The Promoted

What can FPL managers expect from Brentford’s defence in 2021/22?

Our series on the newly-promoted Premier League sides continues with this look at Brentford’s goalkeeper and defenders.

In this article, we will assess the Bees’ overall clean sheet chances and then present a player-by-player rundown of their backline ahead of their Fantasy Premier League (FPL) debuts.

FPL price reveal and launch reaction from three-time top 200 finisher Lateriser 1

WHAT IS BRENTFORD’S CLEAN SHEET POTENTIAL?    

Brentford were the highest-scoring team in the Championship last season, with much of the focus from an FPL perspective consequently focusing on Ivan Toney (£6.5m).

There has been less attention on the Bees’ backline, with all of their goalkeepers and defenders owned by fewer than 3% of Fantasy managers at present.

Perhaps there’s some justification for that: Thomas Frank’s side had the worst defensive record out of the three promoted clubs (42 goals conceded in 46 matches) and kept fewer clean sheets (17) than Norwich City (18) and Watford (23).

The Bees were remarkably consistent whether at home or on the road, conceding just two more goals on their travels than they did in west London:

PWDLFAGDPTSCS
Total46241577942+378717
Home2312923920+194510
Away2312654022+18427

That was also a trait of Brentford’s previous full season under Frank in 2019/20 (18 goals conceded at home, 20 away).

2020/21 total (rank v other Championship clubs)
Goals conceded42 (4th)
Clean sheets17 (=5th)
Shots conceded396 (2nd)
Shots on target conceded141 (=5th)
Saves made from shots in the box67 (=10th)
Expected goals against (xGA)42.26 (1st)

Above stats taken from Fbref and WhoScored

Only Barnsley conceded fewer goal attempts than Frank’s troops last season, although the Bees were only ranked joint-fifth for fewest shots on target allowed.

Indeed, Brentford’s goalkeepers had to make 67 saves from shots taken inside their own area in 2020/21; nine Championship teams allowed fewer than that.

In mitigation, the Bees had some injuries to contend with and had little strength in depth: first-choice centre-half Pontus Jansson (£4.5m) sat out half the season with fitness issues, midfielder anchor-cum-stopper Christian Norgaard (£5.0m) was absent for much of the campaign with an ankle problem and left-back Rico Henry (£4.5m) was unavailable for the final 15 games of the regular season.

And the west Londoners had been widely praised for their defensive efforts in 2019/20, with not even promoted Leeds United, Fulham or West Bromwich Albion conceding fewer attempts on goal.

The fact that they could boast a lower expected goals against (xGA) tally than the more heralded Watford backline in 2020/21 is also worth bearing in mind.

THE PLAYERS

APPS, GOALS AND ASSISTS

PlayerPositionAppsStartsGoalsAssists2021/22 FPL Position2021/22 FPL Price
Luke DanielsGK4400
David RayaGK424200GK£4.5m
Finley StevensRB2000
Dominic ThompsonLB4100
Charlie GoodeCB8400DEF£4.0m
Winston ReidCB10700
Pontus JanssonCB242300DEF£4.5m
Mads Bech SørensenLB/CB322920DEF£4.5m
Rico HenryLB303012DEF£4.5m
Henrik DalsgaardRB353421
Ethan PinnockCB393911DEF£4.5m
Mads RoerslevRB171002DEF£4.5m

GOALKEEPERS

David Raya (£4.5m) is Brentford’s number one goalkeeper, having started 42 of the Bees’ 46 Championship matches last season and having been an ever-present in the campaign before that.

Comfortable with the ball at his feet, the Spaniard has long been linked with a move to Arsenal.

Raya attempted almost 300 more passes than any other Championship goalkeeper last season, with Frank’s fondness for playing out from the back something that could benefit him on the Bonus Points System (BPS).

With added responsibility for distribution comes the increased chance of mistakes, however, and only one Championship player made more errors than Raya last season. A howler against Huddersfield particularly stood out.

