Arsenal didn’t get stung by Brentford….
Overall, Arsenal was the better team, though Brentford put up a good fight in the second half.
We started off strongly and got an early lead via Danny Welbeck. We then had many other chances following, through Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, and Smith-Rowe, who made a capable full debut on the night.
Brentford looked subdued for the most part in this opening period, though Leno after two minutes or so was Cech-esque in nearly scoring an own goal.
However, the first period was comfortable, and towards the end, it seemed Wenger’s spirit had captured the team. He would have been proud of the build-up play on this goal, as it was a move constructed via several of our players. Welbz finished it off, and his brace and our lead were well-warranted.
After the break, we continued to be strong, with Mkhi and Iwobi missing chances. Though a rash challenge by Guendouzi led to them scoring a great free-kick, thus making the latter stages nervier than it should have been.
Leno was largely untroubled after this, though he and the defence were astute in handing crosses and shots for the most part.
Lacazette came on, as did Torreira and Ramsey, and we had some more chances. Though amidst some serious sustained pressure from Brentford, as they were probably thinking they could “do a Derby” and get one over on a top Premier League.
However, in stoppage time, Lacazette scored via a low drive, and the game was done.
It wasn’t as easy as one may have thought, but like Doncaster and Norwich last season, Brentford made a go of it, and looked to take the game to us. Our overall better players and finishing told though, and we fully warranted the win.
From around 55 to 80 minutes, Brentford was as sweet as honey, was buzzing around us, and gave us a sting….. They clearly sensed they could get an opportunity, and should they ever get in the top division, they could hold their own. If Fulham can, or Charlton historically, then they can too.
Of course, they raised their game somewhat, but they are in a reasonable position in the Championship. It goes to show that there is little difference between the top end of the Championship and lower Premier League. They could use this as an incentive to get in the playoffs, and maybe play us in a league game next season.
But our first half showing was very good, and in some cases, sexy football was back. Our second was telling of this in a huge way. It’s said in some quarters that we don’t play as fluid as we did under Wenger. I don’t think is true, since we still play on the floor. I thought though today we were able to play our game well, and in terms of raw technical ability, it’s the best we’ve played under Emery thus far I feel.
Elneny and Guendouzi, despite looking alike from afar, had similar roles in this team and were able to link well between the defence and attack. Iwobi also impressed, and Mkhitaryan was direct too in forward areas.
Smith-Rowe’s debut was well-composed and offered some good pace to make chances and test the Brentford defence.
The defenders individually were OK, though for me Monreal was muted. He wasn’t weak, but he gave the ball away too often and wasn’t as tight on their wide players as normal. Holding, Mustafi, and Lichtsteiner were fine though.
However, we showed some more concentration lapses, especially with the free-kick they scored from. Guendouzi was rash, but possibly Leno could have had it covered better.
Nonetheless, I feel we were good value for the win, though Brentford can take heart that in some part they took at least some of our nectar.
Today’s win would have been made sweeter if Spurs lost, but maybe we can beat both Bees and Hornets within the space of a week. If so, Mr. Sanhelli should start an insect-extermination branch.
Leno – 7
Lichsteiner – 5
Mustafi – 7
Holding – 7
Monreal – 5
Guendouzi – 7
Elneny – 6
Smith-Rowe – 7
Mkhitaryan – 6
Iwobi – 8
Welbeck – 8
Torreira – 6
Lacazette – 6
Man of the match – Welbeck
Dat Guy proved some of the haters wrong, and that he can finish after all.