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Premier League team guide: Brentford in the spotlight
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Leo Munro
LiveScore
Yoane Wissa finished the 2021-22 campaign in fine form for Brentford
Yoane Wissa finished the 2021-22 campaign in fine form for Brentford

Brentford's first season as a Premier League side was something of a fairytale.

Thomas Frank's men went into 2021-22 aiming for survival and while it was an up and down year, the Bees exceeded all expectations by comfortably avoiding relegation.

Heading into 2022-23, Frank will want to build on last term while avoiding second season syndrome — something Sheffield United and Leeds have fallen foul of in recent years.

But they will have to do it without the talismanic Christian Eriksen, who has joined Manchester United on a free transfer.

Last season: 13th

Brentford started 2021-22 with a 2-0 win over Arsenal and followed that up with wins at Wolves and West Ham, as well as drawing dramatically with Liverpool.

Two victories in 11, followed by an eight-game winless run, then dragged Brentford into the relegation battle many tipped them for in August.

However, Eriksen's arrival on a six-month contract gave them a much-needed boost and the West Londoners triumphed in seven of the 10 games he started.

That was enough to finish 13th in their first season as a Premier League side — the only one of the three promoted teams to avoid the drop.

New faces

Brentford pulled off a coup by recruiting Scottish starlet Aaron Hickey from Bologna
Brentford pulled off a coup by recruiting Scottish starlet Aaron Hickey from Bologna

Determined to build on the success of last season, Brentford have wasted no time in bolstering their squad.

Scottish wing-back Aaron Hickey, 20, was picked up for an initial £14million and will offer competition on both flanks, while experienced Burnley centre-back Ben Mee has arrived on a free transfer.

Further forward, Hull sensation Keane Lewis-Potter was nabbed for £16m after the 21-year-old scored 28 goals and notched eight assists over the past two seasons.

After losing No1 David Raya for a chunk of last season, the Bosman arrival of former Lazio keeper Thomas Strakosha looks like a smart piece of business too.

Released at the end of his Burnley contract, long-serving Clarets skipper Mee, 32, offers leadership and nous at centre-back.

Rounding off the Bees' summer business so far is Dnipro midfielder Yegor Yarmolyuk, an 18-year-old Ukrainian youth international.

Potential line-up

4-3-3: Raya; Hickey, Ajer, Mee, Henry; Jensen, Norgaard, Janelt; Mbeumo, Toney, Lewis-Potter.

Having utilised a 3-5-2 for much of last season, Frank switched to 4-3-3 to incorporate the now-departed Eriksen. The Bees' summer signings suggest they will continue with a back four.

Raya should — for now — win out in the battle to be No1. Ahead of him, Hickey will take the right-back berth with Kristoffer Ajer and Mee at centre-back and Rico Henry on the left.

With Eriksen gone, a more workmanlike midfield trio of Mathias Jensen, Christian Norgaard and Vitaly Janelt will take over.

Up front, Bryan Mbeumo and Lewis-Potter will support for star man Ivan Toney.

Star man: Ivan Toney

Centre forward Ivan Toney will lead the line for Brentford once again this season
Centre forward Ivan Toney will lead the line for Brentford once again this season

Toney has climbed the English football pyramid the hard way after starting his career at Northampton.

The striker, 26, was signed by Newcastle in 2015 and loaned to several League One clubs before being sold to Peterborough in 2018.

In only 76 League One games, Toney bagged 40 goals for Posh — form that alerted Brentford.

The West Londoners paid just £5m for Toney's services and he rewarded the Bees with 31 strikes in 45 Championship appearances before hitting 12 in 33 matches following promotion.

Up-and-comer: Josh Dasilva

A product of Arsenal's Hale End academy, Josh Dasilva saw his maiden Premier League campaign ruined by a hip injury.

In just his second start — against Newcastle — Dasilva picked up an early red card. Once he was back from suspension, he only made five substitute appearances and did not get another turn in the first XI.

But Brentford have high hopes for the 23-year-old who is a smooth operator in midfield and can carry the ball or pick a pass.

Dasilva turned professional with Arsenal in 2015 but failed to make an appearance for the Gunners and declined a new contract in 2018 before trading North London for Brentford.

The boss: Thomas Frank

Keeping Brentford in the Premier League will be Thomas Frank's aim once again this term
Keeping Brentford in the Premier League will be Thomas Frank's aim once again this term

The Brentford job is only Frank's second club role after a spell with Danish side Brondby in which he achieved third and fourth-place finishes.

In doing so, Brondby reached the Europa League qualification stages but Frank resigned in March 2016 after receiving online criticism from chairman Jan Bech Andersen.

Later that year, the 48-year-old became assistant coach to Dean Smith at Brentford and when the Englishman quit for Aston Villa in 2018, the Bees promoted from within.

Frank led the club to promotion in 2020-21 and a successful first Premier League campaign ended in a nomination for the Premier League Manager of the Season award.

All information correct as of 4pm, July 22, 2022

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BrentfordPremier League
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