Brentford are hoping to avoid ‘second season syndrome’ as they prepare to enter another Premier League campaign.
The Bees managed to survive rather comfortably in their first top-flight season in 74 years, finishing 13th and earning more points than fellow promoted sides Watford and Norwich combined.
Thomas Frank’s side have lost Christian Eriksen heading into the second ever Premier League campaign and he has already called on members of his current squad to step up in his absence.
Here’s how 90min thinks the Bees will fare.
Eriksen’s departure will hit the Bees hard and Frank has name-checked the likes of Mathias Jensen as a player who needs to step up to replace his output, while Josh Dasilva could shine in his first full year after a series of injuries.
Brentford completed the signing of long-term target Keane Lewis-Potter last month to also lighten their load, too.
Numbers subject to change before end of transfer window
1) David Raya
2) Aaron Hickey
3) Rico Henry
4) Charlie Goode
5) Ethan Pinnock
6) Christian Norgaard (VC)
7) Sergi Canos
8) Mathias Jensen
10) Josh Dasilva
11) Yoane Wissa
13) Thomas Strakosha
14) Saman Ghoddos
15) Frank Onyeka
16) Ben Mee
17) Ivan Toney
18) Pontus Jansson (C)
19) Bryan Mbeumo
20) Kristoffer Ajer
21) Halil Dervisoglu
23) Keane Lewis-Potter
24) Tariqe Fosu
25) Myles Peart-Harris
26) Shandon Baptiste
27) Vitaly Janelt
29) Mads Bech Sorensen
30) Mads Roerslev
32) Luka Racic
36) Fin Stevens
41) Matthew Cox
Frank has already admitted that there’s no chance of being able to replace Eriksen’s quality like-for-like and they will have to find alternate solutions.
A lot of responsibility will be on the shoulders of Ivan Toney, who finished last season with 12 goals, though five came from the penalty spot.
Nevertheless, his fast start to the campaign was disrupted by injuries and Covid-19, looking much like his old self in the spring and helping fire Brentford to safety.
One to watch
With the addition of Aaron Hickey from Bologna, Frank now has a right-back capable of offering what Rico Henry can produce on the left.
Brentford had been dying out for more options at full-back and Hickey was one of Serie A’s finest last season, chipping in with five goals himself.
Brentford will wear the same home strip this season as they did last to save fans money and to help the environment.
Brentford have not yet unveiled their third kit for the 2022/23 season.
Brentford ended last season on a high and while they have understandably been weakened, there are definitely several teams in much worse positions heading into the new campaign.
The Bees have made some shrewd signings this window and more could yet come through the doors at the Gtech Community Stadium to help bolster their ranks.
Frank should be able to keep the ship steadied for another year, though it’ll be hard to finish higher than the 13th place they just achieved.