After a brief pause, the Premier League finally returns this weekend with matches scheduled on Saturday planned to go ahead while three games on Sunday are postponed. Even though Arsenal’s Europa League match on Thursday has been moved to another date, the game against Brentford is still scheduled to take place. Mikel Arteta’s men will look to put behind the disappointment of their defeat against Manchester United and bounce back this week.
Brentford, meanwhile, are flying high after their breathtaking performance against Leeds United. They won the game 5-2 as Ivan Toney continued his impressive goal-scoring streak with a hat-trick. With that said, Arsenal offers a distinct challenge. The Bees, however, will arrive into this fixture with confidence as they beat this week’s opponents by 2 goals to nil during last season encounter at the Community Stadium.
When and Where?
Date: 18th September 2022.
Time: 12:00 PM BST.
Venue: Brentford Community Stadium, London.
Referee: David Coote.
Assistant Referees: Nick Hopton, Timothy Wood.
Fourth Official: John Brooks.
VAR Official: Peter Bankes.
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies.
Sergi Canos – Brentford’s hero last time around against Arsenal has not played a single minute this season due to a hamstring injury. But the Spaniard has stepped up his recovery and could be in contention against Arsenal. Center half Kristoffer Ajer is also in Thomas Frank’s plans after he was fit to return to the bench against Leeds United, but fellow center back Ethan Pinnock is still sidelined as a result of a knee injury.
New signing Mikel Damsgaard has struggled with fitness issues during his Sampdoria days. And Frank believes he has made plenty of improvement as he works toward making his first Premier League start. Christian Norgaard – the Bees’ ever influential midfielder, however, is ruled out against Arsenal.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are provided with an enormous boost as defensive midfielder Thomas Partey is back in training after missing the last few with injury. Sambi Lokonga struggled against Manchester United playing in Partey’s role, so the return of the Ghana international is crucial. Fellow midfielders Mohamed Elneny and Reiss Nelson remain on the injury table while Takehiro Tomiyasu could return to the starting 11 after he made an appearance from the bench against Fulham on match day 4.
Thomas Frank’s side have been a goal-scoring machine so far this season. They are only behind Manchester City in terms of goals scored with 15 to their name. Ivan Toney has been at the heart of it, while the likes of Bryan Mbuemo and Mathias Jensen have supported him admirably. Brentford have been direct and pressed high, especially at home. Arsenal were a victim of it last season, but Arteta will hope his side has learned the lesson.
Their thrashing of Manchester United just a few weeks back perfectly captures their threat – certain pressing triggers to win the ball back in the opponents’ half and their ability to catch their opponents on break were on show. Long throws, and clever corner routines have also been a hallmark of Frank’s setup and could cause trouble for Arsenal.
But since their 2-0 defeat against Brentford on the opening day of last season, the Gunners have grown into a brilliant side marshaled by the ever-improving Arteta. The Spaniard certainly has always had a clear plan and his players are currently executing it brilliantly. All their efforts mean they are currently on top of the table and are potentially seen are title challengers.
William Saliba, Gabriel, Ben White, and new singing Zinchenko have held their own at the back, while Xhaka and Odegaard are getting into goal-scoring positions and influencing the play. Gabriel Jesus has been a revelation, as Arteta’s young core looks balanced. The manager constantly specifies the need to win duels in a match, and this could prove to be an important aspect against Brentford. The Bees certainly create a buzz and with Ivan Toney’s physical ability and Mbuemo’s speed up front, Arsenal could face the wrath if they let these two dominate battles.
Who could we potentially pick than the ever-present Ivan Toney here? The Englishman has been in the form of his life and everything he’s touching is turning into gold. Free kick in the edge of the box? A poacher’s goal in the six-yard box? A penalty? Just call Toney.
He’s been the team’s key man ever since Frank took over and his physique, combined with excellent acceleration, is causing havoc to the opposition defense. Toney has accumulated the fifth highest xG among all the players in the league (3.47) and also has a relatively high xA (1.44) this season. He has scored 5 goals with only Haaland and Mitrovic ahead of him.
Such has been his impact that fans are calling Gareth Southgate to include him in the England squad for the upcoming games and potentially the World Cup. So, Sabila and Gabriel unquestionably have a task in their hands on Sunday.
Ever since his move from Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus has been excellent. His ability to drop deep, hold up the ball, and distribute the play has been a highlight despite getting into the scoresheet. Further, he is only behind Haaland in terms of the least average distance from the goal of all shots taken in the league among strikers (9.90 yards). This shows his ability to arrive in the box at the right moment and test the goalkeeper.
The Brazilian has arguably been a complete striker and Arteta is getting the best out of him in this role. Despite not scoring in the last few games, Jesus has led the line well and is attracting defenders, which provides space for the likes of Martinelli and Odegaard to pounce on.
Brentford are an aggressive team and as a result, he could draw defenders alongside him, which in turn creates space for the rest. Moreover, he can create chances or score himself as well, which may cause a few problems for Brentford’s back line.
Brentford predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Mee; Hickey, Jensen, Janelt, Da Silva, Henry; Mbuemo, Toney.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Brentford: Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard; Saka, Martinelli, Jesus.