Arsenal had a disappointing start to their season yesterday as they lost out 2-0 against newly-promoted Brentford.
With it being the firs game of the new season on a Friday night and in front of a packed home crowd, there was always a chance that an upset was on the cards and it’s fair to say that the occasion got to the north Londoners.
Whether it was in or out of possession, there weren’t many positives to take from the performance Mikel Arteta’s men provided, with the Gunners boss apologising to fans after the game.
The trio highlighted failed to show composure when opposing Brentford attackers pressed with intensity and on multiple occasions they gave the ball away cheaply, giving the home side plenty of opportunities to capitalise on broken play.
When the Gunners did enter the opposition box, a lack of cutting edge was apparent with the only meaningful chances coming predominantly through passages of play that saw Kieran Tierney receive the ball out-wide and deliver crosses into the danger area.
Defensively, Brentford’s two up top Bryan Mbuemo and Ivan Toney created havoc and provided both Ben White and Pablo Mari with all sorts of problems.
Arsenal’s £50 million signing typifies the profile required in a modern centre-back, very comfortable in providing top quality distribution as well as being very capable in driving forward with the ball.
But he struggled to compete aerially against physical forwards, which Brentford manager Thomas Frank recognised and exploited to full effect in how he instructed Toney to stand on White throughout the whole 90 minutes.
Mari on the other hand struggles with pace in behind and with Mbuemo possessing pace and dynamic ability, the French forward capitalised on Arsenal’s number 22’s deficiencies and was a constant thorn to the Arsenal backline when attacks came through the left-hand side.
It was a defeat that left a sour taste in the mouth for Arsenal fans and the Premier League’s record goalscorer Alan Shearer has suggested that Arteta’s men were simply not up to the challenge presented to them.
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‘’Arsenal just looked underprepared for all of what was thrown at them and they just couldn’t handle it,” he said, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Brentford were amazing and they deserved to win the game and get three points. I know Arsenal had some big players missing and they could have made a huge difference, but they still had the same old problems.’’
“Defensively, they looked so poor and I was a bit surprised with Arsenal, because you know what is coming, just get ready for it, and they weren’t.”
With deadline day soon approaching, it’s imperative that Arsenal strengthen key cares within their squad in order to bridge the gap between themselves and the top six.