The 2021-22 Premier League season is set to kick off when newly-promoted Brentford host Arsenal at the Brentford Community Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 3 pm ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Brentford have never played in the Premier League and haven’t been in the top flight of English football since the 1946-47 season, but the Bees are a club quickly on the rise thanks to their top-notch recruitment and investment strategies. Ivan Toney stands alone, front and center (literally and figuratively), for Brentford after scoring 33 goals and 10 assists in 48 games a season ago. Had Brentford not won promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs, Toney would have joined the likes of Said Benrahma ($40 million – West Ham), Ollie Watkins ($36 million – Aston Villa) and Neal Maupay ($26 million – Brighton) as Bees who parlayed a stellar season (or two) into a dream transfer.
As for Arsenal, manager Mikel Arteta needs a strong start to his second full season in charge, otherwise the seat upon which he sits is going to start getting rather warm rather quickly. Arsenal finished 8th last season, but could have just as easily finished 10th (two points ahead of 9th and 10th) with one or two touches ending a different way. 23-year-old center back Ben White has since arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion for $70 million, in theory giving the Gunners a foundational piece to build a defense around for the next decade. However, it’s White’s passing and ball-carrying abilities which could prove most impactful for Arsenal, as Arteta seeks improvement upon the 55 goals they scored a season ago (9th-best in the Premier League).
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Here is everything you need to know ahead of Brentford – Arsenal this Friday with team news, odds, stream link and more.
Team news: Brentford – Arsenal (INJURY REPORT)
Brentford: OUT: Josh Dasilva (hip), Mathias Jensen (fitness)
🚨 𝙏𝙀𝘼𝙈 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 🚨
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) August 13, 2021
Arsenal: QUESTIONABLE: Rob Holding (fitness) | OUT: Thomas Partey (ankle), Gabriel Magalhaes (knee), Eddie Nketiah (ankle), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette (both illness)
Introducing our first starting XI of 2021/22…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 13, 2021
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Brentford (+300) | Arsenal (-118) | Draw (+265)
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Prediction: Brentford – Arsenal
There are certainly easier matchups to announce yourself onto the Premier League stage, but this is the one Brentford have been dealt. The Bees scored the most goals (79) and conceded the 4th-fewest (42) last year, but that was the EFL Championship. They’ll score far fewer and conceded many more this season, but they will rarely be soundly beaten and prove a hugely difficult test for anyone outside the top-four. Brentford 1-1 Arsenal.
How to watch Brentford – Arsenal and start time
Kickoff: 3 pm ET Friday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com