Brentford 2021/22 Season Preview: Thomas Frank’s side have arrived, and they are here to stay

3 min

Brentford may be in the final stages of preparing for their first ever Premier League campaign but make no mistake, the club are nowhere near finished with their fairytale adventure.

As the side promoted via the Championship Play-Offs, many have already written them off.

But surrounded by their adoring fans in a state-of-the-art stadium, the ‘Humble Bees’ will relish the underdog tag and the chance to prove their doubters wrong.

Their summer acquisitions, previously centred around finding unknown talent or those with promise, took a slight deviation from the norm with the club record £13.5m signing of the already established Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic.

With three domestic Scottish trebles to his name, the Norwegian central defender brings a winning mentality to sit perfectly alongside either Ethan Pinnock or club captain Pontus Jansson. 

Aged 23, Ajer still has plenty of potential to grow as does similar new arrival Frank Onyeka who, although more of a diamond in the rough, will bring renewed energy to the midfield.

With his incredible box-to-box play, Onyeka will fit perfectly into Thomas Frank’s system – possessing excellent close control, well-timed crunching tackles and a strength to rival the biggest of Premier League defenders. 

Alongside the likes of Ivan Toney, Josh Dasilva and Bryan Mbeumo, the Bees have every right to be optimistic about their ability to compete at the highest level.

The return of fans cannot be underestimated and, with all 17,500 seats likely to be filled for every home game in the recently constructed Brentford Community Stadium, it could become an intimidating fortress for opposition teams.

How Brentford will adapt to their new surroundings tactically is also an intriguing sub-plot – will we see Frank revert back to his trusted 4-3-3, or will he employ a stronger line of defence with three central defenders?

Ajer’s arrival points towards three at the back with marauding full-back Rico Henry on the left, serving as a wing-back. 

On the right-hand side, the options are less clear following Henrik Dalsgaard’s departure and could see Sergi Canos and Mbeumo split their time in this spot, focusing more on the attack but tracking back when needed.

In midfield, a trio of Christian Norgaard, Dasilva and Onyeka is likely to be the first choice, regardless of formation with all three possessing excellent ability on the ball and being able to pick a pass for the forwards when needed. 

READ MORE: Brentford 2020/21 Season Review: A campaign like no other as Premier League promotion is achieved

Mathias Jensen and Vitaly Janelt will also likely play a role, while Shandon Baptiste could be primed for a breakout season.

Of course, goals are more crucial than ever in a league where few chances are given so Brentford will be hoping Toney will be able to continue where he left off.

Alongside him is a plethora of options with the aforementioned Mbeumo and Canos as well as Tariqe Fosu, Marcus Forss and Halil Dervisoglu. 

With a lot less games already likely compared to the last two season’s gruelling Championship schedule, Brentford will have enough strength in depth to enable them to rotate and rest if needed without losing any real quality.

That being said, the Premier League is still an incredible challenge and survival will obviously be the ultimate objective.

But don’t be surprised if the Bees do even better than that as this club was not built for a one-and-done season in the top flight. Brentford have finally arrived, and they are here to stay. 

LFS Verdict: 14th

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