Brentford manager Thomas Frank believes next opponents Crystal Palace have set the blueprint for Brentford to follow if they are to become an established Premier League club.
The Bees made a dream start to their first ever campaign in the competition with a 2-0 win over Arsenal last week, earning widespread praise for their refreshing brand of football.
However, Frank knows that Brentford have a lot of work ahead of them if they are to not just avoid relegation this season but to remain a top-flight side for years to come.
“I need to praise Crystal Palace because they have been in the Premier League for the last eight years and have been very consistent in everything they do,” he said. “They have a low budget and constantly produce good performances in the last eight years. It is very impressive what they have achieved. It is someone we look at and think: ‘Hmmm, they have done something good.’
“All the small bits we can steal from everyone and, of course, added in to our model and the way of believing, that is the way to go forward.”
Palace were beaten 3-0 by Chelsea in their first game under new boss Patrick Vieira and are now winless in nine top-flight London derbies, losing the last four in a row.
With Selhurst Park set to be packed for the first time since March 2020, Vieira is eager to get off the mark against fellow capital club Brentford on Saturday.
“This is a strength of the football club, the fanbase, the atmosphere they manage to build in the stadium, so I am really looking forward to it,” he said ahead of his first home match. The fans missed being around the players, the players missed the fans in the stadium during this difficult period. The world of football is completely different without the fans so we are really excited to play at home in front of our own fans.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Crystal Palace – Conor Gallagher
Palace have undergone a facelift of sorts since the end of last season and one of their new recruits, former Chelsea man Gallagher, is in line to make his debut this weekend. The 21-year-old is highly rated after successful spells on loan in the Championship and in the Premier League with West Brom, where he scored twice and assisted two more last term.
Brentford – Sergi Canos
Canos will forever be remembered as the player who scored Brentford’s first ever Premier League goal, netting from one of his three shots in the opening game of the season. Not only did he lead the way in that category, the winger also made the most combined tackles (seven) and interceptions (three) of any Premier League player on gameday one.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Palace and Brentford have not faced each other in a league game since a January 1964 meeting in the third tier, won 1-0 by Palace with a goal from Peter Burridge.
– In any competition, this is the first encounter between Palace and Brentford for 39 years, since a Football League Trophy match at Griffin Park that ended 2-2 in August 1982.
– Only two of the last 17 teams playing their first away Premier League match have won (D2 L13), with Blackpool winning 4-0 against Wigan Athletic in 2010 and Huddersfield Town winning 3-0 against Crystal Palace in 2017. Excluding the opening season in 1992-93, two of the five teams to win their first ever away match in the competition have done so at Palace, with Barnsley also doing so in 1997.
– Brentford kicked off their maiden Premier League campaign with a 2-0 victory against Arsenal. Only three teams have ever won their first two games in the competition – Coventry City and Norwich City in 1992-93, and Huddersfield in 2017-18.
– The Bees have won just two of their last 12 away league London derbies (D5 L5), winning at both QPR and Fulham in the 2019-20 campaign.