After several years of battling at the top end of the Championship, Brentford finally confirmed their return to the English top flight last season.
Thomas Frank’s men occupied second spot behind Norwich City for large portions of the season, but a late dip in form saw them drop behind Watford, meaning the Bees would have to go through the playoffs once again.
The London side overturned a two-goal deficit to defeat AFC Bournemouth 3-2 over two legs in the semi-final, booking their spot at Wembley for the second straight year, after falling at the final hurdle against local rivals Fulham at the end of the 2019-20 season.
That was not repeated though, as the Bees dominated Swansea City throughout, with early goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes firing them to a 2-0 victory and sealing promotion to the Premier League.
Brentford’s pre-season has produced fairly mixed results, as they started with victories over AFC Wimbledon, Boreham Wood and Watford to get back into the groove of last season.
They would then impress at Old Trafford in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United, before a Said Benrahma goal saw West Ham United hand the Bees their first defeat of pre-season.
Saturday presents a good opportunity for Frank’s men to bounce back from that narrow defeat and head into Friday’s difficult opener on the back of a victory, although it will certainly be another tough test against a Valencia side who have had a strong pre-season.
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Last season was certainly a difficult one for Valencia, as financial troubles meant they were forced into the sales of several key players as the club’s hierarchy began to strip assets.
After a ninth-placed finish and back-to-back fourth places previously, Los Che were unable to mount a serious push for the top eight, with Javi Gracia dismissed at the beginning of May as Valencia languished in the bottom half.
An eventual 13th-placed finish followed, as they ended just nine points above the drop zone, and new manager Jose Bordalas will be keen to bring about change to return the side to the battle for European football