Nowhere was that optimism and anticipation greater than Brentford, an enclave of west London deprived of leading-flight soccer for 74 many years and desperate to fill their new stadium for the initially time en masse. To heighten the pleasure nonetheless even further, crowds have been capable to return without the need of limits on capacity for the initial time, that means 16,479 supporters crammed into this compact but at ease arena surrounded on three sides by railway lines.
And how Thomas Frank’s group rose to the situation. Sergi Canos fired a 22nd-minute shot earlier Bernd Leno to settle any lingering nerves before the hosts doubled their benefit 17 minutes from time with a purpose from a toss-in that typified how they out-fought and out-assumed opponents who definitely should really know much better in an emotional 2- get.
“We are just a bus end in Hounslow, but we’re major of the League,” claimed Frank afterwards, summing up the David and Goliath truly feel.
Yet the most damning aspect of this is that it wasn’t much of an upset. Sources at Brentford ended up quietly self-assured all week they could deny their underdog standing and result in an stir, conscious of the comfortable underbelly Arsenal have extended carried.
What does it say about the Gunners that they have been proved so emphatically suitable? The opening game of a campaign is palpably too early to declare a club in crisis, but then this outcome isn’t going to reflect 90 minutes but an unfinished summer time.
If it is misfortune that equally Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette missed the video game as a result of disease, and critical midfielder Thomas Partey was absent with an ankle harm, there are nonetheless concerns to talk to about a system that remaining a 20-year-aged, Folarin Balogun, to direct the line on his debut in this kind of instances.
Balogun could be everything, but he is just not completely ready nevertheless. And neither ended up Arsenal, regardless of this currently being these types of a crucial video game provided the fragile mood close to the club, the culture shift Mikel Arteta is trying to employ and a fixture checklist that pits them versus Champions League winners Chelsea and Leading League winners Manchester Town before the end of the month.
Instead, this felt all far too common: frail at the back again and sterile in attack, even with owning their £50 million centre-again, Ben White, and £17m midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga on the pitch.
White and defensive partner Pablo Mari struggled all night. Their third summer season signing, Nuno Tavares, created an ineffective late visual appearance as a substitute as Arsenal unsuccessful to clearly show any sustained attacking cohesion to drive their way back into the recreation. They finished with 22 photographs but just four on target, a tiny indication of the desperation on display.
Bukayo Saka, applauded on by all 4 corners of the ground in a present of guidance soon after missing the decisive penalty in England‘s Euro 2020 remaining defeat to Italy, introduced some fresh new impetus as a 2nd-fifty percent substitute to nutritional supplement the flashes of function from Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney. That trio continues to resemble Arsenal’s greatest hope of progress.
In the meantime, Willian, earning £100,000 a 7 days, was nowhere to be witnessed and wantaway midfielder Lucas Torriera used the 50 %-time break to write-up a photo on social media of together with his relatives at a theme park in Madrid. It is a tiny early for Arsenal to be on the rollercoaster, but here they are.
Calum Chambers, possibly an uncommon alternative at ideal-back again with Hector Bellerin still at the club and on the bench together with Cedric Soares, was crushed also conveniently by Canos, as was Leno at his around write-up. Leno, remember, is the only senior goalkeeper at the club following the Gunners sold Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa previous summertime and Mat Ryan finished his loan spell by returning to Brighton & Hove Albion.
At the quite minimum, Leno wants additional opposition on this evidence, in particular just after remaining crowded out to concede the simplest of ambitions that killed the contest. A extensive toss-in from substitute Mads Sorensen reached the close to article the place Ivan Toney pressurised Leno and Chambers to pressure the ball on and Christian Norgaard nodded in his initially aim in English football.
Arteta lower a pissed off figure during but insisted they would not stress in the sector, even with the club ideally on the lookout for a innovative midfielder, a backup goalkeeper and a striker with significantly less than 3 months of the summer months transfer window left.
“My concentration is with the players that we have, consider to make them play the finest as possible, get the greatest out of the staff and come across the way to get football matches,” he stated. “We are quite obvious on what we required to do, what our strengths are and what we can increase and I really don’t believe today’s performance exhibits anything at all distinctive from what we by now consider.”
Not displaying anything at all distinct is exactly the difficulty. And the clock is by now ticking.