Brentford 2017/18 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions

As the days count down to August 4th most of the country waits in anticipation of the start of the Football League...and by god, we've missed it.

This season, Brentford should be classed as outside contenders for a playoff position and here is a snapshot how the Bees are looking at the moment.

1. Last Season

Last season could have been seen as another one for consolidation as manager Dean Smith looked to rebuild a side hit with a number of high-profile departures.

However, some astute mid-season signings helped the Bees recover from a slump around the halfway mark and finish in a respectable 10th place.

Victories later on in the season such as the assured 3-1 victory over rivals QPR and the 4-0 demolition of Derby County showed that, with a few tweaks, there is no reason why Griffin Park could not become a fortress similar to the days of Mark Warburton. 

2. Transfers In

Brentford's summer signings so far have epitomised their dealings using the 'moneyball' system - bringing in players with a point to prove for a relatively small fee.

Forwards Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay boast pace and flair and have a EFL Young Player of the Year award and national Under-21 caps respectively to prove their ability.

Kahomelo Mokotjo, known as 'The General' at former club FC Twente, and Henrik Dalsgaard join to strengthen the defensive side of the Bees' game which was perhaps a weakness last year.

The return of Alan Judge from a long-term injury will feel like a new signing in itself, while Luke Daniels has come in as a backup to Dan Bentley in goal.

3. Transfers Out

For the first time in two years, Dean Smith's men have not seen a first team player depart, although Alan McCormack's combative style may well be missed.

Former manager Marinus Dijkhuizen's misfits Akaki Gogia and Philipp Hofmann are among the names released, while Konstantin Kerschbaumer and Jack Bonham have left on loan.

4. Strengths

Brentford's strong attacking capabilities were displayed last season as they hit the net 75 times in the Championship - a record only bettered by three other teams.

In Jota, Judge and Sergi Canós the bees boast an exciting trio behind striker Lasse Vibe, who himself impressed last year with 16 goals in all competitions. Able backup will also be provided by Florian Josefzoon and new boys Watkins and Maupay, and so there is much reason to be optimistic for Bees fans this year.

In Ryan Woods, Smith holds one of the best deep-lying playmakers in the league and with new signing Mokotjo sitting alongside him, its the midfield that will be key for Brentford this season.

5. Weaknesses

While Gillingham's John Egan proved to be a solid signing, the defence was still a weak point for Brentford, especially when compared to their strong midfield.

New signing Dalsgaard will provide competition for places with Maxime Colin, but in Rico Henry and Tom Field Brentford still have have inexperience at left-back.

Centre-back Harlee Dean has shown signs of maturity, but it will be expected that Brentford will be relying on outscoring the opposition rather than keeping clean sheets.

6. Key Man

As good as Ryan Woods and Dan Bentley are, winger Jota's return to the first team in January added an extra sting to the Bees' attacks.

12 goals in 19 starts attracted interest from the Premier League and much of Brentford's playoff credentials are relying on Jota to stay at Griffin Park for at least another year.

Lasse Vibe will also prove to be an important figure and hopefully another prolific season will ensure that young backups Watkins and Maupay don't gain too much pressure in their debut seasons.

Potential breakout: Neal Maupay

7. Predictions

If the Bees can prevent any more departures from Griffin Park then a strong season can definitely be on the cards.

As long as the few defensive errors seen over pre season are corrected with increased game time, Brentford's strength in midfield and attack can see them challenge for a playoff place - whether or not that happens depends on how long the new signings take to settle in.

Prediction: Outside Playoff Contenders