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Scouting Report: Brentford FC

A detailed look at Brentford’s real-life and fantasy prospects for the 2021-22 premier League season.

Ivan Toney - Brentford - Premier League
Brentford’s talisman Ivan Toney
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Brentford’s road to the Premier League has been anything but easy. After failing to qualify for the top tier of English football in playoff stage failures of 2014-15 and 2019-20 seasons, the Bees have now made it to the Premier League for the very first time in the club’s history, though they did play in the pre-EPL top flight before... in 1935-39. It has been a while!

Brentford itself is a town in West London, about eight miles due west of the city center. Since last season, the club has been playing its home matches at Brentford Community Stadium, which with a seating capacity of 17,250 is the 2nd-smallest in the current EPL. The Bees’ primary kit is red & white vertical stripes.


Promotion

Several clubs are promoted each year to the first tiers in England, Spain, Italy, etc, but Brentford’s road to the top is unique. To fully understand Brentford’s story, it is important to know about the owner, Matthew Benham.

Brentford v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship - Playoff - Final - Wembley Stadium Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Benham, a lifelong Brentford fan, is an Oxford physicist-turned entrepreneur who co-founded Smart Odds — a stats company providing sports modeling services to professional gamblers. After buying Brentford FC in 2012, Benham used data analytics — the tool he liked the most, to bridge the budget gap between Brentford and other wealthier clubs.

As in Moneyball, the Bees’ data analytics team was able to identify and recruit undervalued prospects across Europe and turn them into superstars. This model worked like a charm as Brentford developed now EPL stars like Neal Maupay, Saïd Benrahma, and Ollie Watkins for minimum fees, then sold them for profit. Using the bigger transfer budget and smart recruitment, the West London club has worked its way to the top of English football and will hope for a sustained stay in the Premier League for years to come.

Connections with Danish football are deep-rooted for Brentford FC since owner Benham bought Midtjylland in 2014 and built them into 2019-20 Danish Superliga champions. It’s safe to say Benham knows how to run a successful football club at the highest level; his track record with Midtjylland speaks for itself. He’ll hope to replicate the success with Brentford FC in the Premier League.


2020-21 Season

Brentford v West Ham United - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images

Ever since Thomas Frank took charge as head coach in 2018, Brentford has played total football — a high pressing, offensive style of play. The 2020-21 Championship season was no different. The Bees finished 3rd in the league with 87 points, scoring more goals (79) than any other team. Defensively, the Bees had the worst record among the promoted sides, conceding 42 goals and keeping 17 clean sheets. In the playoffs, Brentford edged past AFC Bournemouth 3-2 on aggregate over two legs in the semifinals before beating Swansea City 2-0 in the final.


Fantasy Prospects

Brentford’s style of play is very similar to Marcelo Bielsa’s at Leeds. Goalmouth action can be expected on both ends of the pitch. Like Leeds, Brentford won’t find it easy to keep clean sheets as long as manager Thomas Frank continues to employ an attack-first philosophy. Targeting Brentford fixtures for attacking returns from opponents is a strategy to consider; it worked for several FPL managers in the previous season against Leeds. But it’s still too soon to draw conclusions about Brentford’s defensive capabilities, as a slight tactical tweak could bolster the defense.

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In attack, Brentford offers plenty of potential value options

Top 3 Brentford Attackers

Player name Club Position Price Minutes Goals Assists Returns per game Goals per game
Player name Club Position Price Minutes Goals Assists Returns per game Goals per game
Ivan Toney Brentford FWD 6.5m 4132.00 33.00 10.00 0.94 0.72
Bryan Mbeumo Brentford MID 5.5m 3303.00 8.00 12.00 0.54 0.22
Sergi Canos Brentford MID 5.5m 3126.00 9.00 9.00 0.52 0.26

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Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney (£6.5m, FWD) - Brentford - Premier League
Ivan Toney (£6.5m, FWD)
Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Ivan Toney has been Brentford’s talisman ever since he arrived from Peterborough United in the 2020-21 season. Although the former Newcastle striker is unlikely to score as freely as he did in the Championship, he is still a decent value option as all of Brentford’s attack goes through him. If Thomas Frank continues to play his free-flowing brand of football, expect Toney to get lots of scoring chances. The Englishman is also Brentford’s first-choice penalty taker, adding to his value as an FPL asset. The secret is out though; Toney currently features in almost a third of all FPL squads.

