Brentford head coach Thomas Frank says his side will be facing one of the “best performing” teams in the Premier League when they welcome Arsenal to the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday (Brentford 19/5, Draw 3/1, Arsenal 3/4 – Match Result).
The Bees famously claimed a 2-0 victory over their illustrious rivals on the opening day of last season – their first ever match in the Premier League – and they have also started the current campaign strongly, losing just one of their six games (Brentford top-six finish 16/1).
Arsenal have also impressed over the opening weeks of the new season, winning their first five top-flight fixtures before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United in their most recent league fixture.
Despite that defeat, Frank feels Arsenal (14/1 to win title) are still a “remarkable” side that are much improved from the team Brentford beat 13 months ago, while he sees only Manchester City as being better than the Gunners based on current form.
“We are playing against a very good side,” Frank told reporters.
“When we beat them a year ago, I think they were not in the same place as they are now. It was still a fantastic win for Brentford against a club as massive as Arsenal and against top players.
“Doing it on Sunday would be completely different because for me, now, after (Manchester) City, they are the best performing team in the league.
“Maybe, in spells, they’ve been the best performing team over the first six games. I think they’ve been remarkable, especially the intensity they play with.”
Brentford could be boosted by the return of Sergi Canos for Sunday’s match – the winger is yet to feature this season due to a hamstring injury, but has recently returned to training.
In-form striker Ivan Toney (6/4 anytime scorer) is also set to feature after being called into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the first time this week, but midfielder Christian Norgaard and centre back Ethan Pinnock remain sidelined.
Arsenal are hopeful Thomas Partey will be able to play some part in west London after he returned to training this week following a thigh problem.
However, boss Mikel Arteta will definitely be without Oleksandr Zinchenko, Reiss Nelson and Mohamed Elneny due to injury, while Emile Smith Rowe is a major doubt due to an ongoing groin issue.