Chelsea and Brentford look on course for strong seasons

West London’s Premier League teams have made fine starts to their campaigns – and both Chelsea and Brentford look well placed to achieve their aims this season.

Those aims are very different of course, with Chelsea defending their European crown and looking to sustain a major challenge for the Premier League title, while Brentford are looking to consolidate.

But the early signs are good – and it’s no surprise that bookmakers fancy both teams’ chances, as the odds available at show.

Lukaku makes the difference

It’s already clear that Chelsea are genuine rivals for the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the title race – and the re-signing of Romelu Lukaku has made all the difference.

The Blues have been defensively brilliant since Thomas Tuchel took over as manager at Stamford Bridge in January, but at the other end there were problems.

Timo Werner has struggled in front of goal and Chelsea’s lack of a cutting edge up front was obvious before this summer’s transfer window.

But the issue has been emphatically addressed by Lukaku’s return to the club. The Belgian was unable to establish himself as a first-team player during his first spell at Chelsea but has gone on to establish himself as one of Europe’s top strikers.

Lukaku gives Chelsea a goal threat, a physical presence up front and link-up play – all things they were lacking. It has made them a very different proposition this season.

And with the likes of Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic supporting Lukaku in attack, there’s no doubt that Tuchel’s side are a truly formidable outfit.

The great news for Chelsea fans is that their team’s strength in other areas of the pitch hasn’t gone away – in fact it has increased.

The arrival of Spain international Saul Niguez adds to midfield options that already included Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic. Chelsea are frighteningly strong in that area and they remain rock-solid at the back, where Andreas Christensen continues to impress at the heart of the Blues defence.

Bees buzzing

As for Brentford, their start to life in the Premier League would suggest they are well equipped to stay in the division this season.

Unbeaten in their three matches so far, and having conceded just one goal, the Bees have looked anything but out of place in the top flight – and their win against Arsenal in their opening match will live long in the memory of their fans.

Brentford have a striker to be reckoned with in Ivan Toney, who was too good for Championship defences and looks capable of making the step up. The likes of Sergi Canos and Bryan Mbeumo have also been impressive so far.

Strengthening their defence was a must – and they did just that with the big-money signing of Norway centre-back Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic.

It’s early days, but Brentford have shown why bookmakers think they have a very decent chance of staying up.