupay has continued to go from strength to strength at Griffin Park. He’s scored in each of his last four appearances for the Bees, albeit with two of these games being against non-league Barnet in the FA Cup.
He’s now scored 20 goals in all competitions for Thomas Frank’s side, making it easy to see why he’s deemed one of the most lethal strikers at this level. He hasn’t gone more than three games without scoring this season.
Unless he picks up an injury, it’s unlikely that Maupay will be demoted to the bench at any point.
Although it’s what they are paid the big money to do, it isn’t all about finding the back of the net for strikers at this level. They have to bring more to the side than just goals.
Is Grabban the better all-round player?
It’s fair to say that Maupay has been the shining light in a side that has largely struggled this season. He’s been utilised as a striker, but his rapid pace can also see him be just as effective on the wing.
The Bees have always created a lot of chances, making them one of the best sides to watch in the Championship. This has suited Maupay’s style of play. He’s able to to get in behind defences and into goalscoring positions. If he has been given a chance, he’s usually buried it.
His performances for the Bees haven’t gone unnoticed. According to the Daily Mirror, Brentford slapped a £20 million price tag on his head last month to ward off potential interest. Aston Villa were one of the sides said to be interested.
In comparison, Grabban also offers a lot more than just goals. He’s similarly effective at holding up the ball and bringing other players into play. A number of supporters have been left bewildered by his recent absence from the team.
Despite Kenny Burns’ recent comments in the Nottingham Post about Grabban needing to force his way back into the team, most supporters would agree he’s done more than enough to prove himself already. If he’s back to full fitness, there’s no doubt that he should be in the team this weekend.
If they do both feature, it’ll be interesting to see which one shines brightest. Both defences will have to be on top of their game to keep them out.
In this case, both sides should just be grateful for having such a valuable asset available to them.