Tag Archives: Brentford

5 hours from Blackburn all for a 0-0

Following the legends match at the Emirates where I was part of the prawn sandwich brigade, next match was an U21 match away to Coventry City in the Checkatrade Trophy.

This was a good test as it was against Coventry’s first team. We won 3-0 with over 200 Gooners in attendance made it a satisfying evening.

Next stop was a trip to St James’s Park, Newcastle; always a decent place to watch football with the city centre stadium with walking distance of plenty of pubs. For a reason that still makes no sense to me, we were booked on the 6:12am train from Kings Cross meaning that my alarm was set for 3:30am!

What with my other half being away on Saturday night and 10 hours of drinking, this trip was only going one way and it did……

The match was uninspiring but a 2-1 win, but it meant that for the first time in an age, we won two away on the bounce!

Following a heavy head on Sunday, Monday saw me venturing up to Blackburn for an U23 match. There was a bad accident on the M6 which meant diversions and missing the first 13 minutes. On the way home, I counted 18 different sets of road works, therefore arriving home over 5 hours after our departure; the match itself finished 0-0, not a great day all round!

The only thing I took back with me from Blackburn was a stinking cold which was to stop me going to a few youth & academy matches.

Following this seasons Europa League debut with a easy win against Ukrainian side Vorsla Poltava, I saw our U23s thrash Liverpool 4-0 at Borehamwood.

Next up was a 2-0 home win against Everton where the highlight was keeping our first clean sheet of the season followed by a home Carabao Cup versus Brentford, a team we’ve not played in a competitive match since the 1940’s which we won 3-1.

Next up is the last match of a run of 4 home matches against Watford followed by a trip to Baku, Azerbaijan. Lots of sun and cheap alcohol, what could possibly go wrong?


Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 1 Brentford

Arsenal (2) 3 Brentford (0) 1

Carabao Cup (EFL Cup) Third Round
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Wednesday, 26th September 2018. Kick-off time: 7.45pm

(4-2-3-1) Leno; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Holding, Monreal; Elneny, Guendouzi; Mkhitaryan, Smith-Rowe; Iwobi, Welbeck.
Substitutes: Bellerín, Ramsey, Lacazette, Torreira, Martínez, Kolasniac, Nketiah.

Scorers: Welbeck (2), Lacazette
Yellow Cards: Welbeck, Lichtsteiner

Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 49,586

Our first appearance this season in the Carabao Cup (aka The English Football League Cup) comes around again tonight, with a home tie against Brentford, who currently hold seventh position in the Championship; of course, The Bees didn’t always play in lowly divisions, as there was a time when they were one of our rivals back in the old First Division before the corrosion of relegation and decline set in for them in the post-1945 football world. Apropos to Brentford, they do actually play an important part in our history, as our 2-0 victory at the Old Place on 2nd May 1939 was filmed and used in the feature film The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, which incidentally was the last official league match before hostilities broke out four months later.

Back to tonight. Straight from the kick-off, Arsenal assumed dominance, but to be fair, it did look rather dicey in the goalkeeping department (again) with just a minute or so on the clock. A simple pass-back found Bernd Leno lose his footing and as the ball slipped away for a Bees corner, a collection of hands on heads from home fans could be seen around the stadium. Whoops. All forgotten though, three minutes later when, after a short corner from Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Mattéo Guendouzi looked up, and wasted no time in getting the ball across to Danny Welbeck who opened the scoring with a sublime header. Although shell-shocked Brentford started to come back into the match, our defence held firm, and thus became the bedrock for more forays into the opposition 18-yard box. It was one of these attacks that the second goal came rather inevitably eight minutes before half-time. Building from the back, we appeared to simply move at a canter through The Bees’ midfield in a familiar pattern of perpetual movement; Leno-Lichtsteiner-Mkhitaryan-Iwobi-Monreal-Welbeck. And it was indeed so that Danny Welbeck got both his second (and Arsenal’s too) of the night by merely stroking the ball into the net after this wonderful exhibition of pass-and-advance. Despite one or two failed attempts, we went into the break the leading team on the night, and deservedly so.

Returning after the break, we carried on where we left off, with missed chances that should, by rights, increased our goal tally. Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan must have regretted their squandered efforts, as  literally out of nowhere, Brentford got one back just before the hour with an incredibly well-taken free-kick that hit the back of our net. How can it be? Suddenly the mood in the stadium went from one of elation and confidence to one of nervousness and doubt all around for a period of time. In an effort to score again, Emile Smith-Rowe was subsituted for Alexandre Lacazette, and things started to look a bit better for us, briefly. After more close Bees’ chances, we made two more substitutions, and as per usual more wasted chances in front of the opposition goal became the fate of our strikers. But wait! A breakaway, a chance, and Alexandre Lacazette puts the match beyond doubt with our third and final goal of the night. A minute later, this game was done, and we can all be thankful that Mike Dean blew the whistle when he did, and we therefore find ourselves in the hat for the fourth round draw on Saturday.

Arsenal really made hard work of this victory in North London this evening. We allowed Brentford back into the match on several occasions, when by rights, we had enough talent and firepower to put this game to bed quite early on in the proceedings, but we denied ourselves the luxury of an early win by mere indecision and, it has to be said, periods of self-doubt, which Mr. Emery must quickly stamp his authority on when the team get back to London Colney tomorrow. Watford lie in wait for us on Saturday afternoon; we have to firm, dominant and ruthless at The Emirates then, and show everyone (not least our supporters) our true credentials in the Premiership race. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Arsenal v Brentford – Likely Starting XI

The first round (or 3rd round as it is) of the League Cup always makes interesting pre-game discussion over what sort of squad we will put it.

