Brentford vs Arsenal result: five things we learned as new Premier League boys shock Gunners

Newly promoted Brentford opened his Premier League account with a 2-0 win over lackluster Arsenal ahead of electric home support in west London.

The Bees had waited 74 years to return to the top-flight of English football, but took the lead midway through the first half when Sergi Canos smashed a shot inside the near post from the left edge of the surface, beating Arsenal’s Bernd Leno due to both the power and surprise of the strike.

Arsenal lacked quality in several aspects of their game and Brentford had chances to increase their lead, especially when Bryan Mbeumo shot Ben White inside the box but dragged his shot far from goal.

The Gunners improved after the break but struggled to create clear chances and were punished when a long Brentford throw into the box took its toll and Christian Norgaard headed from close range.

Here are five things we learned

Dream start for Brentford

By winning their first Premier League game, Brentford showed why so many people are excited about their return to the top flight. Thomas Frank’s side fully deserved their victory in an emotional and memorable evening for those at Brentford Community Stadium – but you have to wonder if this performance, result and opportunity would have been possible without the return of a crowd. numerous in English football.

For the first time since March 2020, fans have been allowed to return to a Premier League game without there being any limits on the stadium’s capacity. That, together with Brentford’s debut Premier League game (and the first competitive game in their new 17,000-seat stadium in front of supporters) created an electric atmosphere ahead of kick-off, which helped their early start here. .

In truth, the first 10 minutes of Friday’s game weren’t very pleasant to watch. It was a style of football we hadn’t seen in a while – ragged, rushed, rushed and fueled by the emotions and energy of a crowded stadium and noisy home support, impossible conditions. to recreate in camera. But Brentford fed off the atmosphere and produced a dominant performance against a team whose resources far exceeded theirs.

Unsurprisingly, last season saw a record number of away wins in the Premier League – but tonight was the night the home advantage spirit returned in earnest.

The same old problems for Arsenal and Arteta

The Premier League season doesn’t even have a day, but the pressure is already on Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

Now in his second full season in charge, the Spaniard has shown enough promise in his rebuilding Arsenal to ensure he remains in charge of the project. But, especially after a summer of spending to compete with those at the top of the table last season, the time has come for the results – and it certainly wasn’t meant to start with a first day loss to newly promoted Brentford. .

Thomas Frank’s side were comfortably the better team in the first half and it took the motivation and goal of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to rekindle the momentum after the break, rather than through a more ambitious plan or a practiced game pattern.

Arsenal are already facing a rocky start to their Premier League campaign

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Even then Arteta’s side struggled to create a clear chance for themselves and Brentford looked comfortable as they fell deep and defended the edge of their penalty area. Worse yet, Arsenal’s soft center was once again exposed with Brentford’s second goal coming from a long shot into the box and Ivan Toney edged out Pablo Mari and Callum Chambers to claim the first header.

It was an all-too-familiar sight, and things sure don’t get any easier from here. A home opener against London rivals Chelsea next Sunday is followed by a trip to Premier League champions Manchester City. It will take a big response.

Arsenal’s lack of quality is concerning

It was certainly not an ideal scenario for the first game of the Premier League season: two of your star players and top scorers from the last campaign absent due to illness, and only a few hours before kick-off. But with Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazette on the sidelines and Bukayo Saka on the bench after his late return from the Euro, the end result was an offensive formation that didn’t really make your heart beat faster.

Nicolas Pepe was the main figure in Arsenal’s top three, which included Premier League debutant Folarin Balogun and Gabriel Martinelli, who had just returned from the Olympics with Brazil. Emile Smith Rowe was Arsenal’s most dangerous outlet any time they could get the ball into his feet in central areas, but it didn’t happen enough.

Nicolas Pepe was kept silent by Rico Henry of Brentford

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Saka’s impact after half-time was no surprise, but it only showed how ineffective Pepe had been in the first 45 minutes. It was remarkable that the winger remained on the pitch throughout the loss, Martinelli and Balogun were pulled after ineffective performances, but it could have been any of them.

The forward department is an area of ​​the field that has not been reinforced this window. Martin Odegaard was rumored to be back after his loan from Real Madrid last season – but whoever he was, more reinforcements seemed needed.

Ben White struggles with Arsenal debut

It has been a difficult night for Arsenal’s Ben White, the club’s new center-back and Brighton’s recent £ 50million signing. While he’s not guilty of Brentford’s goals, there were a few moments in his Premier League debut for the Gunners that didn’t inspire much confidence.

The England international was beaten too easily by Mbeumo for his second chance of the game, with the Brentford forward passing White inside the penalty area before sliding a shot through the goal. There was shank clearance at the midline as well and while the Whites clearly had the power to play deep passes, few found their targets.

The 23-year-old will have plenty of opportunities to prove his worth and has the support of his manager, as well as many players, to fit in well with this Arsenal squad, even if tonight was not his night.

Brentford shows they can mix everything up in the Premier League

Friday night’s Premier League opener was also an opportunity for those who may not have known Brentford to get a better look at the championship play-off winners, and there were many signs that the Thomas Frank’s team would be a welcome addition to the division.

There won’t have been any surprises for those who have followed their breathtaking progress throughout the championship, with the team displaying the balance between possession-based football and the high press that has served them so well in recent seasons. .

However, the high press certainly took Arsenal by surprise, with Pablo Mari and Granit Xhaka caught off guard in the first half. Brentford refused to let Arsenal pass him from behind, and it left them unsettled during an opening spell the hosts dominated.

They got to mix that up too, especially with long balls to Ivan Toney, their star name. Toney was the target of Ethan Pinnock’s long throw that led to Brentford’s second, showing that last season’s championship top scorer can also do the physical labor for a team that isn’t afraid to break convention as long as it leads to effective results.

Mbeumo and Rico Henry have also been impressive performers for a side that have made a dream start to life in the Premier League.

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