Thomas Frank: Brentford will need best Premier League performance yet at Arsenal
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank feels his side will have to produce their best performance in the Premier League yet to come away from leaders Arsenal with a positive result.
The Bees head to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday unbeaten through nine league games which has seen them push up into seventh place.
While Arsenal suffered a setback in their title drive with defeat at strugglers Everton last weekend, the damage was limited after Manchester City then lost at Tottenham.
Brentford marked their first appearance in the Premier League with a memorable 2-0 home win over Arsenal in August 2021.
Since then, Frank’s well-drilled side have continued to punch above their weight and this season have beaten Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Danish coach, though, is under no illusions of the challenge which awaits this weekend.
“I always believe that we can win, but – and it is a big but – we are facing Arsenal who are top of the league,” Frank said.
“They have been going from strength to strength and they are in a fantastic position.
“(Mikel) Arteta has done a top job in building a culture over three years, making difficult decisions and sharpening a style of play. Arsenal can smell that they have a chance to win the league.
“It is well deserved that they are top. They look in sync and they have all their key players fit and available. At home they play with an unbelievable intensity.”
Frank told a press conference: “You can see that they are running harder and in the duels they are giving everything.
“They are so eager to win and that makes it even more difficult to beat them. To get anything out of this game, we need to top perform.
“We will probably need the best performance we have ever put out in a Premier League game.”
Frank, though, is also confident his men have what it takes to come through such a test.
“I hope teams respect us for what we are capable of,” the Brentford boss said. “In this group of players there are a lot of strong characters.
“They have been growing as individuals. It is a good feeling going into a game knowing that if we top perform then we can do something.”
Frank added: “We have always been quite strong defensively, with a good structure, mentality and principles, but now we are in a spell where everything is melted together and it is just working.”
Midfielder Shandon Baptiste is available for selection again after recovering from a groin problem, but goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha has sustained an ankle injury.
Bees number one David Raya has confirmed he rejected a new deal last month, but remains happy at the club.
Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea are all reported to be interested in the Spain international should he come onto the transfer market.
“If he turns (a contract) down twice then, unfortunately, that is a signal,” Frank said on the situation.
“That being said, David has been amazing. He is one of the best keepers in the league.
“He is one of the captains and leads with his performances and behaviour every day.”
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