Brentford vs Arsenal Preview: Team News, Predicted Lineups, Key Players
Finally, after what has seemed like an eternity, Premier League football is back as Arsenal travel to Brentford Community Stadium to face the newly-promoted Bees on Friday evening.
The 2021-22 Premier League season kicks off on Friday with a clash between newly-promoted Brentford and 13-time winners Arsenal at the Brentford Community Stadium.
The Gunners are coming off of an underwhelming pre-season campaign in which they lost three of their six matches, including back-to-back defeats to Premier League rivals Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. But they will be buoyed by the fact they have not lost an away game on the opening day of the Premier League season since a 1-0 defeat by Sunderland in 2000.
Brentford, meanwhile, are preparing for their first game in England’s top-flight in 74 years. Thomas Frank’s side secured promotion after finishing third in the Championship and winning the playoffs.
Friday night’s clash will be Brentford’s first-ever Premier League match in the English top flight for the first time since 1947, while the Gunners prepare for a rare campaign without European football.
Brentford expect to have striker Ivan Toney fit for the Premier League opener against Arsenal on Friday night. Toney, who was the top scorer in the Sky Bet Championship last season with 31 goals, missed the final pre-season friendly against Valencia as a precaution over a neck problem.
DR Congo forward Yoane Wissa could be involved after completing his recent move from French side Lorient, but Denmark midfielder Mathias Jensen (foot) and Josh Dasilva (hip) remain unavailable.
Thomas Partey is out for the rest of the month after suffering an ankle injury in the pre-season defeat by Chelsea. Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Gabriel Magalhaes (knee) are also missing. while Ben White and Sambi Lonkonga are expected to make their premier league debuts.
- This will be the first league meeting between Brentford and Arsenal since May 1947, a match the Gunners won 1-0 at Griffin Park.
- Brentford will be the 50th different team to play in the Premier League, and the 10th from London. Just 11 of the previous 49 participants have won their first ever game in the competition (D15 L23), while no side from the capital has won their first ever Premier League game (D5 L4).
- When kicking off their Premier League season away from home, Arsenal are unbeaten in seven games (W5 D2) since losing 0-1 at Sunderland in the 2000-01 campaign. The Gunners began last season with a 3-0 victory away against promoted side Fulham.
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Jansson, Ajer, Pinnock; Roerslev, Janelt, Onyeka, Norgaard, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney; Xhaka, Lokonga; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Brentford – Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney was instrumental in Brentford’s promotion to the Premier League, scoring a record 31 goals last season. He will have a crucial role to play this season as well if Brentford are to stay up.
Toney will look to exploit the spaces behind Arsenal’s defence with his well-timed runs. He is a superb finisher and if he gets the slightest sniff at goal, Arsenal will be in trouble.
He is also strong in the air and can trouble the likes of Pablo Mari and Ben White, who are not the most physical defenders.
Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe
The club highest signing has a lot of critics to prove wrong this season. He picked form late last season scoring in four out of the last five and picking the Arsenal May player of the month and he will look to build on that success this year.
The Ivorian Winger will be tasked with unlocking the Brentford defence and creating chances for the likes of Aubameyang and Lacazette and having his name on the scoresheet. Pepe also has a great engine and will be responsible for pressing Brentford high up the field.
Prediction: Brentford 1-2 Arsenal
Possible Goalscorers: Toney : Pepe, Lacazette.
Goals are there to be had on the opening night, with Toney desperate to prove that he can perform at the top level while Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette desperately try to find their shooting boots.
With the roar of the Brentford faithful behind them, Frank’s men are certainly capable of making their first-ever Premier League encounter one to remember, but we still think the quality of the visitors will shine through during a hard-fought success.