Brentford are set to make their Premier League debut against Arsenal in their newly-launched home at the Brentford Community Stadium on Friday evening.
The Bees finished third on the Championship table last season behind Watford and Norwich City, thus qualifying for the play-offs. They saw off Bournemouth over two legs in the semi-finals before beating Swansea City in the play-off final to achieve Premier League promotion for the very first time in the club’s history, although the west Londoners did play in the pre-EPL top-flight before.
Brentford have invested well in their squad, signing the likes of Kristoffer Ajer, Frank Onyeka, Myles Pearl-Harris and Yoane Wissa so far in the ongoing transfer window. On top of that, Thomas Frank’ side have enjoyed a solid pre-season that included a 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford and a 2-1 win over Jose Bordalas’ Valencia.
Nevertheless, staying in the Premier League has often been difficult for the newly-promoted teams and the Bees certainly face the same uphill task. That being said, here are three things the west London club should do to avoid relegation at the first time of asking.
1. Try keeping Ivan Toney fit and firing throughout the season
There are important players in the Brentford spine, with Ethan Pinnock impressing a lot last season, but Ivan Toney is undoubtedly their key player.
Last season, Ivan Toney, 25, was the Championship’s top scorer with 33 goals in 48 games. Along with the truckload of goals, he contributed 10 assists. The centre-forward’s link-up play, movement and aerial ability were excellent, and he also helped the Bees time and again with defending set-pieces.
Truly, Toney was a complete package for Brentford in the Championship but he’ll need to step up his game and deliver the goods from the first game in the top-flight. There is a lot of expectations on his big shoulders from the manager, the fans and club owners.
Knowing the fact that Toney is the most important player in his team, Thomas Frank will need to manage him very throughout the season. The 25-year-old’s form and fitness holds key to the Bees’ survival.
2. Improve their defence
Since Thomas Frank took over as head coach in 2018, Brentford have played fast, fluid attacking football. They did the same in the Championship last season, scoring more goals (79) than any other team.
However, the Bees weren’t great defensively with 42 goals shipped in. In fact, Frank’s side had the worst defensive record among the newly-promoted sides.
It’s apparent to see where Brentford must focus as far as improving their squad is concerned. In Kristoffer Ajer, they’ve got a relatively young but experienced central defender with leadership skills and a winning mentality.
But for the west Londoners to stay in the top-flight, Frank must further reinforce the backline before the transfer window slams shut in less than three weeks’ time.
3. Earn maximum points at home
The Brentford Community Stadium—the club’s new stadium— has a capacity of 17,250 fans and will be sold out for every home game this season.
The Brentford fans have been dreaming all these years to watch their team play in the Premier League week in, week out. Now that has become a reality, the support and backing in every single home game are certainly going to be electric.
Every single game in the English top-flight is a difficult one and Thomas Frank’s side will need to fight tooth and nail for each and every point to survive in this division. So, the Bees must make their home ground a difficult place to come for the opponents with fans creating an intimidating atmosphere.
All in all, Brentford must aim to earn maximum points possible at home to increase their chances of avoiding the drop at the first time of asking.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.