We know that it will not be a starting XI, as Unai Emery will shuffle his squad. But what sort of team will he put out?

In the past, Arsene Wenger used the early rounds of the competition to blood some youngsters. The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere cut their teeth in the competition. But this was in the days when first team squad did not carry as much depth – and the youngsters were pretty much the second string.

We are 6 games into the season and Unai Emery has kept his starting XI fairly steady with a core group of players – 10 have started at least 5 Premier League games.

As a result, the likes of Mohamed Elneny & Bernd Leno have yet to play a single Premier League minute, Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding & Stephan Lichtsteiner have yet to start a game, and Lucas Torreira and Alex Iwobi have started just 1 and 2 games respectively.

Whilst there will be calls for younger players to start; the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Emiliano Martinez, it is perhaps more important that we give the senior 2nd string players a start to ensure they remain match sharp.

It is those senior players who will step up for the core group of players Emery has used thus far, therefore we will surely see the League Cup (and the Europa League) as competitions used to keep the 2nd string fresh and sharp, rather than blood youth players. Of course, some youth team players will get minutes.

In goal I expect Bernd Leno  to start. With just 1 appearance to his name so far this season, he needs game time, he needs the opportunities to push Petr Cech.

Stephan Lichtsteiner will be at right back. A perfect example of keeping a senior player sharp rather than blooding a youngster.

Centre back is interesting.

Arsenal are currently without Laurent Koscielny and Kostadinos Mavropanos. You would certainly have expected the later to start alongside Rob Holding. Sokratis also picked up an injury at the weekend against Everton – it is only a dead leg so he should be back for Everton.

This leaves Arsenal with just two senior fit centre backs. Shkdoran Mustafi and the aforementioned Holding.

Does Emery take the risk and play one of them alongside Julio Pleguezuelo, knowing if one picks up a knock and Sokratis does not recover, it will results in the young Spaniard also starting against Watford?

I think Emery will take the risk, he will partner Rob Holding with Pleguezuelo, leaving Mustafi at home ready for the visit of Watford.

Back in full training, Saed Kolasinac will get his first taste of game time this season.

Moving into midfield, Mohamed Elneny will start. The other two central midfield places up for grabs.

Lucas Torreira has started just 1 Premier League game this season, whilst Matteo Guendouzi has started 5. However against Watford it was the Uruguayan who got in ahead of the Frenchman. I expect the same to happen against Watford on Saturday so it makes sense for Matteo Guendouzi to start alongside Elneny against Brentford.

Further forward in the midfield, I would not be surprised if Alex Iwobi plays more centrally than he has previously.

A lot will be calling for Joe Willock to get game time, but as explained it is more important that we keep Iwobi match sharp. He will be given the roving role that Aaron Ramsey plays so well.

By playing Iwobi centrally, it will give us the space to have Emile Smith Rowe one side and Danny Welbeck  the other.

Originally I had Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Smith Rowe playing behind Welbeck, but the Armenian is out injured. This leaves Emery with a choice.

Play Willock in the midfield, pushing Iwobi up higher and having Welbeck up top; or play Iwobi deeper, Welbeck out wide and Eddie Nketiah as the spearhead.

I think Emery will opt to play Eddie Nketiah as it feels like he is ahead of Willock in terms of development. Arsenal would also already be giving game time to Smith Rowe, who plays in a similar position to Willock, is younger and better (it would not surprise me if this is Willock’s last year at the club as Smith Rowe moves ahead of him).

So all in all, I expect a fairly senior team with Pleguezuelo, Smith Rowe and Nketiah given a run out.

As Manchester United showed last night – with a very strong side – these Championship teams are no pushovers, and Brentford are a decent outfit.

It will be interesting to see if Josh Dasilva gets any game time for the Bees.

He played 3 times for Arsenal last season in the League Cup, but opted to continue his career at a lower level this season in the hope of more game time.

A few at Arsenal were disappointed to see him go, but he has so far struggled to break through at Brentford. Guendouzi is 6 months younger than Dasilva and ha started 5 Premier League games this season. That does not mean that Dasilva will not become a good players, but he is clearly not ready to be playing in the Premier League. It also highlights just how good a prospect Guendouzi is.

Last night during the Manchester United v Derby game, the commentators were talking up Mason Mount.

The 19-year old on loan Chelsea player is considered to be their best prospect since Josh McEachran (what happened to him?) and the commentators were labelling him as the best young English central midfielder, even calling for him to be called up to the next England squad.

He had a good game, and is clearly a prospect, but again he is older than Guendouzi.

The fact that people no longer look at Guendouzi as a 19-year old in his first season in top flight football (whilst Mount is playing 2nd division) is testament to his ability.

We now look at Guendouzi as an established senior player. If any of Granit Xhaka, Torreira or Aaron Ramsey are out injured, it will be Guendouzi who steps up. And as he has shown this season, he is ready.

Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will make it tough for any young Arsenal central midfielder to make a break through. The likes of Charlie Gilmour and Ben Sheaf will struggle to get any game time in senior competitions this year. Add in Willock and Kelechi Nwakali and for any of these to break into the Arsenal first team, they are going to have to be borderline Cesc Fabregas / Jack Wilshere talent.

All that bodes well for the future, especially with Torreira being just 22.

I actually look forward to the Europa League to see Guendouzi and Maitland-Niles (once fit) forge a partnership.

Enjoy the game tonight, and remember there is no Piccadilly Line tonight.

Up The Arsenal.