After a hiatus of 82 days, the 2021/22 campaign is set to kick off in style in the English Premier League and the first match of the season pitches debutants Brentford against Arsenal on Friday evening.
The game at the Brentford Community Stadium will be the first top-flight tie between these two teams in over 70 years.
Having come so close over the past few seasons, Brentford finally clinched promotion to the elite division and they would be keen to make a grand entry to the Premier League after the long years in the lower ranks.
The Bees have shown great intent to ruffle shoulders in the elite cadre with the quality additions they have made in the transfer market.
They have added to their ranks highly-rated Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer, while they’ve also procured the services of former Midtjylland midfielder and Nigeria international, Frank Onyeka.
For the Gunners, many have suggested this is a make-or-break campaign for Mikel Arteta at the Emirates and that is the more reason the Gunners will be eyeing a bright start against the Premier League new boys.
The Gunners had a hugely disappointing campaign last term, which saw the club miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years; a nightmare they are eager to banish.
When kicking off their Premier League season away from home, Arsenal are unbeaten in seven games (W5 D2) since losing 0-1 at Sunderland at the start of the 2000/01 campaign.
The Gunners began last season with a 3-0 victory away against promoted side Fulham.
As for this weekend, Bukayo Saka is unlikely to start due to his lack of match fitness, while forward Eddie Nketiah is out with an ankle problem. Brazilian defender Gabriel is also sidelined with a knee injury. It has also been reported that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both fell ill and will also miss the season opener.
Arsenal 3-1 Brentford, League Cup, 26 September 2018. The two sides hadn’t met since 1947 prior to this encounter, with the Premier League side eventually running out winners in a lively Carabao Cup third-round tie.
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