His save percentage of 74.2% was also lower than fellow promoted £4.5m goalkeepers Daniel Bachmann (76.1%) and Tim Krul (80%).

Barring further recruitment, rookie Patrik Gunnarsson (£4.0m) – who has made just one league appearance for Brentford and spent last season on loan in Denmark – is set to play understudy.

DEFENDERS: THE FULL-BACKS

Following the departure of Henrik Dalsgaard, Brentford are even shorter in the full-back department and will surely strengthen between now and Gameweek 1.

The right flank looks particularly weak, with Mads Roerslev (£4.5m) and the unpriced rookie Finley Stevens the only recognised defenders down that side.

After a stop-start campaign littered by injuries and benchings, Roerslev started the last nine regulation Championship matches and the three play-off games.

Operating initially at right-back in Frank’s 4-3-3, he enjoyed a stint further forward at wing-back upon the late-season switch to a 3-4-1-2 and set up a brace of goals in the 5-0 win over Preston in April.

For all Roerslev’s raw potential, it’s perhaps Rico Henry (£4.5m) on the opposite wing who is the pick of Brentford’s backline from an FPL point of view.

The pacy left-back created a respectable 25 chances in 30 appearances, which was more than any of the Bees’ defenders managed in 2020/21.

But even then, two assists across the whole of the campaign – exactly what he managed in an ever-present 2019/20 – and two goals in 110 Championship appearances doesn’t scream ‘the next Stuart Dallas’.

DEFENDERS: THE CENTRE-HALVES

Ethan Pinnock (£4.5m) and Pontus Jansson (£4.5m) were Frank’s go-to pairing at centre-half last season when fit, although where the injury-prone Jansson is concerned, that wasn’t all that often.

Pinnock, a threat at set plays, registered more goal attempts (30) than any other Brentford defender in 2020/21, with a minutes-per-chance average of 114.5 fairly decent without being overly eye-catching.

Harry Maguire’s (£5.5m) mean, for instance, was 84.7 in a superior division.

No Brentford defender could beat Pinnock for clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBI), either.

The centre-half have averaged a CBI every 13 minutes in 2020/21, a competitive tally when compared to the leading FPL defenders and again noteworthy when it comes to BPS.

Jansson was fond of goal or two at Leeds but has yet to open his Brentford account despite making 58 league appearances across two seasons.

Pinnock and Jansson both featured in the top 10 of Championship regulars for the BPS-boosting passes per game, meanwhile – although we’re clutching at straws and with the likes of Tariq Lamptey and Luke Ayling available at this price point, few managers will be taking the plunge on a Brentford centre-half.

Elsewhere, Charlie Goode (£4.0m) will play back-up unless a serious injury crisis hits.

Utility man Mads Sorensen (£4.5m) covered at both left-back and centre-half when unavailabilty struck last season but the arrival of a new face from Celtic seemingly pushes him further down the pecking order in the latter position.

NEW SIGNING – DIFFERENT FORMATION?

Brentford have now confirmed the signing of Kris Ajer from Celtic, a towering centre-half who has filled in at right-back on occasion at Parkhead and who has experience of playing in central midfield in his native Norway.

The move begs the question over whether Frank is to stick with his trusty 4-3-3 and replace one of Pinnock or Jansson with the newcomer or whether we are set to see more of the wing-back system that he turned to in late-2020/21.

The move to a 3-4-1-2 saw Brentford keep four clean sheets in their final six regulation-season Championship matches of the campaign and could also be significant regarding the appeal of Bryan Mbeumo (£5.5m), who flitted between impact substitute and ‘out of position’ striker when the formation was last used.

Frank said of Ajer:

We wanted to get another central defender in, and Kris was our first choice. We think he fits the position specific profile perfectly, especially on the ball.

Kris is very composed and can find the right passes between the lines. His level when bringing the ball forward is very high. As a defender he has the physicality that you need, and he won his duels when he played in the Scottish league. He can help us in both boxes, with his strength in the air.

