|Arsenal will have the opportunity to strengthen their top four chances with a home win over Brentford on Saturday, will they take their chances? (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Arsenal vs Brentford
It was the opening day of the season, there were rumors about some notable absentees in the Arsenal rank but it was kept away from the general public, the Bees were making their first ever topflight appearance, it was going one way on paper but Brentford had other ideas.
Thomas Frank took his place in the home dugout, starring at Mikel Arteta and wondering if one day he’d also manage a big club at a big stadium with spiritual following, the start to that was what he had to do that day and like a dream, at full time right inside the Brenford Community Stadium, it was celebratory.
The Bees beat Arsenal on that day and went on a great run that saw many liken them to some of the brave sides that established themselves straight up from the Championship, things aren’t exactly the same but that memorable win won’t go away anytime soon.
Arsenal on their part have a different story to tell. The opening day loss was followed by two more in the hands of Chelsea and Manchester City, they went on international break and turned things around, they’re in the mix for a top four finish now, no one expected that after the first three games.
This fixture is coming at a time both sides need a good result to help respective causes. The visitors are sliding down faster than they would want but they halted a run of successive results with a draw last time out, they need to improve on that against the Gunners.
Arsenal beat Wolves last time out with a gritty performance, with Gabriel Martinelli sent off and unavailable for this fixture, they had to defend deep to leave the Molineux with the three points, it’s a different kettle of fish this time around.
Revenge should be on the card for the Gunners but they must take their chances when they come. Arsenal have started creating lots of chances but burying them is another question. With the Brazilian forward unavailable for this game, Arsenal could hand a starting shirt to Ivorian Nicolas Pepe or Emile Smith Rowe.
Brenford aren’t short of players, Christian Eriksen isn't ready but Ivan Toney is available again and should trouble the Gunners but he will have to do what only few player have done recently in the league, which is to get past Gabriel and Ben White, before getting to Aaron Ramsdale at all.
The Bees have lots of energy and they can be relentless but they’re also wasteful, they can exploit Arsenal’s indiscipline as well with the Gunners amassing lots of red cards under the current regime, that’s something to look at.
Arsenal must win this before focusing on the midweek rescheduled game against Wolves, the top four fight is right in their hands, one game at a time, a solid performance would help them, it’s a game to enjoy for the neutrals.