A high octane atmosphere greeted us at the Brentford Community Stadium. It had been a long time since fans were in full voice in the Premier League. Sadly for us we were found wanting in a display that led on from many displays last season losing 2-0.
In a poor first half where Brentford were biting into challenges we looked to be starting the game well into first 10 minutes and looked to be asserting ourselves. However an Ivan Toney pass behind Mari through to Mbeumo saw his tight angle shot rattle the outside of the post. This seemed to spur on the fans and that in turn fired up the home side who hadn’t threatened until that moment. A couple of chances for us after this with Smith Rowe trying to pick out Balogun but a crucial block saw the ball go for a corner and then another break from Smith Rowe who freed Tierney on the left and his cross to the back post found Chambers but a half volley was headed clear.
Brentfords press became higher and it was evident as we scrambled away danger in our box and then when Chambers then half cleared the ball and from pushing out to pressure the ball, we found ourselves 1-0 down with Canos smashing a ball through Chambers and beating Leno at the near post. That was another in a mass catalogue of Arsenal conceded goals. We could have gone in two down but Brentford we happy to allow us the ball in the middle third but when in those danger areas they would crowd us out especially wide with Pepe and Martinelli both facing 2 on 1’s throughout.
Going into half time we expected a reaction and to be fair with the first 15 minutes seeing us create numerous chances but not enough on target. That saw the introduction of Bakayo Saka who came on to a standing ovation from the whole stadium. More chances for Arsenal with Tierney having a shot deflected just past the post and then a Martinelli header flicked just over the from the near post and out for a goal kick. We looked more dynamic going forward and when Martinelli departed for Nelson we hoped we could grab an equaliser however 3 minutes on comical school boy defending a long throw into the box saw us outmuscled and Norgaard powered a header from the bouncing ball in the area into the unguarded net to make it 2-0. A dangerous free kick from Pepe was wasted as it flew over the bar before Brentford nearly grabbed a third from a corner with Leno flapping.
Brentford were so comfortable with Tierney getting the ball and attempting a cross, he had nine crosses and all have been blocked or cleared but he managed one successful cross into the oncoming Pepe who hit a snap shot into the near post and with the ball heading into the net but Raya got down quickly and turned the ball past the post. It was one of those games where we just looked like we would never score, We ended the game with 20 shots but only 4 shots on target.
The biggest concern is the ‘illness’ of Lacazette and Aubameyang and if this was a smoke screen for something else. Have the club guarded this reason instead of the real reason? We are in a real mess right now and we need to break this cycle.