He is a player at a good age, and we think he come straight in and be ready to perform in the Premier League. But he also fits the way we want to recruit players and work with them. He can develop as a player and both Brentford FC and Kris can move to a higher level in the coming years.

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574 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Super Saints
    • 4 Years
    8 days, 21 hours ago

    A few questions for you all.

    Son or Bruno

    Cresswell or Coufal

    Iheanacho or Antonio

    Best 4.5 defender other than Brighton, Fofana or Ayling maybe?

    1. jia you (The No BS League -…
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 4 Years
      8 days, 21 hours ago

      Son
      Coufal
      Nacho
      Ayling/White

    2. pingissimus
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 2 Years
      8 days, 21 hours ago

      Son possibly if you're happy to captain him and reckon Bruno is an outside captain choice early on.

      Coufal for value.

      Nacho unless preseason completely upends hierarchy at Leicester, Was someone on last night saying Vardy will reclaim central position. Doesn't add up to me

      1. pingissimus
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        8 days, 21 hours ago

        Uncertain on 4.5 defender

        Ayling looks most obvious but there could be interesting options at Watford if anyone becomes obviously nailed there.

      2. Nomar
        • 11 Years
        8 days, 16 hours ago

        I am torn between Nacho and Antonio.

        The introduction of Daka worries me slightly, and I genuinely fear not having Antonio for the first few GWs. Antonio can genuinely tear it up in the early weeks before he inevitably gets injured.

        I’m veering on starting Antonio and then changing to Nacho when Mickey breaks down.

    3. Holmes
      • 7 Years
      8 days, 21 hours ago

      Bruno
      Cresswell
      Iheanacho
      Ayling or White or Aarons

    4. Vertigo
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      8 days, 21 hours ago

      Son
      Cresswell
      Iheanacho
      Undecided

    5. The 12th Man
      • 7 Years
      8 days, 21 hours ago

      50/50
      Coufal
      Iheanacho
      White or maybe a Spurs one.

    6. Super Saints
      • 4 Years
      8 days, 21 hours ago

      Thank you everyone,

      Looks like it's Son over Bruno, price, points and fixtures do support this.

      I also agree with Coufal over Cresswell, he comfortably out performed him towards the end of last season.

      Nacho clearly the favourite over Antonio too, I didn't realise that would be the case, may have been more appropriate to do a Watkins or Iheanacho question!?

      Ayling and White the popular 4.5's, they actually work quite nicely as a pair too.

      1. The 12th Man
        • 7 Years
        8 days, 21 hours ago

        The fact that Cresswell sometimes plays at centre back too. I was surprised Coufal wasn’t 5.5m as well.

      2. LangerznMash
        • 5 Years
        8 days, 21 hours ago

        I would only go without Bruno if I had Cavani in my team.

    7. Sinixtre11
        8 days, 21 hours ago

        bruno (set piece taker)
        cresswell (set piece taker)
        antonio (minutes play)
        roerslev/ ait nouri

    8. stxrty
        8 days, 21 hours ago

        It's been a while. Given a few days to look at the "template" I've pretty much fallen into it aswell. I'm going no Bruno.

        Sanchez
        Treat - Digne - Lamptey
        Salah - Son - Torres - Buendia
        Cavani - Toney - Watkins.

        £4.0m, £4.5m, 4.5m, £4.0m.

        1. stxrty
            8 days, 21 hours ago

            Treat lol. Trent.*

          • The 12th Man
            • 7 Years
            8 days, 21 hours ago

            Nearly the same as mine only I have Mane over Son.
            You must have spare cash.

            1. stxrty
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                I've £2.5m, feel like the side is strong enough to go ahead with that in bank.

                1. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  Would you not just change Son > Bruno then since Spurs have Man. City in gw1?

                  Then have the option of Son later, maybe in week 3.

