Brentford have bettered last season’s exploits in their debut Premier League campaign by finishing ninth this term.
Although they fell painfully short of securing European qualification, the Bees have taken another step further in establishing themselves as a top-flight club.
They only missed out on the Europa Conference League by two points, but Thomas Frank’s side will hold their heads high after recording the club’s best season in the top flight in 84 years.
Here’s Brentford’s 2022/23 season review.
Player of the Year: Ivan Toney
Undoubtedly the central figure in Brentford’s show this season, Ivan Toney enjoyed a remarkable goalscoring campaign, building on last season’s 12-goal haul.
The 27-year-old excelled once again, racking up 20 league goals to become the first Brentford player to score 20+ goals since Dave McCulloch in 1938.
His contribution placed him third in the Premier League’s top scorers chart, with only Erling Braut Haaland (36) and Harry Kane (30) outscoring the England international.
Performance of the season
Despite only re-emerging in the Premier League last season following a 75-year absence, Brentford have become synonymous with pulling off phenomenal feats over the top flight’s big boys, and they were at it again.
The Bees recorded victories over Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal were the only side of the so-called ‘Big Six’ that avoided defeat against Frank’s side.
Any one of those games could easily stand out as their best performance of the season, but what is even more eye-catching is their impressive record against Man City.
Frank’s side were the only team to do the double over the Premier League champions this term, with a slender 1-0 victory in the final fixture ending the Cityzens’ 25-game unbeaten run across all competitions.
Disappointment of the season
Toney’s eight-month ban for breaching FA betting rules sent shock waves throughout the club and could have devasting consequences on his career.
The striker was found guilty of placing 13 bets on his own team to lose in seven different matches between August 22, 2017, and March 3, 2018.
His lengthy ban came in light of a diagnosis from a psychiatric expert who claims the former Newcastle United man is struggling with a gambling addiction.
Nevertheless, his off-field shenanigans will taint the club’s astonishing achievements this season.
Where his career goes from here is anyone’s guess, but it will be interesting to see what action Brentford take against their star man when his long-term suspension elapses.
What do the stats say?
Brentford have improved in leaps and bounds under Frank’s tutelage, with the Bees setting a new record for their highest placement in the top-flight division after finishing ninth in the Premier League standings.
They accumulated 59 points (W15, D14, L9), ten more than they managed last season, which is another indication of their upswing under Frank’s stewardship.
The Bees created 66 big chances (2.4 per game) and scored 58 goals (1.53 per match) – ten more than last season’s tally (48).
However, Frank will be more pleased with his side’s defensive metrics after conceding 46 goals (1.21 per match).
They boast the joint third-best defensive record in the league (along with Aston Villa) after conceding ten less than last term (56).
David Raya was one of the standout performers for Brentford, making 154 saves and racking up 12 clean sheets.
The Spaniard has been subject to transfer speculation ahead of the summer transfer window, which is unsurprising considering his 4.1 saves per match ranks him above every other goalkeeper in the league.
Brentford will feel a hint of disappointment after failing to secure European qualification at the final hurdle, but they would have taken a ninth-placed finish before a ball was kicked this season.
It has been a historic campaign for the Bees with several phenomenal results that will live long in the memories of the club’s supporters.
Brentford also emerged as the best team in west London after finishing above their local rivals Chelsea and Fulham for the first time since 1939.
With Frank at the helm, the Bees should be capable of maintaining their upward trajectory and will be itching to have another crack at competing for the continental places next season.
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