Arsenal v Brentford: a Close Look at the Bees and How to Smoke them Out

Which team is more in-form? (11/02/23) – Brentford game preview

Two weeks ago we were the most in-form team in England, and probably in Europe as well (competing with Barca and Napoli). Since the 22nd of January we lost both competitive games, our – kind-of-expected away FA Cup fixture in the Etihad against a strong but in-poor-form Manchester City – and our 2nd league defeat in Goodison Park against a generally terrible, but motivated-by-a-new-manager Everton. So we are in a hole right now, and what makes it even worse, we are facing this season’s (other) surprise team Brentford, making our rebound task even more challenging.

There are some mitigating circumstances, though. All losses this season came on the road, and we will host the Bees in the Emirates. In home PL games Arsenal are undefeated, in fact even better: winning 8 and drawing once. And we scored 25 goals in those 9 games (the 0:0 against Newcastle included), which could indicate 2-3 goals tomorrow. Even if we offset that with not finding the back of the net in our last 2 games, that could still be considered positive.

Unfortunately, Brentford could be equipped to withstand that: they have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 matches, as they are undefeated in their last 9, furthermore Brentford have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 league games. So this lesser known London derby could be an exciting, rich in goals game between two creative teams (prediction I: 3:2 victory), or a somewhat boring encounter between two cautious teams that cannot afford to lose on Saturday (prediction II: 0:0).

The team news are somewhat symmetric: Brentford will miss their Swedish giant Pontus Jansson, but their 2 other injured fringe players may appear on the bench (Onyeka & Baptiste). Arsenal has also only long term absents: Jesus and Mohamed – I’m so sorry, but that is just plain funny to write – but both Nelson and Smith-Rowe have returned to training, and their withdrawal from the match-day squad facing Everton was more of a precautionary measure.

We haven’t faced Brentford many times, and I can’t remember a single draw. Out of our last 4 encounters Arsenal won 3 and lost only 1, but that was the painful defeat in the opening game of the PL 21/22 season.

Let us see the opposition. Unlike Brighton – another surprise team from the beginning of the alphabet – they don’t sell their best players (since being promoted to the Premier League), but they don’t spend big on reinforcements either.

Ivan Toney is in fine form. He had a marvelous run in November-December when he scored 6 and assisted 1 in the course of only five games. He hasn’t scored since mid-January, but received good ratings from WhoScored nonetheless. Their other in-form player is their #1 David Raya, who is on fire in the last 3 months. The surprisingly short goalkeeper – currently on the brink of the Spanish squad, with several call-ups and 2 international starts under his belt – has excellent reflexes, and is a seasoned distributor of long balls. He was rumored to join us at some point, but it didn’t happen.

By the way, Arsenal affiliations: they have Aaron Hickey in their ranks who was also on the verge of joining us, and he made quite a good impact on the Bees, but had a nasty injury since. And former academy starlet Josh DaSilva is their first-team regular – I expect him to start tomorrow.

Brentford started the season in 4-3-3, but switched to 3-5-2 in September. Actually, they tested this formation against us – and losing by 0:3 is not the greatest reference – but they perfected it in the subsequent months, and defeated Manchestre City and West Ham on the road as well as Liverpool and Bournemouth at home. So my money is on them fielding a back 3 and 2 attackers on Saturday. Master signing from Burnley experienced Ben Mee (1.80) and Pinnock (1.94) will likely start, and I expect Odegaard’s compatriot Ajer to play RCB. The front 2 are obvious: Toney is the main threat, while Mbeumo – after being nominated the worst attacker of the PL last season – starting to make a name for himself.

The game will probably be decided in the middle of the park, where Partey, Xhaka and half Odegaard will likely face DaSilva as well as Danish duo Mathias Jensen and Christian Norgaard, supported by defensive wingbacks Rico Henry and Mads Roerslev Rasmussen – making Brentford the half-equivalent of Wolves but being fixated on Denmark instead of Portugal. Maybe we’ll se Hickey for a while to decide who is the better left back in London (If you are interested in the topic, I have a full research on left backs this season, which will culminate in a major surprise – at least it was for me, but no spoilers today).

Since Brentford will not deploy wingers (recent signings Lewis-Potter and Damsgaard – guess where he is from – are not burning in operational temperature yet), so our fullbacks will have different defensive duties than in previous games, but they will be heavily involved in building attacks, as we’ll need all the support we can get against 6-8 defensive minded players. Therefore I would start Tomiyasu ahead of White, yet I don’t expect Arteta to make a single change from his proven XI. Meaning we’ll start in the familiar 4-2-3-1, with all this year’s (available) signings – apart from Zinchenko – sitting on the bench.

