ENGLAND: Premier League
Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium (London)
The Premier League (PL) finally makes its return with the season opener at the Brentford Community Stadium, which will become the 59th venue to host PL football. It has been a long journey for Brentford with nine heartbreaking play-off failures, but they’ve managed to climb through the tiers whilst consistently making a profit, testament to their eye for talent.
The combination of a smooth attack and a strong defence was key to the ‘Bees’ success last campaign, as they allowed opposing sides just 8.6 shots on average during the regular season. They also shutout three PL sides over six cup fixtures vs such opposition last term (W3, D1, L2 – 90 minutes), and scored 2+ goals in three of those, hinting that they might be competitive this season.
After consecutive eighth-placed finishes, Arsenal will be expected to do much better this season, especially without the distraction of European football for the first time in 26 years. With a number of new additions to the squad, and more expected, the ‘Gunners’ will hope to build on a decent second half to last season that only saw Manchester City accrue more points than them from Boxing Day onwards (W14, D5, L5).
Indeed, only Manchester United can boast a longer current PL unbeaten away run than Arsenal (W5, D2) and Mikel Arteta’s men should be confident of extending that into the new season, given that they didn’t concede a single goal in any of their away league games vs promoted opposition last term (W2, D1).
Players to watch: Brentford’s Ivan Toney set a new goalscoring record in the Championship last season with 33 goals (12 openers), also providing ten assists. Eyes will be on Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka to see if he can continue his progress from last season, after he suffered terrible abuse following England’s EURO 2020 loss..
- Brentford’s form in last 5 matches: WWLDW.
- Arsenal’s form in last 5 matches: LLWWD