12 August 2021, 23:36 | 26 August 2021, 20:47
With a new Premier League season set to kick off this weekend, its opening fixture is also one of the most intriguing. Newly promoted Brentford, fresh off a win in last season's Championship playoff final, meet Arsenal with what should be an almost full capacity stadium of fans cheering them on.
Getting set for Brentford! | Behind the scenes at Arsenal training centre
Most promoted teams hope for a home game to kick things off, and while Arsenal don't represent an easy challenge, it certainly highlights the reality of reaching the top league for the first time since 1946-47. This will be an occasion Brentford fans treasure no matter the result, though they'll be hopeful of a positive one to boost confidence for a long hard season ahead. Good news for the club as they aim for this is that star striker Ivan Toney has been declared fit to start after worryingly missing the final friendly match of pre-season. Will he kick off their season with a goal or two here?
Arsenal, meanwhile, also face an interesting season. Having missed out on European qualification for the first time in 26 years, much could hinge on a good start for manager Mikel Arteta to retain support from the club's fans. Getting that strong start could catapult a challenge for the top four and so make no mistake: this match is as vital an occasion for Arsenal as it is for their newly promoted opponents.
New signings Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White are all in contention to make their debuts in this game. Many fans will undoubtedly be eager to see the initial results of the club's summer recruitment policy, which has focused predominantly on youth and building for the future.
Opening games tend to set the tone for the season and you don't get much better potential for drama than a promoted team at home to a bruised bigger club. Whatever happens, whoever you support, this is a match everyone will be keen to analyse for a glimpse of what's to come.