BRENTFORD host Arsenal in Friday night's Premier League curtain-raiser. Chris Clark (@ChrisClark1975) shares his verdict.
Brentford vs Arsenal | Friday 13th August 2021, 20:00 | Sky Sports
The razzamatazz of the Premier League starts with an intriguing London derby on Friday night, as newly-promoted Brentford host Mikel Arteta's Arsenal.
Whilst it's Brentford first game in the Premier League, all eyes will be on Arsenal, and how they begin the season. The Gunners, in their fans eyes, tend to lurch from the sublime to the ridiculous, whereby in actual fact the team at this current time, are probably positioned in the middle of those two extremes.
In fact, Arsenal ended last season in good form, with five consecutive victories. If you took the Premier League form table from Boxing Day last year, Arsenal would actually be second. Yes, it's a bit arbitrary to pick that date, but it does show that in the second half of the season, whilst Arsenal may not have been playing entertaining football they were very hard to beat.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Pepe also ended last season in fine style, he scored 16 goals last term, with half coming after April. Brentford under Thomas Frank play a pressing style, with a very high backline and Pepe's pace and direct running on the right flank may cause Rico Henry, who is a progressive left back some issues. Pepe at 9/4 to score anytime with Unibet looks a solid bet, especially with Pepe on free-kicks too.
As mentioned, Brentford won't be shy in coming forward under Frank, and they will look to press Arsenal over the pitch, and it will be interesting to see how Ivan Toney gets on against Premier League defences, having tore up the Championship and Division one in previous seasons. Fans won't be the only interested parties, I can imagine most Premier League managers will be seeing how Toney fares this season.
Ben White Arsenal's summer signing will look to improve an Arsenal defence, which in fact finished the season keeping three clean sheets, and I think the actual issue with Arsenal is the goalkeeper.
Leno whilst good with his feet, always has an error in him. They appear to happen once a game. I fancy Brentford to take advantage of this, however this is the first time Brentford will have come up against Premier League quality in a league match, and with Arsenal being able to call on the likes of Saka and Martinelli from the bench, Arsenal should have too much quality in depth to win an entertaining opening game.
Therefore, I'll also take Arsenal to win and Both Teams To Score (11/4 SkyBet
Brentford vs Arsenal – Arsenal to win and Both Teams To Score (11/4 SkyBet)
Brentford vs Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe to score anytime (9/4 Unibet)