What Arsenal needs to be careful about is Brentford being awarded the third highest number of penalties (5, all scored, making them the team with the most penalty goals), while we are joint bottom with a single kick from the spot. Assuming that VAR denies any favours from the officials, our boys should avoid risky situations.

I expect our boys to be desperate to demonstrate the Everton defeat was just a fluke and bouncing back from setbacks is crucially important for any team chasing the title. Yet Brentford will be a significant obstacle, which we must overcome nevertheless.

By Peter Barany.

99 thoughts on “Arsenal v Brentford: a Close Look at the Bees and How to Smoke them Out

  • Top post, PB. Really enjoyed reading it and I am more concerned about tomorrow’s game than I was half an hour ago. It looks like Brentford will be full of confidence and will play with not much to lose. So Arsenal really has to take the game to them and boss them as much as possible. We need to bounce back but it will not be easy indeed.

    I like your shout for Tomiyasu. To me it also feels okay to give him a start. This is nothing against White, but our Japanese speed train seems in good form and will bring something extra up-front (which is still a work in progress for White).

    I really hope Partey is fully fit but feel that we may see a start for Jorginho. The Ode should be fine again and it will be interesting to see who starts on the left wing: Martinelli or Trossard? I guess it is the former.

    Unfortunately, us poor high paying UK-based supporters will not be able to see this game live. A lucky coincidence is that I will be travelling to the magical Scottish Islands during that time anyway. With a bit of luck I can listen to the radio and shout for every goal at the unsuspecting sheep and Highland Cows. Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners.

  • A special mention for Thomas Frank. A very good manager and a nice guy too. The Dane has impressed me and he seems to know which players will do well in the PL. He seems loyal to the club and settled there, and what’s not to like about their footie?

  • Thanks PB. A good piece to whet the appetite for Sunday morning (NZ time). I shall look forward to the Left Back article. With Cancelo gone and Robertson and Chilwell in struggling sides, our very own Zinny may be the pick of the EPL.

    Let’s hope those sheep and cows have a disturbed afternoon! Which island are you headed to, Total?

  • Good read PB. What gives me confidence was the 3-0 win we had at the bees early in the season. I remember watching that game in my hotel in Solihull and that probably was the best game Arsenal has played all season. They controlled the game for 90 mins and didn’t give the bees a whiff of a chance. It was as like a boxer who didn’t allow a glove on himself but all the way jabbing, upper cutting and winning by points by half way. It was such a controlled performance early in the season it gave everyone a lot of confidence. This was after the Bees had humiliated Manu at their home. Watching that game made me realise we are special this season.
    Hoping for a similar controlled performance and 2-0 win to boot. Coyg

  • Enjoyable preview, PB and after two losses (different tournaments) it does look like a tough afternoon in the offing for us. It shouldn’t be, otherwise. We are the better team, have the psychological edge and are at home. I feel we can get a repeat of the scoreline in the reverse fixture if we approach the game the same way: stifle them, dominate the midfield and be incisive in the final third.

    Arteta must ignore the temptation to rest players with the midweek clash against City in mind as that will be a mistake. Partey was in the training videos/pics so he should be fit to start; which means we are likely to go with our usual starting 11, for consistency, after all, if it ain’t broke (loss to Everton doesn’t count as broke, does it?), why fix it? I like the idea of Tomiyasu getting back his right back slot, though. It is about time he returned. Expect our Japanese fighter to do all not to let us down.

    The boys will have something to prove and I expect the fans to be up for it. We should win easily.


  • This game sets my teeth on edge.
    I don’t have much sympathy for their data-obsessed staff – my age, probably – but it would be very foolish not to acknowledge how good they have ended up being; they even have the top-class player – Toney – who may tip the balance their way, any time.
    Our lads will have to display real character, work their socks off, to win this – but they will, eventually
    I wish Emil were fit enough to make it to the bench, and come off it at some point. Being where we are now without any contribution from our 2021-2022 top scorer (from open play) is a miracle, we need him back.

  • Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.

    Subs: Turner, Tierney, Kiwior, Holding, Tomiyasu, Trossard, Jorginho, Vieira, Cozier-Duberry.

    Brentford XI (3-5-2): Raya; Ayer, Pinnock, Mee; Roerslev, Janelt, Norgaard, Jensen, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney

    Subs: Cox, Hickey, Schade, Dasilva, Wissa, Zanka, Lewis-Potter, Damsgaard, Baptiste.

  • Cozier-Duberry is on the bench for this one. Hopefully, we’d see ESR on the bench for City’s visit to North London.

