Brentford defied expectations last season, bettering their debut top-flight campaign by finishing ninth in the Premier League standings.
Thomas Frank’s side came agonisingly close to securing European football with just two points separating them from the top seven.
However, they have taken another vital step in establishing themselves as a Premier League club, and the fans will be optimistic about forcing their way into the European places this season.
Achieving that feat could be tricky, especially with Ivan Toney suspended for half the season after his betting fiasco. But the Bees will be expected to maintain their place in the top half at the very least.
Here is our Brentford season preview for 2023/24. You can also check out our detailed Premier League season previews for all 20 teams.
Brentford kickoff their third Premier League campaign with three consecutive London derby clashes facing Tottenham Hotspur (H), Fulham (A), and Crystal Palace (H) in August.
Frank’s side take a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on West London neighbours Chelsea on October 28 before a tough November period pits them against West Ham United (H), Liverpool (A), and Arsenal (H).
Brentford host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Boxing Day before welcoming Nottingham Forest to the capital in their first league fixture of 2024 on January 13.
Their reverse fixture against Chelsea is scheduled for March 2, while the final month of the season pits them against Fulham (H), Bournemouth (A), and Newcastle United (H).
Frank has done a stellar job getting Brentford to the Premier League and quickly establishing them as a top-half club.
Competing for the European places in their sophomore year in the top flight is no small feat, and his exploits at the West London club have seen his stock rise exponentially.
The Danish tactician has proven himself to be a very capable manager at the top level, and his brand of football guarantees results.
He has already been linked with top clubs in the past, which is a testament to his astonishing work at the Gtech Community Stadium.
The next challenge for Frank will be to help Brentford exceed their previous achievements and move into the European places.
An unlikely domestic success cannot be ruled out given their penchant for stunning the big teams, but their transfer market activity will determine how they fare in the Premier League this season.
Brentford have made three additions to Frank’s first-team squad, with Mark Flekken, Kevin Schade, and Nathan Collins joining the West Londoners.
Flekken is expected to replace David Raya, who only remains a Brentford player because of the club’s exorbitant demands.
The Spanish goalkeeper has been vocal about his desire to leave the club this summer, and several top teams are lining up for his signature.
But Brentford considers Raya a valuable asset and have slapped a £40m asking price on the keeper, which has made a transfer complicated.
Raya was one of the club’s standout performers last term, making 154 saves and racking up 12 clean sheets.
Collins has joined the Brentford backline, which already had a strong defensive record, ranking joint third in the league after conceding only 46 times last term.
His arrival is expected to further enhance the team’s defensive prowess.
Schade, who spent the second half of the season at the Gtech Stadium, has also joined Brentford permanently for a fee of £22 million.
However, there are question marks surrounding the deal, considering the German forward failed to open his goalscoring account in the Premier League despite featuring 18 times – although mostly from the bench.
The 21-year-old was touted as one of the finest talents in the Bundesliga after coming through Freiburg’s youth ranks, but his concerning injury record has hampered his development thus far.
The Brentford fans will hope Schade can shake off his injury problems and realise his potential at West London.
Meanwhile, there have been no significant departures from the Gtech Stadium thus far. But Brentford will be without last season’s top scorer Toney, who is serving a suspension for violating betting rules.
The Bees may be better off recruiting a new striker to make up for Toney’s absence, with the Englishman set to be missing in action until January.
Frank is a dynamic manager that occasionally tweaks his structure from a back four to a back three, making it difficult to predict his formation.
However, we expect the Dane to line up in a 4-3-3 system considering it was his predominant set-up last season.
The odds of Raya staying at the club beyond this summer are considerably low, so Flekken should replace him between the sticks.
Ethan Pinnock and Ben Mee were at the heart of Brentford’s exceptional defence last season and should retain their place with Collins providing competition.
Aaron Hickey and Rico Henry should be the starting full-backs, although Mads Roerslev could displace one of them.
Vitaly Janelt, Frank Onyeka, and Mathias Jensen make up the midfield three, with former Sampdoria prodigy Mikkel Damsgaard left to fight for a spot in the starting line-up.
With Toney sidelined for an extended period, Bryan Mbeumo should be the main man from the flank, with Yoane Wissa leading the line and Schade providing width.
Here is our prediction for Brentford’s strongest starting XI next season:
4-3-3: Flekken; Hickey, Pinnock, Mee, Henry; Onyeka, Janelt, Jensen; Schade, Wissa, Mbeumo.
Toney was Brentford’s headline performer last season, scoring 20 Premier League goals as the Bees came within reach of the European places.
While his goalscoring prowess will be sorely missed, his physicality, aerial ability, and link-up play also made him a handful for any defender.
In his absence, the responsibility to provide the goods falls on his pacy and athletic partner in crime, Mbeumo.
The Cameroonian managed nine goals and eight assists last term and should exceed those numbers while leading the line this time around.
Brentford will be itching to pick up where they left off last season after winning five of their final six fixtures, including games against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Spurs.
The Bees head into the new campaign with renewed spirits and will fancy their chances of starting the season with a positive result against Spurs.
Another season of consolidation is likely the aim for the new campaign, with a top-half push seemingly more realistic than securing a European finish.
They have kept most of their squad from last term and added some new faces. But Toney’s absence could leave a telling mark on Frank’s side this season.
Predicted finish: 10th
- Everton takeover: 777 Partner’s source of funding facing new legal complaint
- Chelsea face competition from Barcelona and Real Madrid for teen stars
- Tottenham’s Manor Solomon facing three months on the sidelines with knee injury
- Charles Ebersol reveals inside story of £40M Chelsea deal with Infinite Athlete
- Morocco, Spain and Portugal to host 2030 FIFA World Cup