Brentford’s third consecutive top-flight campaign warrants cautious optimism following a memorable 2022/23 campaign, where they finished ninth in the standings.
Despite bettering off their first season back into the elite division by four places and 13 points, Thomas Frank’s men would be wise not to get ahead of themselves in 2023/24.
Losing the spine of his line-up in David Raya and Ivan Toney will derail Frank’s chances of helping the Bees replicate last season’s top-half finish, as they’ll more likely fight for their skin this year.
Visiting Tottenham are bracing themselves up for a fresh start under new boss Ange Postecoglou, desperate to get back on the rails after missing out on European qualification for the first time in over a decade last term.
Postecoglou’s side blew hot and cold in pre-season (W2, L2), but the immediate risk of losing standout forward Harry Kane to Bayern Munich is a more pressing issue.
Kane’s potential exit on the eve of the 2023/24 kick-off would inflict a massive blow on Tottenham’s hopes of re-establishing themselves as top-four contestants.
Brentford’s bid to defy the traditionally poor season openers that have seen them go winless in nine of their last 11 curtain-raising fixtures looks far-fetched.
Frank’s team endured a winless pre-season (D3, L2), failing to score in two of their last three exhibition matches, mainly due to Toney’s absence to a betting breach-related suspension.
However, the Bees have started both previous Premier League campaigns unbeaten (W1, D1), while they finished last season with three consecutive home league wins.
It’s also worth mentioning that since a 2-0 defeat in their first Premier League meeting with Tottenham, they’ve gone undefeated in their last three top-flight encounters (W1, D2).
Despite a 4-1 demolition of relegated Leeds United on last season’s final weekend, Tottenham had to settle for an underwhelming eighth-place finish, their joint-worst placing since 2007/08.
Postecoglou must pick up the pieces and place them together again, starting with Spurs’ disastrous defensive showings that contributed to a leaky 2022/23 campaign, where they conceded 63 goals.
Among sides to have finished in the top 14, Tottenham conceded the most goals, explaining the club’s decision to splash out £43 million on the signing of Micky van de Ven from Wolfsburg.
If it’s any consolation for the Tottenham faithful, Spurs have won five of their seven league games against fellow London rivals in 2023 (L2), though one of those two losses came against non-other than Brentford.
Besides outgoing Raya and suspended Toney, Brentford may have to make it without captain Christian Norgaard, who’s out with a knock.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Bentancur and Ryan Sessegnon won’t be part of Postecoglou’s travelling squad.
Brentford potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Mark Flekken; Aaron Hickey, Ethan Pinnock, Ben Mee, Mads Roerslev; Mathias Jensen, Frank Onyeka, Mikkel Damsgaard; Bryan Mbeumo, Josh Dasilva, Kevin Schade.
Tottenham Hotspur potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Guglielmo Vicario; Pedro Porro, Micky van de Ven, Christian Romero, Emerson Royal; Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp; Heung-min Son, Manor Solomon, Dejan Kulusevski; Richarlison.
We Say: Brentford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Despite dealing with massive off-field problems, we expect Tottenham to arrest a three-game winless run against Brentford.
It would be a fitting way for Postecoglou to mark his touchline debut in the Premier League.
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