    There will be some nerves at the Emirates today; I am watching from faraway, Abuja, Nigeria and I find I am getting tense as the game gets closer. I agree, LeGall. We would have to fight hard for the right to the 3 points.

  • Not for bragging, but I managed to guess 21 out of the 22 players. Only ex-Arsenal and former England youth international Josh DaSilva didn’t make the cut and was replaced with German U21 EC-winner who is a Coquelin-esque hardcore defensive midfielder, thus poses minimal threat to the opposition.

    If no injury (or early defensive yellow card) happens we will likely see Tomiyasu, Trossard and Jorginho coming off the bench, maybe Vieira in a later stage, but no mid-game tactical change is expected from Arteta, irrespective of the scoreline. Let’s hope that the result will justify the default lack of game management.

  • Welll that was close, very close. Toney did really well his cross was perfect but Henry (!!) made a mess of it in the 6-yard-box
    Eddie very good in the buildup so far
    Come on lads

  • During the game there was a short switch to the Fulham-Nottingham clash to see Willian opening the score for the London side. That was a beauty, better than anything Willian did in an Arsenal jersey. Make sure you check that out as well.

  • I had a short switch to the Leicester v Spuds game with Mendy crashing home an equaliser for the home side. A real thunderbolt well worth seeing.

  • Toney has hit the crossbar …
    Their plan has been working well so far; out of possession they regroup around their box like a handball team, crowd our boys out, choke and kill our attempts – helped by Martin’s poor accuracy – and on the break their front three are dominant
    Just like Eddie, Marti tries hard, but we lack stat-of-the-season Granit, too
    We’ll need one moment of inspiration of one of our starboys to break this dead lock … 
    Come on kiddos

  • A combination of the Newcastle and Everton template is being adopted by the visitors and it is fair to say they have troubled us more than I envisaged. Their front two are strong enough to give our CBs all kinds of physical and tactical problems.
    Our lads need to start to trust the runs of Eddie and Martinelli, when they make them. We are playing the patient, passing possession game but they are creating dangerous situations. It is a study in tactical football.

  • Looks like we’re in for a tense second half. If you need cheering up take a look at the score at the King Power Stadium where the Spuds are currently losing 3-1.

  • Half time, 0-0. Fair to say the visitors have succeeded with their game plan and frustrated us no end.
    Not sure we have had clear cut goal scoring opportunities; we have had plenty of goal mouth action and shots from distance though, particularly that rasping volley by Martinelli, off the headed pass from Xhaka, after some good wing combination and cross from the right (think it was White).

    We have to take it to them in the second half by taking a few risks and some bold forward passing. I think they would wilt under some concerted pressure from us; but then, we have to stop them scoring first.

  • Goalless half, then
    All our usual creators (Zinch, Martin, Buk, Granit) are slightly below par, but slightly is enough to make things very hard against such a team – there’d be nothing to complain about if we were one goal down tbh
    At some point Vieira and Trossard are going to be brought on, but I’m not sure it’ll enough to turn things around (I do hope I’m wrong, though)
    Such moments were bound to happen at some point in the season: the ones we really miss here are GJ9, Emil, and Reiss; as long as the three of them are unavailable, the shot in the arm we need will be missed, and ours will be bumpy rides I’m afraid
    Come on lads, do prove me wrong

  • What’s frustrating is that when we had full possession for the first 20 minutes or so, our pressing went cold, so when they finally started to get the ball a bit, we didn’t have our normal energy in harassing and pressing.. therefore no quick breaks.
    Also, maybe the crowd could make some noise? Confusing Emirates with Etihad. At least do the Arsenal chant for effort.

  • Very good start, The Buk, and The Ode have warmed Raya’s gloves, which is more than we could say after the first half
    Yes, J;, so much for a raucous Emirates, and the empty seats are a disappointing sight too …

  • If we must make changes, Trossard can replace Xhaka and be made to play his forward role methinks. Martinelli is doing well enough to be trusted here.

  • Oh well, it is Martinelli coming off. We would miss his defensive contributions. Hopefully, Trossard makes it count.

  • They are forcing us to resort to long range shots now. We need to calm down and stay composed in these tight situations. Easier said, I know.

  • Real Artetaball, this, liked the decoy part Ben played here
    Then two artists (Buk, Martin) getting their mojo back and … welcome to The Arsenal, Leandro
    Well done Mikel too, moules-frites-bière for me please, I love Belgium
    Hold on to this, boys!!

  • Trossard has delivered, coming on. 1-0 Arsenal. Double change for the visitors; one being Josh Dasilva (one of our own 😁).

