Brentford vs Arsenal – Match Preview

Posted on by Matthew T

The English Premier League season kicks off on Friday as newly-promoted Brentford host fellow Londoners Arsenal at their new Brentford Community Stadium. Here, we preview the season opener whilst providing the latest team news and our match prediction.

Match Preview – Brentford

Brentford arrive in the Premier League for the very first time on Friday and it will be their first season in the top flight of English football since 1947. It will be certain that the home faithful will pack the stands and create an intimidating atmosphere for their visitors, as this will be the first full capacity competitive match in the new stadium.

After finishing in third in the Championship, The Bees had to settle for another nerve-wracking play off campaign. However, unlike the years before, they finally managed seal the promotion that they have dreamt of for so long. Goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes ensured a 2-0 win over Swansea City at Wembley Stadium in May.

Thomas Frank
Manager Thomas Frank finally led his side to their long-awaited promotion last season

Brentford’s highly-regarded recruitment team have strengthened the promotion-winning side with a fairly decent outlay on transfers so far. Central defender Kristoffer Ajer has arrived from Celtic, who can also cover in central midfield, Frank Onyeka has been brought in from Danish side FC Midtjylland for another option in central midfield, and Yoane Wissa has been acquired from French side FC Lorient to bolster the forward line.

Preparations for the new season have seen the home side play five pre-season matches. Three wins, one draw and just the one defeat will be seen as an impressive return against some tough opposition. One of these wins was a 2-1 win over Spanish side Valencia last time out.

Match Preview – Arsenal

The 2021-22 season will be a strange one to adjust to for Arsenal and their supporters. After finishing down in eighth in last year’s Premier League campaign, The Gunners find themselves in unfamiliar territory. European football will not be present at the Emirates Stadium for the first time in 25 years as a result. However, optimists will view this as the potential to have a fresh run at the Premier League after diminishing results in recent years.

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta heads into his second full season in charge of The Gunners

Mikel Arteta leads his side into the new season with the full backing of the board above him. However, he will be fully aware of how quickly his position could come under scrutiny, particularly from supporters. After lifting the FA Cup in the season before last, Arteta will need to demonstrate drastic improvement in the Premier League, in which he has failed to do so since replacing Unai Emery so far.

The backing of the board has been proven through the new signings brought in this summer. Albert Sambi Lokonga has arrived from Anderlecht, Nuno Tavares from Benfica and a reported £50million has been splashed on Brighton central defender Ben White.

Although Arsenal can draw on positives from finishing last season with a winning run of their final five matches, preparations for the new campaign have been disappointing. Four pre-season friendlies have been played and three defeats have been suffered, with a single draw and seven goals conceded.

Team News

Top goalscorer for Brentford and the Championship as a whole for last season, Ivan Toney, has been declared fit to start from the off. He had missed the final friendly against Valencia with a neck problem. Wissa could his make debut after completing the move from Lorient. Although, he has not played in pre-season yet so may only appear from the bench. Ajer and Onyeka will also make their debuts for the hosts and are expected to start. Mathias Jensen (foot) and Josh Dasilva (hip) have been ruled out.

Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney top scored in the Championship last season with 31 goals

The away side are missing some key players for this trip. Thomas Partey has been ruled out until the end of the month, after struggling with injuries last season as well. Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Gabriel Magalhaes (knee) are also unavailable. New big-money signing Ben White should start, whilst Albert Lokonga and Nuno Tavares may also make their bows. But the biggest injury news emerged on Friday itself, as it has been reported that forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will miss the short trip across London, which leaves the Gunners short of options up top.

Ben White - Arsenal
Ben White is expected to make his full debut for Arsenal after his £50million move from Brighton earlier in the summer

Expected Lineups

Brentford (3-5-2): Raya – Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock – Roerslev, Janelt, Onyeka, Norgaard, Henry – Mbuemo, Toney

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno – Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney – Lokonga, Xhaka – Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Saka – Martinelli

Match Prediction

Before the injuries to Aubameyang and Lacazette, most will have favoured Arsenal despite their inconsistency in recent years. However, missing these key players plays into Brentford’s hands perfectly. The home support is likely to be intimidating and will look to rock the visitors. It should be an entertaining game with both sides looking to start the season off with a win.

Editor’s Prediction: Brentford 2-2 Arsenal

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