                  1. stxrty
                      8 days, 21 hours ago

                      Don't like the idea of a planned transfer. I can start with Son, hope he does a bit v MCI and then he's got Wolves, Watford and Palace.

              • Weasel Boy
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                I like it.
                A bit different.
                Thinking of going Bruno less also.

            2. The 12th Man
              • 7 Years
              8 days, 21 hours ago

              This is me at the moment.
              Bachmann
              TAA,AWB,Coufal
              Salah,Mane,Torres,Buendia
              Cavani, Watkins,Toney

              Foster,Brownhill,Ayling,4.0

              Mane > KDB or Bruno in GW2.

              1. Gabbiadini
                • 4 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                AWB in there for an injured Shaw?

                1. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  He’s just a 5.5m placeholder.
                  Undecided between AWB,Shaw,Digne and Stones.

              2. pingissimus
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                Fun

                Doubt Torres but see why you'd go there. Just a hunch but think he's in the pattern of players who Pep hypes for one position and then does something quite different with - see Bilva.

                1. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  Yeh he’s a punt. At 7.0m I think he’s worth the risk.
                  If Barnes was guaranteed I’d probably have him.

              3. jia you (The No BS League -…
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 4 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                If KDB is fit to start wouldn't you be better just starting with him...you could easily have another issue or two to sort out in GW2

                1. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  Mane v Norwich.

                2. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  But yeh maybe.

                3. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  If I have another issue then Mane v Burnley isn’t a bad fixture.

              4. Super Saints
                • 4 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                Nice to see something different

            3. Super Saints
              • 4 Years
              8 days, 21 hours ago

              Is there any way around a 4-3-3 if Kane goes to City? Does it look like happening anymore?

              Sanchez
              TAA Digne Coufal White
              Salah Son Raphina
              Kane Watkins Toney
              Foster Brownhill Bissouma Ayling

              1. The 12th Man
                • 7 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                You’ll be hoping that City are still asleep gw 1.
                It looks good though.

              2. Chandler Bing
                • 5 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                Even if it happens, I don't see him starting GW1. Think I prefer starting with Bruno at the start.

                1. The 12th Man
                  • 7 Years
                  8 days, 21 hours ago

                  Yeh I don’t either.
                  There will be some agreement to say he doesn’t play that game and the transfer to go through after that game.

              3. zeslinguer
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                8 days, 20 hours ago

                There's no way I'll be playing 4-3-3. Starting with 2 x 4.5 mids is so restrictive structurally and difficult to get out of without hits or a WC. If you have one player in the first 11 missing you're pretty much guaranteed a 2 pointer, unlike if you have a 4.5m def coming off the bench.

                1. Super Saints
                  • 4 Years
                  8 days, 17 hours ago

                  But there is a 4.5 defender to come off the bench, get your point though

            4. Chandler Bing
              • 5 Years
              8 days, 21 hours ago

              Which one? Have Watkins.

              A. Toney (4-3-3)
              B. Buendia (4-4-2)

              1. The 12th Man
                • 7 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                I like both.
                The advantage of Option A is that you’ll have another playing bench option.

            5. Zim0
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              8 days, 21 hours ago

              Important Question.

              TAA and Wilson
              Or
              Digne and Son.

              Already have Bamford and Watkins.

              1. Chandler Bing
                • 5 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                Tough one but TAA + Wilson for me.

              2. Gabbiadini
                • 4 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                A

              3. Zim0
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 2 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                Okay thanks!

            6. Gabbiadini
              • 4 Years
              8 days, 21 hours ago

              Sanchez | Foster
              TAA | Robbo | ... | Ayling | 4.0
              Salah | Fernandes | Raphinha | ... | 4.5
              ... | Watkins | Toney

              19.0 ITB

              a) Lamptey | Buendia | Bamford
              b) Shaw | 6.0 (Harrison) | 7.5 (Antonio/Wilson/etc)
              c) something else

              Cheers.