    We need to go on and finish them off now.

  • 1-1! How has that gone in. We just didn’t get active on the second balls. They seemed to win everything on set pieces.

    We need to get going. VAR is checking for offside though. A tight call. Given.

  • Very poor marking (Zinch??) at the moment the FK was taken, then pinballl seconds and here we are back to square one …
    I’m not gonna write the word that keeps ringing in my head

  • Now, expect them to frustrate us with time wasting and feigned injuries, just to run down the time.

  • We keep a lot of the ball but with 11 men behind the ball, it is difficult to break down teams set up that way, unless you have a striker willing to dribble through such defenders and potentially draw fouls.

    This looks like it will be a disappointing result again at 1-1. A small melee in our area as a Brentford player has kicked out as we countered from their corner kick.

  • Two points dropped, but it was that kind of game. We need to go back to set piece routine training. We used to cope better in these situations.

    Now, that midweek game becomes a must-win!

  • They’ve dried up the five minutes, every last second of it, but of course the PGMO condone that
    Anyway, better second-half, and Trossard’s cameo was very interesting, but … we are missing that spark we had ’til the 18th game. I keep thinking we miss our 3 injured forwards badly.
    I know he’s young, and well he’s not having the season he had figured out he’d be having, but Fabio’s late FK was unacceptable
    Season ticket holders, these boys are going to need ALL the help you can give them, come wednesday

  • I had hoped to be at that Wednesday game; had it all planned with my season ticket holding cousins but had a last minute rescheduling of the programme I was to attend.
    Shame that happened; we had our celebration planned, plus it falls on the birthday of my Godson (cousin’s boy)…. Sigh!

  • Disappointing result, but looks like we are becoming predictable in our final third. In such game need some magic to unlock teams. Hope we atleast get a draw on Wednesday a win would be perfect. But losing is not an option now. Very tough few days.

  • Great atmosphere at the stadium, the fans were magnificent and Arsenal did try, there was periods when Brentford were camped in their penalty box but that cutting edge is missing at this moment, shots are flying high, wide and not very handsome, crosses into the box are a bit of a waste given our disparity in height against these very industrial teams, the passing was off again, a sign of tension perhaps and our defence is showing those old signs of being vulnerable in the air, it’s not overly worrying but it needs attention and maybe some tactical tweaks?

    For example, given how dangerous Brentford have proved in this game and all season tif, maybe another defender and 5 at the back when we went 1-0 just to steady the ship and add some height and physicality, but it is what it is, I don’t think that Vieira added much of either and he didn’t add much to the attack.

    It’s not time to get out the smelling salts yet but we need to be on our A game this Wednesday, not least because I’ll be there again and I’d really like us to beat City as it’s been far too long.

  • Interesting to look again at the Brentford goal, the free kick should have gone the other way initially with Toney grabbing Saliba and pulling him onto his back, the referee who was pedantic over relatively unimportant incidents and nowhere to be seen in more important one was clearly not up to the required standard but we also had a clown dealing with VAR, Lee Mason is one of our worst referees and he missed 3 off-sides in the Brentford goal or he didn’t think any of the three warranted a reversal of the goal. I expect to see Howard Webb apologising in a few days time but howdoes that help, far from improving standards since his arrival as referee-in-chief I actually think the standards have dropped from the low-level they were already hovering at under the awful Riley, maybe Etihad have crossed those PGMOL palms with silver?

  • Maybe they have, Kev. Their financial shenanigans are so disheartening.
    I watched live (albeit from my bed at 4 am NZ time) and the offside seemed as plain as the snoz on Gérard Depardieu’s face. Once VAR got involved I thought it would be a cast iron free kick to us. Robbed of two points!

    Tho’ credit to Brentford. They played us very well. Thomas Frank echoed Dyche’s words after the Everton game, “the best game my team has played all season”. As someone said earlier on this blog, being out in front Arsenal have a target on their back and teams are raising their game against us.
    A good thing about the impending City game is that they will not play a back 9 against us, and it will give us a wonderful opportunity to truly prove our title aspirations. Roll on Wednesday evening (or in this neck of the woods, Thursday morning).

  • Its astonishing the way VAR is executed its so opaque. In the age of AI and technology why leave the drawing of line to the discretion of refree, make sure that the pic frames comes with the lines drawn. It’s not impossible for technology to draw the line on the last man. It’s a simple technology change and remove the discretion of the refree. Also bloody hell broadcast the discussion between On field refree and VAR. It’s done in Rugby, American Footy and cricket. Let the fans decide on how the decision was made. That will also make sure that the VAR refree follows the SOPs to ensure that all possible avenues are explored before taking the decision. The PL has to make VaR decisions more transparent. The PL is very opaque in everything they do. Time to make VAR more transparent to everyone. There is no point keeping it to themselves. You make it transparent and you see the refereeing stds improve quite a bit.

