Brentford vs Arsenal preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups, ones to watch
Brentford's starting XI huddle together ahead of their 2-1 win over Valencia. | Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images. 

Brentford's 74-year top-flight hiatus comes to an end on Friday night as the Bees welcome Arsenal to the Brentford Community Stadium to open up the 2021/22 Premier League campaign. 

It's quite fitting that Brentford's first opponent in the Premier League is at home to the team they last faced in a top division game on 26 May, 1947. Arsenal won 1-0 on the day in what was their only win at Griffin Park, having lost on their previous four visits. 

Griffin Park is no more and it is now a new era for the club in a new stadium that will hold a full capacity crowd for the first time since its opening last summer. 

The stadium was 'officially' opened to supporters on Saturday as they were treated to a lifting of the play-off trophy and a pre-match performance from Kurupt FM. Thomas Frank's side came from behind to defeat Valencia 2-1, thanks to goals from Ethan Pinnock and Frank Onyeka, to round off a good pre-season on a positive note.  

Arsenal's pre-season didn't quite have the positive results like this week's hosts. Despite comfortably defeating Watford and Millwall 4-1, the Gunners lost their last two fixtures against Chelsea (1-2) and Tottenham Hotspur (1-0) in the Mind Series, adding to their draw against Rangers (2-2) and loss to Hibernian (2-1). 

This season will be Arsenal's first campaign without European football since 1995 after a second consecutive 8th-placed finish - their lowest position since 1994/95. Mikel Arteta will have an eye on a European return come next season and be keen to start on the front foot. 

Arsenal's business this summer suggests a long-term vision in mind, with the acquisitions of Ben White (23, Brighton & Hove Albion), Albert Sambi Lokonga (21, Anderlecht), and Nuno Tavares (21, Benfica), while handing Emile Smith Rowe a new contract. Thomas Frank sees this week's opponents as a club in transition but believes they can "create something exciting and new in the future". 

Team News 

Thomas Frank has confirmed that Ivan Toney will start after missing the win against Valencia with a minor neck injury. 

Josh Dasilva remains a long-term absentee and won't feature against his former club due to a hip injury. Mathias Jensen will also be absent as he recovers from a foot injury sustained in Euro 2020. 

New signing, Yoane Wissa, is eligible for this fixture after completing a reported £8.6 million from Lorient this week. 

Arsenal will be without key players in Thomas Partey (ligament damage in right ankle) and Gabriel (knee), as well as Eddie Nketiah, who bruised his ankle in the friendly against ChelseaGabriel Martinelli will also be absent after representing Brazil at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Ben White and Albert Sambi Lokonga are in contention to start after starting Arsenal's final pre-season fixture against Tottenham Hotspur in what appeared to be a full-strength line-up.

Predicted Lineups 

Brentford: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Roerslev, Nørgaard, Janelt, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney, Canós. 

Arsenal: Leno, Bellerín, White, Marí, Tierney; Lokonga, Xhaka; Pépé, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang; Lacazette.  

Ones to watch

Brentford's defensive success in the past two season has been largely down to the consistent performances of Ethan Pinnock.

Another Non-league to Premier League story, Pinnock will be a standout player in the league this season. He reads the game very well, will dominate aerial duels, and will play a key role in building out from defence. To exemplify, he won 11 aerial duels, made 10 clearances, and completed 2 interceptions in the play-off final last season. 

The Jamaica international was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Season last campaign and will prove difficult to get past. 

Bukayo Saka has become the poster boy of Arsenal Football Club. The 19-year-old's development has taken huge strides under Mikel Arteta and is becoming one of England's most prized assets.  

A very mature player for his age, he is fearless on the ball and Gareth Southgate's faith to play him ahead of Jadon Sancho in key games against the Czech Republic, Germany, and Denmark showcases how highly-rated he is.

It is unlikely he will start on Friday having recently come back from his summer break, but there is no doubt he will be a huge threat if he is to come off the bench.  

Previous Meetings

Arsenal have met Brentford just once in any competition since 1947 and are unbeaten in their last four competitive encounters dating back to 1939. 

The two were drawn together in the 2018/19 Carabao Cup third round. A Danny Welbeck brace and Alexandre Lacazette stoppage-time goal was enough to help the Gunners progress with a 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium.  

More recently, the two clubs faced each other in June 2020 in a friendly to prepare for the resumption of the 2019/20 season. Thomas Frank's side left north London with a 3-2 victory.  

How to watch 

This fixture will kick-off on Friday 13 August at 8pm GMT and will be broadcasted on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League, and Sky One. 

What the managers have said 

Brentford head coach, Thomas Frank, on Brentford's rise to the Premier League and their objectives for this season. 

"It has been a remarkable journey for a lot of people. We are proud, we are excited, we can’t wait but we want to go out there and prove ourselves. 

"There are two simple targets for me. One is to win the next game which is on Friday against Arsenal. Two is to finish as high as possible. We want to be positive minded and attacking for as many minutes as possible"

Frank on tomorrow's opponents. 

"They are going through a transition; they want to be a top four club again. They are trying to build a new team and a new culture; that takes time. I am convinced that they can create something exciting and new in the future."

Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta, when asked if Brentford will approach the match with caution. 

"No, if you look historically at what they’ve done in the last few years there’s a very clear direction. I think from top to bottom of the club they know what they want to do and they execute it really well. I think they will be a really tough opponent for every team in the Premier League."

Arteta on his opposite number. 

"I think what he's done is remarkable. I will share with you the opinion that they are a very exciting team and the way they have come up after a few disappointments in the last few seasons, on the last day, and the way they have reacted tells a lot about them and what Thomas [Frank] has done there it's fantastic."

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