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Preview: Brentford vs. Valencia - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Brentford vs. Valencia - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Brentford and Valencia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

In the final friendly before the Premier League season kicks off next week, newly-promoted Brentford will play host to La Liga outfit Valencia on Saturday.

Thomas Frank's men will begin life back in the top flight with a clash against Arsenal in the league opener next Friday, with Saturday's game presenting their final chance to get a win on the board to build confidence.

Match preview

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.

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.

Their efforts in pre-season have certainly provided reason to be positive, as Los Che defeated Europa League winners Villarreal 3-2 before picking up wins over Atromitos and FC Cartagena.

While they did suffer a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Real Zaragoza, Bordalas's side bounced back with a 1-0 derby win over local rivals Levante, before drawing 0-0 with Italian giants AC Milan last time out, with the clash going to a penalty shootout which Valencia won.

In their final game before next week's season opener against Getafe, they will be keen to continue building momentum with what would be another particularly impressive win as they travel to take on Premier League opposition.

Brentford Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Valencia Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

With Saturday's game being the last opportunity to freely rotate the side in pre-season action, Frank is likely to veer towards his strongest XI ahead of next week's crucial clash.

Kristoffer Ajer should be given a chance to start at the back alongside Ethan Pinnock and Pontus Jansson, after he arrived from Celtic in the summer.

Meanwhile, Ivan Toney will likely lead the line, after hitting a Championship record of 31 goals in 45 league games last season alongside 10 assists.

Given the ongoing financial situation, Valencia have again been quiet in this summer's transfer window, with the only senior arrival being defender Omar Alderete on loan from Hertha Berlin.

They will instead feel the effects of several departures, as experienced striker Kevin Gameiro and centre-back Eliaquim Mangala both left on free transfers, while Patrick Cutrone's loan spell in Spain came to an end at the conclusion of last season.

Los Che have also heavily rotated players throughout the pre-season campaign, but Saturday should see a shift to the strongest XI ahead of the first league game, giving key players a final chance to gel.

However, they will continue to be without midfielder Carlos Soler, who remains in Tokyo with the Spanish Olympic Football team.

Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Jansson, Pinnock, Ajer; Roerslev, Janelt, Baptiste, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney, Canos

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Mamardashvili; Correia, Alderete, Diakhaby, Guillamon, Gaya; Burlamaqui, Esquerdo; Cheryshev, Gomez, Guedes

We say: Brentford 1-1 Valencia

With both sides expected to be at full strength, the intensity may not be the highest as the teams look to avoid injuries, and we put them on a fairly level playing field.

We see Valencia coming away from London with a creditable draw heading into the season, in a game focussed on getting the two squads ready for intense league campaigns.

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