Anyone that thought Brentford would provide Arsenal with a similar goal fest and result like the one against Charlton was in for a shock. Brentford, 4th in the Championship, turned up with attitude and ambition and came back from two goals down to win 2-3 against the Gunners and pour mild embarrassment on Arteta’s men.
Brentford did all the simple things well, pressing, reducing the space, marking in mass, and chasing lost causes, what a pity Arsenal couldn’t mimic what they saw.
Some fans were outraged by the scoreline, some were more philosophical and the ones like me just accepted the result because of the experimental nature of the side. As experiments go, it was nice to see our talented young faces take to the field, with Arteta looking for the gems under his feet rather than elsewhere.
As part of his search, he gave Trae Coyle, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock. Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, and AMN a run out, but the changes impacted on the balance and shape. No surprise then and Arteta has clarified one or two issues, but not how to hold on to a lead or being able to avoid turning a victory into a defeat.
It’s an old Arsenal problem but I’d rather lose 5-0 against Brentford and pull it off at the Etihad against City. The biggest surprise of the contest was Arteta’s decision to put Saka in the middle, something none of us saw coming, having previously spent time on the wing and as a wing-back. Could attacking midfielder be in his repertoire?
These games are just there to improve fitness, observe individual performances, and look for combinations. They’re not Champions League finals and although Arsenal played with the attention span of a distracted teenager with some sloppy football, it will get better.
Goals from Willock and Lacazette weren’t enough to dent Brentford’s enthusiasm and in fact, it was the Bees that looked as if they had more desire in general.
Lacazette was guilty of not making the most of a good chance by hoofing it into row Z and gifting possession that led to a goal, but David Luiz takes top honours with the shoddiest performance of his short Arsenal career. He tried to showboat by flicking the ball over a player’s head and was pressed and fairly robbed. The face said it all as the net stretched for the equaliser at 1-1 and Arteta must have known that the Brazilian would feature in everyone’s headlines.
Luiz, not for the first time, was guilty of underestimating the opposition and was guilty of overestimating his own skill. As Brentford surged forward, Arsenal’s sea of red shirts switched off without closing down. Maitland Niles, whom I thought played well against Charlton, was guilty of sloppy play here and can acknowledge his contribution to the winning goal.
On reflection, the 2-3 result didn’t annoy me but the Luiz incident did. It’s no secret that the defender is not my favourite, a last-minute trolley dash in a transfer window and all his faults and shortcomings exposed again and it’s no wonder that Chelsea took the £8m and ran.
Not great but hopefully, the slackers in the side will now know that teams won’t roll over because they are facing Arsenal and that the Gunners need to work for their points.