Brentford are a breath of fresh air in the Premier League

Brentford’s deadline day signing of Christian Eriksen is just further evidence of how far the so-called ‘small’ London side have come over the course of the last seven months. Despite a wealth of Danish influences at the west London club, nobody could still quite believe that the 29-year-old’s chosen destination to try an rejuvenate his career after that shocking heart attack at Euro 2020 was the Brentford Community Stadium. 

Yet, Brentford once again took everyone by surprise. Their journey to the Premier League took a bit longer than expected, as they threw away automatic promotion late in the 2019-20 season, ultimately losing to their local rivals Fulham in the play-off final. The Bees almost repeated that fate like-for-like last year — squandering their place in the top two, only to salvage promotion with a victory over Swansea City at Wembley. 

Their ascendency to the top flight of English football, which they had to wait over 70 years to achieve, was not expected to last long though. Like most newly promoted sides, Brentford were tipped to go straight back down again in the online sports betting odds. But Thomas Frank’s side have shown incredible resilience to fight in the face of adversity and largely defy the relegation markets — well, at least in the early parts of the season!

Brentford took to the Premier League like a bee to honey, stunning their London counterparts Arsenal with a 2-0 victory on the opening day of the season. Seven games in and they had lost just once, a 1-0 defeat away to an in-form Brighton side, with draws against Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Aston Villa along with victories over Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United providing the side with crucial points. 

Victories have been few and far between since then though, with wins over strugglers Everton and Watford perhaps not the most glamorous but crucial for their chances of survival, while the 2-1 success over Aston Villa, who have been in fine fettle since Steven Gerrard left Ibrox to replace Dean Smith, was a touch more convincing.    

Yes, Brentford have been a breath of fresh air this season — as the likes of Leeds United and Sheffield United were when they returned to the Premier League over the last couple of years. But it’s highly unlikely that Frank’s side are going to emulate the Yorkshire club’s success and record a top-half finish. In fact, they are a far from safe and if results continue to go against them, they could begin to feel the heat as we enter the business end of the season. 

If Eddie Howe can get his January arrivals to gel quickly at St. James’ Park and the Magpies continue to pick up points like they have done in recent weeks with draws against Manchester United and Watford and the victory over Leeds, then they will start to climb the table and Brentford will likely be pulled into that relegation scrap unless their results drastically improve — Frank will be hoping that Eriksen can help change their fortunes.