Morning all.

Remember this?

Of course you do, the sarcastic tweet from Ivan Toney after the opening fixture of last season. The comment was humiliating but that’s social media for you. Mikel Arteta used the comment to motivate his team in the return match at The Emirates, a match we won 2-1.

Thomas Frank made a few additions during the summer, one of whom was Arsenal linked Aaron Hickey. Ben Mee joined for free but other than those two, I’d never heard of their other summer signings. What I do know though is that Brentford thrashed Man Utd 4-0 and Leeds Utd 5-2 but they are the only two fixtures they’ve won in the league so far this season. Their last two fixtures have ended in a draw thanks to a very late goal in games against Everton and Crystal Palace. Ivan Toney is Brentford’s top scorer so far with five goals but then three of them were against Leeds.

I think the stats from the Leeds game tell a story. Brentford surrendered possession 40% to 60%, Leeds Utd had more shots on goal so it’s likely that Frank will be looking to stifle our attack and then hit us on the break at every opportunity, just as his team did against Man Utd and it worked. Must be great being a season ticket holder at Brentford eh? Seriously though, I get it. Why would a manager play open and attacking football if by doing so, other teams would tear right through them? Frank has to set his team up to win enough points to stay in the Premier League. It’s up to the opposition to find a way to break them down and score enough goals to win the game. I’d quite like to see Marquinhos start this one. Not for any other reason than he’s strong, quick and Frank won’t be expecting it.

Having just been named manager of the month for August, Mikel Arteta’s men need a response after the 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford. The defending in that match was far from the best but had the team converted chances to goals, Arsenal would have won with absolute ease. If’s and but’s don’t win football matches though, goals do and this Arsenal team need to start scoring more of them.

After Manchester United, it was very simple. I watched the game back and said to the boys: ‘We have deserved to win the game with the way we played – but we gave them two opportunities to do something they are exceptionally good at’.

 

That was our fault – and then you have to move on. This is the game at the end of the day – it’s decided in various small fractions of time, moments and details that lead to a football result

Absolutely agree. There’s little point in taking something negative from a previous day/week into the next day or in football, the next game. Deal with it and don’t repeat it. Every day is a new challenge just as every game is a different challenge against a different team than the one last faced.

Arsenal are a much changed team/squad to the one which played Brentford last season that’s for sure but as said, we’re just not taking enough of the chances we create. The law of averages suggest that will change at some stage. Oleksandr Zinchenko and ESR are out through injury and William Saliba was absent from training yesterday too. Or at least he wasn’t caught on camera for the official website photos. He’ll be a huge loss if he’s injured but I guess Ben White will just slot back into the middle of the defence with Takehiro Tomiyasu returning at right-back. Gabriel and Kieran Tierney completing the back four in front of Aaron Ramsdale.

Zinchenko has been left out of the Ukraine national team for the next two weeks of fixtures so at least he’ll have had four weeks of recovery time before Totts arrive at The Emirates Stadium on the1st October. Hopefully Son and Kane will come back from their international fixtures feeling knackered!

Whilst I don’t think a draw today would be a disaster, it’s a game we should be winning really. Understandably, the result and performance of last seasons opener has been dragged up by the media but I’d like to think that history won’t repeat itself. As said, this group of players is very different to this time last year and the starting eleven today will be different too. Half of that team of are no longer at the club and those who remain are a year older and wiser.

Enjoy the game guys, I’m going for an away win of course….