We’re at the halfway stage of the season and Brentford are certainly making themselves at home in the Premier League. In their return to the top flight in 2021/22, Brentford finished 13th and were 11 points clear of the relegation zone. It wasn’t quite the Sheffield United or Wolves story, but it was impressive. However, they will have been keen to not follow in Sheffield United’s footsteps, in being relegated in their second season.
Anyone who paid real attention to Brentford last season will not have been worried of a Sheffield United repeat, but they may have been slightly surprised to see how good the Bees are doing right now. After 19 games played, Brentford are currently eighth, sitting above both Liverpool and Chelsea.
In just their second game of the season, Brentford thrashed Manchester United 4-0 at Griffin Park, which they have gone on to prove is very much not a fluke. Manchester City and Liverpool have also lost to Brentford, both coming as part of their seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League. Also included in that run is a draw with Tottenham Hotspur, while Chelsea were held at Griffin Park too. The only team of the so-called Big Six to beat Brentford this season are Arsenal, who left Griffin Park with a 3-0 victory.
There is still a long way to go in the season, but Brentford can realistically count themselves among the race for Europa League football – which is likely to come with a top six finish. The Bees are just two points behind Fulham but have a game in hand over their West London rivals.
But what’s stopping Brentford from pushing higher? There are nine points separating the Bees from the top four, and they are one of the most form teams in the Premier League right now.
With their unbeaten run of seven games in the Premier League, only Arsenal (12) and Newcastle (14) are on a longer run without defeat this season – and they are both in the top four. Arsenal and Newcastle are also two of the three teams to have lost fewer games than Brentford in the Premier League this season, with the Bees only beaten four times.
On top of the loss to Arsenal, only Aston Villa, Newcastle and Fulham have managed to take all three points away from Brentford this season and three of those defeats came away from home. And Arsenal are up soon in the Premier League, part of a potentially difficult run which will see Brentford also take on a revitalised Man Utd who will definitely be out for revenge.
And then there’s the torrid end of season run which will see Brentford take on Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Man City in their final six matches.
Brentford often get a lot of praise for their transfer business, preferring to stay down the route of shrewd moves with the future in mind, rather than big names for big fees. Last summer they made nine signings but four of those were either for their B team or their reopened academy, while only three were above the age of 21. And one of those three was 22-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard.
So far in the January transfer window, Brentford have made three signings, with two of those joining the B team. Byron Wilson has joined on a two-year deal from Coventry, but his arrival for the B team has been largely overshadowed by his new temporary teammate Romeo Beckham. Yes, the Romeo Beckham.
Heir to the Beckham footballing thrown, Romeo Beckham has joined on loan from Inter Miami’s second team for the remainder of the season having scored two goals and provided 10 assists in MLS Next pro last season. Beckham has already made his Brentford B debut, playing in the London Senior Cup against Erith and Belvedere, and the Premier League Cup vs Aston Villa.
Of Beckham’s signing, Thomas Frank had said: “Romeo is a very good player, of course he has a name that is pretty worldwide, and big.
“For Romeo he is himself, but he of course has a big name. You can’t compare (him to David Beckham).”
He continued: “He is here for a reason, because we think he is a good player, and we are pleased he could make the loan deal.
“(We are) pleased to see him doing well, pleased to see the performance he had in the last game and when you have players, either permanent or on loan, it is for a reason.
“It is either for getting the team to perform, or to extend the loan deal and make it a permanent deal, so we just hope that he keeps progressing and makes it very interesting for us.”
For the first team, Kevin Schade has joined on loan from Freiburg with the move expected to be made permanent in the summer, and he has already made his Brentford debut.
Other Brentford odds
Fortunately or unfortunately, Brentford’s full focus will be on the Premier League for the remainder of the season having been knocked out of both cup competitions. In the EFL Cup, there was a third-round exit at the hands of Gillingham, with Brentford losing on penalties, while West Ham dumped them out of the FA Cup at the first available opportunity.
Elsewhere, Brentford have Ivan Toney flying in the Premier League, with 13 goals this season. Scoring yet another penalty in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth at the weekend, only Erling Haaland (21) and Harry Kane (15) have scored more than Toney.