  • James Sharpe

    Exc: VAR Lee Mason forgot to draw offside lines on Ivan Toney’s equaliser in a mistake that could have a huge impact on Arsenal’s title hopes. Christian Norgaard was offside. Had the lines been drawn, the goal would have been disallowed
    Arsenal fury as it emerges VAR Lee Mason FORGOT to draw offside lines when reviewing Ivan Toney’s goal for Brentford at the Emirates in a major error that could affect the title race
    Brentford equalised thanks to an Ivan Toney to earn a point against Arsenal. The goal was checked for offside before eventually being given by VAR. However, VAR official Lee Mason forgot to draw the offside lines when checking
    By James Sharpe For The Mail On Sunday ; Published: 22:34 GMT, 11 February 2023
    Video referee Lee Mason forgot to draw offside lines on Brentford’s controversial equaliser in a mistake that could have a massive impact on Arsenal’s fight for the Premier League title. Christian Norgaard was in an offside position when he crossed for Ivan Toney and the goal would have been ruled out if the VAR lines had been drawn. Victory for Arsenal would have put them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League but the draw means Man City will knock them off the summit if they win today and beat the Gunners on Wednesday night.
    A furious Mikel Arteta thought the goal should have been ruled out for an earlier incident in the build-up when an offside Ethan Pinnock grappled with Gabriel as the decisive free-kick came into the box but was adjudged after a long delay not to have been interfering with play.
    ‘I just looked back and it is offside, Arteta said. ‘Have they explained why it wasn’t allowed? No. It is frustrating but they will probably give an explanation later in the week. Today we haven’t got one.’
    Mason took an age to decide that Pinnock was not interfering with play but then rushed past the key incident and checked it without drawing the crucial VAR lines. Had he done so, Norgaard would have been ruled offside and Toney’s 74th-minute goal disallowed.
    ‘Ivan Toney puts the ball in the net and VAR Lee Mason obviously runs through the checks,’ said Mail on Sunday referee expert and PGMOL representative Chris Foy, who was in the Match Centre at Stockley Park on Saturday.
    ‘VAR was looking to see if there was an offside and whether Ethan Pinnock had blocked off Gabriel in the build-up. He looked at the possible foul and decided there hadn’t been one and therefore referee Peter Bankes hadn’t made a clear and obvious error.
    ‘However, in the build-up to the goal, Christian Norgaard — whose cross it is that Toney heads in — is in an offside position.
    ‘However, the truth is that VAR didn’t fully investigate with the lines. The lines, simply, didn’t go down. And that counts as human error.Had the lines gone down the goal would have been disallowed for offside.’×900

    “Forgot” …
    How many times did such a thing happen to City, Chelsea, Utd, or ‘Pool on their ways to their titles?
    Asking the question is answering it, isn’t it?

  • Lee Mason has never impressed me as a referee. Looks more like your Accountant (or a funeral Palour operator) than a referee, if you ask me. “Forgot”? You’re having a laugh. It was deliberate; he is one of those ref’s who just aren’t happy with certain teams winning games.

    Howard Webb hasn’t brought an improvement to the PGMOL to affect standards of officiating in the EPL, not that I expected different.

  • Morning all,

    We are (Stu) about 10 miles North of Oban in a quiet and comfy cottage. It’s fabulous here, daughter and dog are with us too. On the way up we had some lovely fish and chips at the ‘haven’ that is the Real Food cafe. It’s relatively mild and th Highlands just always inspire and calm us down.

  • I listened to for the last half hour. Real shame w gave that win away, and reading all the stuff re VAR almost wipes away all that calm I got for my surroundings. WtF?! Lee Mason is from Bolton, Sammy Allerdices former football stomping ground. It’s in their blood to hate Arsenal. Game needs to be replayed. 🙂

    Really happy that Trossard got his first goal. I am so hoping Jesus will be back soon.

