Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Brentford vs Arsenal in the Premier League on Friday Night Football, live on Sky Sports (kick-off 8pm).
Brentford expect to have striker Ivan Toney fit for the Premier League opener against Arsenal on Friday night.
Toney, who was the top scorer in the Sky Bet Championship last season with 31 goals, missed the final pre-season friendly against Valencia as a precaution over a neck problem.
DR Congo forward Yoane Wissa could be involved after completing his recent move from French side Lorient, but Denmark midfielder Mathias Jensen (foot) and Josh Dasilva (hip) remain unavailable.
Arsenal could hand a competitive debut to £50m defender Ben White, while Albert Lokonga and Nuno Tavares may also make their Gunners’ bows.
Thomas Partey is out for the rest of the month after suffering an ankle injury in the pre-season defeat by Chelsea.
Eddie Nketiah (ankle) and Gabriel Magalhaes (knee) are also missing.
How to follow
Brentford vs Arsenal is live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm; kick-off 8pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
- This will be the first league meeting between Brentford and Arsenal since May 1947, a match the Gunners won 1-0 at Griffin Park.
- Arsenal have won just one of their six visits to Brentford in all competitions (D1 L4), though this will be the first such meeting since May 1947.
- Brentford will be the 50th different team to play in the Premier League, and the 10th from London. Just 11 of the previous 49 participants have won their first ever game in the competition (D15 L23), while no side from the capital has won their first ever Premier League game (D5 L4).
- When kicking off their Premier League season away from home, Arsenal are unbeaten in seven games (W5 D2) since losing 0-1 at Sunderland in the 2000-01 campaign. The Gunners began last season with a 3-0 victory away against promoted side Fulham.
- Brentford against Arsenal is only the third ever game in Premier League history to be played on Friday the 13th – the other two games were in April 2001, with Bradford City winning 2-0 against Charlton Athletic and Leeds United beating Liverpool 2-1.
Jones Knows’ Prediction
No holding back, no leaving one through to the wicketkeeper to get my eye in, I’m freeing up the arms and swinging for the fence… Brentford are a big price at 18/5 with Sky Bet to start their campaign with a home win under the lights and Sky cameras in west London. Arsenal look vulnerable.
The added boost of a home crowd for clubs like Brentford that have a fantastic relationship with their fans should not be underestimated when it comes to analysing Premier League matches. A simple statistical breakdown from last season clearly shows the drop off in probability of teams winning matches at home without fans in attendance. In the five seasons before the 2020/21 campaign, the percentage of home wins stood at 45.4 per cent. That dropped to 37.9 per cent last season.
There may not be a pub at each corner of Brentford’s new ground but the home fans certainly showed they were well-hydrated for the job in hand during the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final win over Bournemouth. The place rocked that day. I expect a similar level of raucousness for their Premier League debut. Arsenal could crumble.
Brentford won’t fear The Gunners, who remain a team priced up on the past rather than the here and now. All the key metrics point towards Arsenal’s eighth-placed finish last season being a fair assumption of their true position in the league. And they’ve yet to provide any real evidence in their pre-season work or recruitment that mass improvement is forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Brentford’s savvy recruitment coupled with their brave style under Thomas Frank should give them a good opportunity of strengthening the 58 per cent strike rate of promoted teams avoiding the drop in the last four seasons. I think they can start their Premier League adventure with a victory.
SCORE PREDICTION: 2-1
BETTING ANGLE: Brentford to win by one goal (5/1 with Sky Bet)
The Essential Football Podcast: 21/22 Premier League season preview
The Premier League is back! New signings, new teams, old rivalries resumed and fresh hope, all to the sweet sound of full stadiums. Kate Burlaga is joined by Nick Wright and Gerard Brand to preview another nine months of drama in the top flight.
PART 1: Are City still the side to beat? And who will challenge them? Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool assessed
PART 2: Will the north London gloom lift? Leicester in focus and surprise package: Leeds, Aston Villa and Everton tipped
PART 3: How will promoted trio Brentford, Watford and Norwich fare? Plus: New managers assessed, and can West Ham deal with European distraction?
Listen on your provider here