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Bryan Mbeumo

AFC Wimbledon v Brentford - Pre-Season Friendly
Bryan Mbeumo(£5.5m, MID)
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

After bursting onto the scene in the 2019-20 Championship season by scoring 16 goals and creating 8, Mbeumo carried over his form to the 2020-21 season with another 20 goal contributions. The 21-year-old striker’s numbers consistently impress, and he’ll only get better with more experience. Although he has been used in multiple positions, the Frenchman has recently played as a second striker alongside Toney and looks set to stay up top, making him a reasonable player to own. Just be aware that for the same money you could get proven assets such as Emile Smith-Rowe, Ruben Neves, or Ashley Westwood, or even Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg for 0.5 less.

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Sergi Canós

Sergi Canós (£5.5m, MID) - Brentford - Premier League
Sergi Canós (£5.5m, MID)
Photo by Federico Maranesi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sergi Canós has been listed as an FPL midfielder despite playing in the left wing-back position in the later parts of last season. Although it would have been ideal if the Spaniard were classed as a defender in FPL, his numbers are decent for a value midfielder. Generously priced at a measly £5.5m, the versatile 24-year-old could be the next Stuart Dallas as he was used all over the pitch (even as a left-winger sometimes!) throughout last season, making him Thomas Frank’s go-to utility man. Then again, be aware that for the same money, you could actually own the last Stuart Dallas.


The Best of the Rest

Brentford v West Ham United - Pre Season Friendly
Ethan Pinnock (£4.5m, DEF)
Photo by Federico Maranesi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Despite Brentford’s favorable opening fixtures, the Bees defenders are a “wait and watch” as there are better picks at the £4.5m price point. But among Brentford’s stable of defenders, Ethan Pinnock (£4.5m, DEF), Rico Henry (£4.5m, DEF) and David Raya Martin (£4.5m, GK) are the standouts.

Despite scoring only once and assisting twice, Pinnock had 31 shots last season which was comfortably the highest number of shots for a Brentford defender. Rico Henry, like his defensive partner Pinnock, is a mainstay in the team and was part of the PFA Championship team of the year in 2020-21 alongside teammates Pinnock and Toney. Goalkeeper Raya managed to keep 17 clean sheets while conceding 38 goals in his 45 league appearances.


New arrivals:

25/02/18 LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP.ABERDEEN V CELTIC.PITTODRIE - ABERDEEN.Celtic’s Kristoff Ajer after being treated for a head knock.
Kristoffer Ajer (£4.5m, DEF)
Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images

Kristoffer Ajer (£4.5m, DEF) and the returning Halil Dervişoğlu (£5.5m, FWD) are exciting prospects. Ajer was a regular starter for Scottish giants Celtic, the Danish center-back bagging 1 goal and 2 assists in his 31 Scottish Premiership appearances last season. Dervişoğlu impressed in his 6-month loan spell at Galatasaray where the Turk scored 3 goals and assisted twice in his 12 league appearances for the Lions.


Fixture difficulty:

Brentford has a relatively easy start to the season in terms of fixtures as they face the likes of Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Brighton, and Wolves after a tricky opener against Arsenal FC. Although looking too far ahead isn’t my forte, Brentford’s best fixture runs seem to range from MD 10 to MD16 & MD 27 to MD 34, both of which include a series of games against the likes of Burnley, Norwich, and Newcastle in consecutive game-weeks.


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Which Brentford player has gone under the radar? Which Brentford signing excites you the most? How many Brentford players will be part of your team from the get-go? Was this article helpful to gain insight into Brentford’s FPL prospects? Where will Brentford finish this season? Please let us know in the comments section!

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