              1. Chandler Bing
                • 5 Years
                8 days, 21 hours ago

                B out of those options. Coufal and Raphina in case Shaw misses the start of the season.

                1. Gabbiadini
                  • 4 Years
                  8 days, 20 hours ago

                  Raphinha is already in my side.

            7. pingissimus
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 2 Years
              8 days, 20 hours ago

              Looking at the 5.5 class in midfield. Feel there is likely great value if you can identify it. All of these come with question marks of course but that's the price you pay.

              Think my next draft may put a couple of these to allow me to hedge my bets of getting the right one. Which pair would you get?

              a ESR
              b Dallas
              c Mbeumo
              d Cantwell

              1. zeslinguer
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 6 Years
                8 days, 20 hours ago

                B + D if forced but I'll be avoiding that price bracket. I started with Armstrong + ASM at that price last year and regretted it quickly. Also I think Sarr/Harrison @ 6m and Buendia/Raph @ 6.5m are all great value and players I'd happily keep for the first 8/9 games, so I'd rather find the extra budget.

                1. pingissimus
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 2 Years
                  8 days, 20 hours ago

                  Everything would rest on spread of funds elsewhere.

                  Two would probs be a mistake I guess but one in a transfer slot could well add up. Thinking here that I want a couple of "transfer slots" where I am expecting transfers to happen without exactly booking them in if you see what I mean.

                  Interested you went for Cantwell - he was in my reflex first draft before looking at fixtures.

                  1. zeslinguer
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    8 days, 20 hours ago

                    Actually meant to say A+C, still early here!

                  2. zeslinguer
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 6 Years
                    8 days, 20 hours ago

                    I think the issue is that these players could be good value if you hold them for around 10 games... you may get 3/4 attacking returns, but at the start of the season when it's important to make a fast start, if they blank for 3 games you'll want rid of them and they won't be easy to remove.

                    1. pingissimus
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 2 Years
                      8 days, 20 hours ago

                      Fair point

                      But this is where spreads of funds comes in. A 5.5 mid is apart from anything else highly likely to be a rotation option with a budget forward such as Toney to 5.0 defender.

                      Yet to try this type of set up but can see the upside especially if your side is packed with long term value picks such as the 7.5 forwards who I think most everyone is overrating.

                      1. zeslinguer
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 6 Years
                        8 days, 20 hours ago

                        There's so much volatility in fpl it could definitely work. I'd feel better doing it as part of a rotation or with only one starting, from experience I wouldn't want two 5.5m mids in my first 11. Only problem with havinga 5.5m midfielder on the bench though is when you need an extra £1m to chase whoever is the early bandwagon, that 5.5m mid is the first place you'll look. I have 2x 4.5m GKs atm but am thinking the same thing, come GW2-3, would I want the cash in my first 11?

                  3. Marmalade Forest
                    • 4 Years
                    8 days, 20 hours ago

                    Love it when you two chat.

                    It’s like when Garth Merenghi and No Professionals meet.

              2. Nomar
                • 11 Years
                8 days, 16 hours ago

                ESR has the highest ceiling of those.

                I think you’re on the right track with looking at this price point to see where this years budget beasts are coming from.

                I’m keen on Murphy (NEW) and Brownhill (BUR). I think they both have the potential to score in the £6-6.5m range.

                Also have a feeling that Zinchenko will do some damage for City this season. He looks an interesting proposition at £5.5m. I know that most people don’t want Man City rotation issues, but there is definitely potential there.

                This is the part of the drafting process that intrigues me, trying to figure out who this years Gundogan and Dallas’s are going to be.

            8. dunas_dog
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 6 Years
              7 days, 8 hours ago

              Thoughts on this draft if get Sancho over Bruno ( assuming of course impresses pre season)

              Bachmann
              TAA Coufal Digne
              Salah Son Sancho Raphinha Gundogan
              Watkins Toney

              Foster Lamptey Ayling Obafemi