  • Maybe it was the TV broadcast, but I wasn’t impressed by the atmosphere, Kev …
    Wednesday, the boys will need an erupting crowd – it’s the only thing Mason might’ve helped us out with, yesterday
    I agree with your shifting to a back-3 back-5 (as you like it), or actually with having any plan-B-setup-lineup
    That’s 3 teams now who’ve successfully dragged us down into their catenaccio swamp (Pies-Toffees-Bees); it’s bound to become the blueprint for all the teams we’ll have to face from now on, we’ll need something to unsettle them
    Let’s not forget the great goal the lads scored yesterday though. Against such a team it’s an actual “tour-de-force” to be able to do that, which shows how patient, in control of their emotions, of their technique, these boys can be. Were it not for that VAR tragical farce, this morning we’d be celebrating one of these hardfought 1-0 wins which are the hallmarks of champions.

  • Teams have continously set up the same against us but Arsenal were able to crack the low blocks by cheer energy and inventiveness. Jesus’ extra mobility through the middle we need to have back in order to increase our options and become less predictable. There was always going to be a phase like this.

  • Fo’s 15th in Ligue 1
    Wondeful slightly curved through ball from Reims’s RWB, Fo muscles up Troyes’s CB and finishes up with a left-footed TH14’s “special”
    Top-class stuff, something of Thierry’s confidence in it too

  • There is simply no way that Arteta will let that young man leave in the summer, we could actually see him not only jump ahead of Eddie but he might oust the messiah as our centre-forward – a la Saliba.

  • Regarding the atmosphere, well chaps, I’ve been to the Emirates many times when it has resembled a library and that definitely wasn’t the case yesterday, was it as raucous as the NLD when I saw my last League game, well no, but that was the NLD.
    Was there more anxiety this time around, well yes but it was on the back of two 1-0 defeats and a recent Arsenal history of imploding.

  • That full Scottish breakfast makes me long for the old country, Total. Missed Oban on our last trip. Turned inland to Lochawe and then south to Inverary.
    Some pass that sent Folarin in on goal. Those Ligue 1 defences are giving him a lot of space to cut his teeth on. Not too sure he would have struggled any less than Eddie against the low blocks of our last few opponents.
    Our goal v the Bees was indeed a thing of beauty, as were some moments in the game where our football flowed like honey from the rock…

  • That’s a very beautiful part too, Stu. Oban has a lot going for it, especially for kids. One day I will drive you there, and to other fine places. 🙂

  • That result vs Brentford still rankles. Worse, I saw the replay of the “foul” that led to the equalizer and it shouldn’t even have been given because Toney fouled Saliba instead. One of the angles of the replays had Toney had his hands wrapped around Saliba, holding onto him while backing into him. Poor lad had no where to go and the ref called the foul.

    We need to pursue a case for a replay or restoration of points all the way up, some day soon. 😩

  • Cech, Bellerin, Montreal, Flamini, Koscielny, Mertesaker, Campbell, Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud, Walcott.

  • That is the last Arsenal XI to beat Man City in a Premier League game, they won 2-1 on 21/12/15 with goals from Giroud and Walcott.

  • Since then Arsenal have played Man City 13 times in the league and the results go:
    2-2, 1-2, 2-2, 1-3, 0-3, 0-2, 1-3, 0-3, 0-3, 0-1, 0-1, 0-5, 1-2…

  • Even when Liverpool and Man United were in their pomp I cannot remember Arsenal being so dominated by another English team, the nearest I can recall was several years at the hands of Leeds

  • Our last two match ups have been the closest, losing at home 1-2 in the league last season was daylight robbery assisted by the usual questionable referee performance, this season we outplayed City at their ground in the FACup with a weakened team, Arsenal haven’t outplayed City at their ground in almost a decade and a half, so the gap has closed for sure, in fact my feelings after the FACup game was that we had nothing to fear and I still think that tha5 is the case despite our two last league games, again influenced by questionable refereeing, can you see the pattern?

  • Avoiding defeat is absolutely crucial, because when we win our game in hand vs Everton as we surely will, the gap between us and City will be 6 points.

  • City are entering a period when they play a succession of really tough games, many of them away and despite the recent ‘bounce’ following the cheating accusations and Guardiola beating the drum, I wonder how long that’ll last with the abuse they’re certain to receive on their travels?

  • Fine comments, Kev. Yes, key is to avoid defeat, but we are in a better position than in a long time to beat them. Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners.

