Brentford face Real Betis in final pre-season friendly ahead of Premier League season


Brentford will host Real Betis in their final pre-season friendly ahead of the new Premier League season.

Last season saw the Bees compete in the top flight of English football for the first time in their history, and Thomas Frank’s side did very well to avoid relegation and make a name of themselves in the Premier League.

An opening day victory against Arsenal would soon be a sign of things to come for the newcomers, as they went on to win a crucial point against Liverpool and ran rampant at Stamford Bridge late on in the season when they beat fellow west London side Chelsea 4-1.

Frank and co. ended the season in 13th, an honourable finish considering it was their first season in the Premier League. However, their second campaign could prove to be a lot tougher for them and they will have to put up a strong fight in order to avoid a relegation battle.

One of the biggest changes at the club this summer is the departure of Christian Eriksen. Having had his contract terminated at Inter Milan, the Denmark international soon signed for Brentford on a six-month deal.

He turned out to be a huge boost to the side, having scored one goal and assisting another four in 11 games. The 30-year-old also created a total of 30 chances from his debut until the end of the season, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard being the only two players who generated more during that time.

Such performances led to questions over where his future would lie upon the expiration of his deal at the Gtech Community Stadium. There was thought to be interest from his former side Tottenham Hotspur, for whom he made 305 appearances in six-and-a-half seasons, but he eventually signed for Manchester United.

His absence next season could be crucial in determining where Brentford finish next season and they are yet to have found his replacement, but other aspects of their business this summer have been impressive.

The Bees have strengthened their defence through the signings of centre-back Ben Mee and left-back Aaron Hickey from Burnley and Bologna respectively. They have also acquired goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha from Lazio, with the Albanian international having European experience to his name and will therefore be able to provide strong competition for a starting spot against David Raya.

Keane Lewis-Potter has also made the move to west London, signing from Championship side Hull City after an impressive spell for the Tigers.

Pre-season started well for the Bees as they picked up a 2-0 win against Boreham Wood, before going winless against Stuttgart, Strasbourg and Wolfsburg. However they have recently tasted victory against two fellow Premier League sides thanks to wins over Brighton and Arsenal in behind closed doors friendlies

Spanish opposition now await them, with Real Betis making the trip from Seville in southern Spain for Saturday’s friendly match.

Betis are managed by Manuel Pellegrini, who is no stranger to the Premier League. The former Chilean footballer has previously been boss at the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City, with the 68-year-old winning the title at the latter back in 2014.

He will bring his side to London off the back of their impressive 2021/22 campaign. They finished fifth in La Liga and just five points outside of the top four, and will play Europa League football once again next season. Betis were also crowned as the Copa del Rey Champions for the third time in their history, beating Valencia 5-4 on penalties in the final.

They boast a lot of talent going forward, with four of their attacking players scoring at least ten goals last season. Left-winger Juanmi netted 20 and provided five assists, with Borja Iglesias scoring 19 and assisting two.

Summer arrival Willian Jose amassed 16 goal contributions for Real Sociedad in the previous campaign, and Nabil Fekir accumulated 10 goals and 10 assists. The Frenchman was close to joining Liverpool in 2018, having agreed personal terms with the Reds and been pictured with the shirt, but the move failed to materialise and he remained at Lyon before joining Betis the following summer.

Brentford will therefore be coming up against top opposition on Saturday, and it will be one last chance for them to prepare for the forthcoming season.

Leicester will host them a week on Saturday on the opening match-day of the new Premier League campaign, before the Bees return home the following weekend to face Manchester United.

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