Morning all.

David Raya misses out on this game as Arsenal take on Brentford so it’s a chance for Aaron Ramsdale to show why signing the Spaniard on a permanent deal is, or would be a waste of money. £27-30 million would be far better put towards signing a top quality striker. Saying that, Mikel Arteta needs two goalkeepers so unless Karl Hein, who’ll be on the bench tonight, is considered a good enough deputy, the club will need to sign a keeper should Raya return to Brentford or Ramsdale seeks pastures new. On his day, Ramsdale can be a match winner but I’m far from convinced the same can be said about Raya. That sounds harsh I know but it’s just my opinion. Anyway, Mikel Arteta’s opinion matters far more than mine.

Moving on to outfield players, both Martin Odegaard and Ben White are likely to be available for selection for tonight’s match which is great news. Gabriel Jesus should be fit for selection too.

On Jesus, Mikel Arteta said:

He’s available. He played 96, 97 minutes in a very competitive match, so we have another session and they had a long flight so I have to see the condition of every single player to make the call on the line-up.


Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey will again miss out, as does Jurrien Timber following his ACL injury in our opening league game.

Brentford are without Nathan Collins, Aaron Hickey,  Kevin Schade, Rico Henry, Mikkel Damsgaard and Josh Dasilva. Ivan Toney too of course.

Talking Tactics with Arsenal’s Adrian Clarke:

Central defenders William Saliba and Gabriel don’t have to face strike partnerships too often in Premier League matches, but a front two is likely to be what they encounter against Brentford on Saturday evening. In the Bees’ toughest tests head coach Thomas Frank usually reverts to a 3-5-2, using Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa up top. They have struck up a strong rapport in the absence of Ivan Toney, with six-goal Mbeumo impressing greatly with his industry, movement, and finishing. Our defenders must try to show the Cameroonian onto his weaker right foot where possible. Only two players have scored more left-footed goals than Mbeumo (6), and they are Erling Haaland (9) and Mohamed Salah (8). Stylistically, we know Brentford will be physical and strong in the air. No team has attempted more headed shots so far, and they boast the highest Expected Goals tally from set pieces too. Preventing quality service being sent into the box will be of paramount importance.

Mikel Arteta’s game plan may revolve around testing the Bees for pace at the back, focussing on interchangeable movement and clever combination play. This would test a tall, five-man rearguard. We must avoid sending a stream of hopeful crosses into the danger zone as that will play to the hosts’ strengths. Defender Ethan Pinnock has won more aerial duels than any other Premier League player this season, and for headed clearances, fellow centre back Nathan Collins ranks first with Pinnock just behind in third. Brentford are well organised and industrious without the ball so an element of patience may be required to break them down. We must also handle their longer passes and crosses extremely well in order to maintain our outstanding defensive record away from home.

We’re not a team which pumps hit and hope crosses into the box, in fact we’re usually totally the opposite but we are well versed at being patient. Mostly because opposing teams do tend to set up defensively against us. Our passing game in and around the box, if at its best can, and does cause the best of defences problems. He might not be the most prolific of strikers but Jesus can cause defences problems when he’s at his best. Same with Odegaard but I don’t think we’ve seen him at his best for a while. Hopefully, the break has done him the world of good.

Brentford are having a mixed season so far. Beaten by Manchester Utd, Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle, drawn against Totts, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest but they’ve also beaten Chelsea and West Ham. Arsenal on the other hand, have lost just the one game and that was shrouded with controversy.

This is the first of 10 games within a 36 day period as we go through to the winter break at the end of December. Then of course the transfer window will open, we’ll be linked to many strikers and some of our own players will be linked with moves away from the club. Takehiro Tomiyasu is already being linked with a move to Bayern Munich but I think there’s more chance of him signing a new Arsenal contract than moving away.

Catch up in the comments.