Morning all.

Another weekend, another Arsenal league fixture. We face Brentford this evening, Porto on Tuesday and then that’s it for nearly three weeks as the international game takes over.

The key points from Mikel Arteta’s post match press conference:

Team news: 

Not much, we got some players back last Monday, and then we had Martinelli and Bukayo with little issues but we are pretty positive that hopefully they can be part of that but we’ll have to wait and see how they are tomorrow.

On Aaron Ramsdale’s game time this season ahead of Brentford:

It is what it is, he is fully prepared, he trains really well every day. He is desperate to play like the rest of the boys who haven’t had that many opportunities and Saturday is a great day for him. He’s been brilliant, he’s been really good, really supportive, really pushing everything in training like I expected and it’s a joy to have two top goalkeepers in the team.

If our goalscoring form changes his thinking about whether we need a forward in the summer:

No, the plans that we have for the summer are very clear and were done almost at the start of the season, understanding what we can have, the contract situations that we have with some players and how we want to improve and maintain the level of the team. This certainly has not changed anything.

Goodness, an Arsenal manager and board who knew at the beginning of this current season what they want to do the following summer. Who’d have thought eh. I jest somewhat but it’s so refreshing after witnessing many a deadline day when all we could do was hope yet were invariably left feeling disappointed. More important than who arrives in the summer is who we have now and what they can do today against Brentford. Anything other than a home win will be disappointing.

Brentford’s last away game was on the 28th February against West Ham. David Moyes team, who’d been on a poor run of results, started well, scored a couple of early goals and when the ghastly Maupay pulled one back, scored again. They ran out 4-2 winners in the end so in theory, if the Hammers can beat Brentford, then Arsenal should too. If only life was like that eh….

What can we expect from Thomas Frank’s team?  Arsenal’s tactical man Adrian Clarke has explained in the official matchday programme:

Defensive concerns have forced Frank to have a rethink, switching from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2. He is rarely expansive when facing leading sides, so we can expect the Bees to be compact down the spine of the pitch, putting 10 or 11 players behind the ball. They are always tactically well-organised and excellent at limiting space for their opponents. While they do not press high, they are terrific at disrupting play inside the middle third, and their 273 interceptions are the division’s second-highest tally.

Since Toney’s return, goalkeeper Mark Flekken looks to hit long aerial passes towards the striker, who habitually pulls onto one of the full-backs to receive them. Everton are the only top-flight side to attempt more long passes than Brentford, who are notoriously strong in the air. From flick-ons and second balls, they always present a threat. However, at the other end, Sheffield United are the only outfit to have conceded more goals from open play this term than Frank’s men (41). Just four clean sheets from 27 matches tells a story, as does the fact they have conceded three times or more in a game eight times so far.

There’s a bit of extra spice to this game as it was in this fixture last season when the officials, especially VAR, let football and Arsenal down. A clear and bleedin’ obvious offside was missed in the build up to Brentford’s equaliser which deprived us of two massive points. There was a foul on Saka in their box too which on another day with a different set of officials, might have seen Arsenal awarded a penalty. That’s all history now of course but I doubt Mikel Arteta or his players have forgotten it, just as I bet doubt Ivan Toney’s tweet: “Nice kick about with the boys” back in August 2021 has been forgotten either.


Mikel Arteta is hoping Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will be available for selection but Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Jurrien Timber remain out.

Thomas Frank is without Ethan Pinnock, Ben Mee, Rico Henry, Aaron Hickey, Josh DaSilva and Kevin Schade.

The starting eleven for that match..

BBC Sport

We’ll see a very different starting eleven today as it’s unlikely Nketiah, Partey or Zinchenko will start and of course, Granit Xhaka is long gone. We’re better from front to back now than we were a year ago. Havertz has become the thorn in the side for any opposition, Kiwior has been solid at left back and Rice is our midfield rock. I’ll be surprised if Toney gets the better of our two central defenders these days.

Earlier this season, Arsenal defeated Brentford 1-0 in what was a one sided affair as far as the stats read. We bossed possession and chances created but it wasn’t until the 89th that substitute Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game. I don’t think it’ll be 0-0 on 89 minutes today, not the way Arsenal have been playing for the last couple of months, and not at home in front of the home fans. As Clarke said, Brentford are vulnerable in defence but, they will be direct and given half the chance, they’ll be dangerous in attack too.

If we let them that is….

Catch up in the comments.