  • Last weekends results:-

    1st Eris with 4/6 plus 1 correct score and most correct predictions = 10 points
    2nd Stuart & Le Gall with 2/6 plus 1 correct score = 4 points
    4th Madhu & OX10 with 1/6 plus correct score = 3 points
    6th Kev, GN5 & Total with 1/6 = 1 point

    Season to date:-

    1st OX 10 with 84.13
    2nd Madhu 80.80
    3rd Kev 78.80
    4th Stuart with 77.33
    5th Eris with 73.13
    6th Total with 61.66
    7th Le Gall with 54.80
    8th GN5 with 53.30


  • Next weekends selections:-

    Brentford v Crystal Palace
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham
    Newcastle United v Liverpool *
    Manchester United v Leicester City *
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United *
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao

  • Brentford v Crystal Palace H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham H
    Newcastle United v Liverpool * 1-1
    Manchester United v Leicester City * 2-1
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United * 4-4
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao H

  • Brentford Crystal Palace D
    Brighton & Hove Albion Fulham D
    Newcastle United 1 Liverpool 2
    Manchester United 1 Leicester City 0
    Tottenham Hotspur 2 West Ham United 3
    Atlético Madrid Athletic Bilbao H

  • Brentford v Crystal Palace. H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham. D
    Newcastle United v Liverpool *. D 1-1
    Manchester United v Leicester City * H 3-1
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United * D 2-2
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao. D

  • Fine comments, Kev. Three weeks ago, I would have put my house on an Arsenal win but with our recent results, it’s hard to do this as we appear to have dropped in form. We are due a win though, so if we can raise our game and the intensity we just might give them a bloody nose.

    Maybe, this is the game we need to get back on track; maybe, it is with this game on the mind that the boys have looked listless lately; they would want to get it over with and set the records straight. So, COYG!!

  • Thanks for the report, GN5. Nice work, as always. Thanks, TA. Some lucky guesses, is all… 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • Brentford v Crystal Palace H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham H
    Newcastle United v Liverpool * 2-1
    Manchester United v Leicester City * 2-1
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United * 2-1
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao H

  • Good point Eris, I’m sure that it’s been on the mind of Arteta as well, we really need to end this Man City jinx, something the fans are aware of so I’m expecting a red hot reception for the Sheiks of Financial Doping tomorrow.

    Interesting to read constant tittle tattle about the financial ‘crisis’ at Juventus and the expected fire sale this summer.

    Vlahovic hasn’t been the Serbian ‘John Charles’ they had expected him to be and he certainly hasn’t come up or anywhere close to the expected Transfermarket value of €80m – would Arteta/Edu try again for the man whose representatives don’t answer the phone if Juve look for a quick turnaround?

  • Juventus also have a few players coming to the end of their contracts this summer, players you’d think a financially secure club would want to keep, but apparently no…?!

    Take Adrien Rabiot for example, regular in the French National squad, only 27, a centre- midfielder and Arsenal could do with one of them?

    Then there’s our old mate Manuel Locatelli, a previous target of Edu’s, a defensive- midfielder, a regular in the Italian National team, only 25, so he certainly fits the profile?

    How about an Argentinian World Cup winner? Leandro Paredes, another defensive midfielder, 28 and with plenty of miles left on the clock…

    Arkediuz Milik is a centre forward, only 28 and a regular starter for Poland? Or Moise Kean, only 22 although he seems to have been around for ages, another centre forward?

    There’s a few others like left back Alex Sandro, 32, but they’re towards the last contract end of their careers.

    So there ya go Edu, fill ya boots!

  • Now, that you remind me, TA……. I still cherish my prize for last season; that beautiful 2021/22 season Arsenal Away shirt. 🏅

    Yeah, Kev. Agree with your post. The jinx has to end some time….

  • Brentford v Crystal Palace H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham H
    Newcastle United v Liverpool * H (2-0)
    Manchester United v Leicester City * H (2-1)
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United * A (1-3)
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao H

  • My predictions for the weekend’s picks:

    Brentford v Crystal Palace H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham D
    Newcastle United v Liverpool * D (2-2)
    Manchester United v Leicester City * A (1-2)
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United * H (3-1)
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao H

