Arsenal get their Premier League season underway as they travel to West London to take on newly promoted Brentford.
The Gunners were already heading into the game facing a few problems with Gabriel, Eddie Nketiah and Thomas Partey all out injured, but now they head into last night’s game at the Brentford Community Stadium without forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well.
Amid a celebratory atmosphere for Brentford’s first top-flight game since 1947, and the first in front of a full house at their new stadium, the Bees took the lead as Sergi Canos caught out Bernd Leno with a flashed, near-post effort from 15 yards in the 22nd minute.
“New season, same old story. it does not get much easier for Arsenal in the Premier League; they host Chelsea and then go to Manchester City, but Brentford sit top of the league for a few hours at least on a night to remember for their returning fans.” Says Jamie Carragher.
Having failed to register a touch in the final third in the first 10 minutes, Frank gestured to urge his side to push higher, and he was immediately rewarded. Minutes after Bryan Mbeumo had hit the post from an angle on the right of the box – Leno did have it covered – they took the lead.
Arsenal’s defence, including new £50m signing Ben White, were struggling to deal with Brentford’s high press and running in behind, but they came out brighter in the second half as Emile Smith Rowe’s wonderful turn, run and shot was tipped away by David Raya.
Folarin Balogun, on his Premier League debut, was replaced on the hour mark by Bukayo Saka, who was given an ovation by all four stands after a memorable Euro 2020 with England for both the right and wrong reasons.
Kieran Tierney’s deflected effort flew inches wide of the post shortly after, as did Granit Xhaka’s lashed effort at the far post, but Brentford got their second with just over 15 minutes remaining.
From Mads Bech Sorensen’s long throw, Toney got ahead of White for the flick on, allowing Norgaard to simply head home a few yards out.
But it was a new chapter in Brentford’s history as they rode the wave of emotion to get their first Premier League season off to the perfect start with a faultless display.
Brentford: Raya (7), Henry (7), Pinnock (7), Jansson (7), Ajer (7), Norgaard (8), Canos (8), Janelt (7), Onyeka (7), Mbeumo (8), Toney (8)
Subs: Sorensen (6), Bidstrup (NA), Forss (NA)
Arsenal: Leno (5), Tierney (7), White (4), Chambers (4), Mari (4), Xhaka (5), Lokonga (5), Smith Rowe (7), Pepe (6), Martinelli (5), Balogun (5)
Subs: Saka (5), Nelson (5), Tavares (NA)
Man of the match: Ivan Toney