Nowhere was that optimism and anticipation higher than Brentford, an enclave of west London disadvantaged of top-flight soccer for 74 years and determined to fill their new stadium for the primary time en masse. To intensify the joy nonetheless additional, crowds have been capable of return with out restrictions on capability for the primary time, which means 16,479 supporters crammed into this compact however comfy enviornment surrounded on three sides by railway strains.
And the way Thomas Frank’s group rose to the event. Sergi Canos fired a Twenty second-minute shot previous Bernd Leno to settle any lingering nerves earlier than the hosts doubled their benefit 17 minutes from time with a aim from a throw-in that typified how they out-fought and out-thought opponents who actually ought to know higher in an emotional 2-0 win.
“We’re only a bus cease in Hounslow, however we’re high of the League,” mentioned Frank afterwards, summing up the David and Goliath really feel.
But probably the most damning facet of that is that it wasn’t a lot of an upset. Sources at Brentford have been quietly assured all week they may deny their underdog standing and trigger an stir, acutely aware of the comfortable underbelly Arsenal have lengthy carried.
What does it say concerning the Gunners that they have been proved so emphatically right? The opening sport of a marketing campaign is palpably too early to declare a membership in disaster, however then this end result would not replicate 90 minutes however an unfinished summer season.
Whether it is misfortune that each Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette missed the sport by way of sickness, and key midfielder Thomas Partey was absent with an ankle damage, there are nonetheless inquiries to ask a couple of course of that left a 20-year-old, Folarin Balogun, to guide the road on his debut in such circumstances.
Balogun might be something, however he is not prepared but. And neither have been Arsenal, regardless of this being such an important sport given the delicate temper across the membership, the tradition shift Mikel Arteta is attempting to implement and a fixture record that pits them in opposition to Champions League winners Chelsea and Premier League winners Manchester City earlier than the tip of the month.
As an alternative, this felt all too acquainted: frail on the again and sterile in assault, regardless of having their £50 million centre-back, Ben White, and £17m midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga on the pitch.
White and defensive associate Pablo Mari struggled all night time. Their third summer season signing, Nuno Tavares, made an ineffective late look as an alternative as Arsenal failed to point out any sustained attacking cohesion to pressure their manner again into the sport. They ended with 22 pictures however simply 4 on the right track, a small indication of the desperation on present.
Bukayo Saka, applauded on by all 4 corners of the bottom in a present of help after lacking the decisive penalty in England‘s Euro 2020 last defeat to Italy, introduced some recent impetus as a second-half substitute to complement the flashes of goal from Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney. That trio continues to resemble Arsenal’s greatest hope of progress.
In the meantime, Willian, incomes £100,000 per week, was nowhere to be seen and wantaway midfielder Lucas Torriera used the half-time break to put up an image on social media of alongside his household at a theme park in Madrid. It’s a little early for Arsenal to be on the rollercoaster, however right here they’re.
Calum Chambers, maybe an uncommon selection at right-back with Hector Bellerin nonetheless on the membership and on the bench alongside Cedric Soares, was overwhelmed too simply by Canos, as was Leno at his close to put up. Leno, keep in mind, is the one senior goalkeeper on the membership after the Gunners offered Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa final summer season and Mat Ryan ended his mortgage spell by returning to Brighton & Hove Albion.
On the very least, Leno wants extra competitors on this proof, particularly after being crowded out to concede the only of targets that killed the competition. An extended throw-in from substitute Mads Sorensen reached the close to put up the place Ivan Toney pressurised Leno and Chambers to pressure the ball on and Christian Norgaard nodded in his first aim in English soccer.
Arteta reduce a annoyed determine all through however insisted they might not panic available in the market, regardless of the membership ideally searching for a artistic midfielder, a backup goalkeeper and a striker with lower than three weeks of the summer season switch window left.
“My focus is with the gamers that we’ve got, attempt to make them play one of the best as doable, get one of the best out of the group and discover the way in which to win soccer matches,” he mentioned. “We’re very clear on what we wished to do, what our strengths are and what we will enhance and I do not assume immediately’s efficiency exhibits something completely different from what we already assume.”
Not displaying something completely different is exactly the issue. And the clock is already ticking.