  • 1970’s – 1980’s French rugby was the battlefield for two radically opposed visions of what rugby should be.
    The dominating force was S.U. Agen. They were the flag-bearers of what we might call “countryside-rugby”, in other words they stood for a kind of inspired, creative, imaginative, light-cavalry rugby – French rugby at its most narcissistic, as it likes mirrors to tell it how handsome it is. Make no mistake, they had great players too – their poster-boy was the immense Philippe Sella. But the thing is, they were the good guys, the heroes, they had to win for French rugby to be proud of itself, and Albert Ferrasse, who was both the president of Agen and the almighty president of the French Federation, certainly knew how to get his message through so the French referees might always know towards which side the balance was supposed to tip.
    On the other hand, the dominated force was R.C. Toulon, the dark side of French rugby, the villains of “urban” rugby who just loved being hated by everyone else – the image that French rugby denies any mirror the right to reflect. For the opponents, playing in their “Mayol” stadium was not only taking a trip into the abuse-land of what came down from the derelict stands, but also having to put up with physical provocation/intimidation along the walk from the dressing-room to the pitch, and finally being able to resist “taken-to-the-limit” tackles, or the whole catalog of any dirty trick that can be pulled down into the underworld of scrums. And if you survived that, they had tremendous players too, like the left-flanker Éric Champ, and the guy who – up to Antoine Dupont – had been the best French scrum-half ever, Jérôme Gallion.
    However, most of the time, this fearsome pack of wolves turned into a submissive flock of sheep when they had to face Agen, as though their minds had been poisoned by the narratives praising their opponents, and they had ended up respecting them more than they ever wanted to.
    And finally, in 1987, after what had looked like a never-ending succession of humbling defeats, they came across Agen again, in one of the two semi-finals of the “Championnat de France”, and … won it – 18-16. Toulon’s coach was the legendary Daniel Herrero, the man with the looks and the words of a prophet – he could have been reading a phone book and wax lyrical. But he didn’t say much after the win, he didn’t talk about tactics, preparation, he just said: “We were tired of fearing them”.
    That’s where our young Gooners stand right now, and this is the reason why I don’t feel as tense today as I did before the Brentford game. Were it not for the PGMOL – again – they’d have already defeated those arrogant, cocksure “Cityzens” last season, and deservedly so. Tomorrow night’s our lads’ night: mark my words, BKers, brace yourselves for a mighty shot of pure pride because they, too, “are tired of fearing them”.

  • Bayern’s set up:
    Ring a bell?
    Arteta the Beacon

  • Amen, LG. I’d like to book you to preach at our church if we can get you over here to God’s country.
    Sella is a legend even here down under. Same as Dupont. I would also put Freddie Michalak in that pantheon, tho’ he was more a fly half.
    And 1987, LG, was a vintage year for international rugby, too… 😁😁😁

    This is a fascinating feature about an historic Scotland v Wales match which will make you both cringe and laugh out loud… 111 lineouts and 35 scrums in one game!!!

  • Thanks GN5. We in the Far North got a lashing, but our folk further down on the East Coast have really been hammered. Reminded me of the big storm in the south of England back in ’87. When Seven Oaks became One Oak. We have widespread power cuts, toppled trees, earth slips and some of our remote communities are cut off due to bridges and roads being washed out. Two fire fighters have been badly hurt and a couple of folk drowned. Mostly passed us now, big clean up and then some investing in planning for the future on the immediate agenda.
    All pales in comparison to the tragedy in Syria and Turkey.

    Brentford v Crystal Palace H
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham H
    Newcastle United v Liverpool * 2-2
    Manchester United v Leicester City * 2-0
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United * 1-1
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao H

  • This first edition of the RWC brings back wonderful memories indeed, Stu, even though the final wasn’t really what we might call a contest. As it happens so often with “Les (Rugby) Bleus” they gave it all in THAT semi-final and were running on empty against a team who were unplayable anyway (just checked the lineup to be sure: Fitzpatrick-Jones-Kirk-Fox-Kirwan … what were you supposed to do against them, exactly?).
    There’s a whole series of wonderful programs on your “God’s country” on the French-German TV “Arte” at the moment, but I’m afraid BOTH my “trouble-and-strife” AND my “saucepan-lid” share Mrs T.’s lack of enthusiasm for plane traveling.
    About “Gabrielle”, I’ve seen very impressive of the “New Zeland Defense Force” rescuing sailors – may you and your loved ones be kept out of harm’s way, mate

  • I fully understand your Mrs and child’s reticence, LG. The Annika Rice for a bat and wicket nowadays is meshugenah.

    You at the Emirates for the match, Kev?

  • Been busy working so just catching up, some great comments from our Norseman du France, despite the harbingers of economic doom in our mendacious media it’s not been too bad on the streets of Londres, you just have to work a bit longer for your corn, it’s how it always was in January and February.

    The Turkish situation has been exacerbated by our old mate corruption in the building industry, it’s now time to play the blame game between the developers and the political class, tragic really, all those poor souls…

    Yes Stu I shall be at the Emirates later this evening for the changing of the guard.
    Arsenal’s time has come, we just need to grasp it…

  • Brentford v Crystal Palace…… Home
    Brighton & Hove Albion v Fulham…Home
    Newcastle United v Liverpool *…. Draw (1-1)
    Manchester United v Leicester City….Home (3-1) *
    Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United…Home (2-0) *
    Atlético Madrid v Athletic Bilbao

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