Feed on

We now enter every football fan’s favourite time of year, where there are no inconvenient international breaks, with all your star players returning from far flung lands with torn hamstrings or half a leg missing and all the games coming thick and fast. Saturday marks the first of ten games in 37 days for Arsenal. By the time 2023 rolls over to make way for 2024 we will be over halfway through the league campaign and, bar a catastrophe, into the knockout stages of the Champions League.

First up is Brentford who Arsenal have already beaten this season in the League Cup. They remain Ivan Toney-less although they are not without ammunition; Bryan Mbeumo has taken over the mantle in the absence of Brentford’s star man. The Cameroonian has six goals this season for the Bees and caused the Arsenal defence some problems in the League cup earlier this season.

Brentford are currently enjoying what is arguably the most fruitful period of their history. Finally promoted back to the topflight in 2021 after more than seven decades away, they were widely expected to be battling the drop but finished in a very respectable 13th place. You will all remember that the Bees maiden Premier League victory came against Arsenal on the opening night of that season as goals in each half from Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard earned Brentford a famous victory. 

They were able to build on this in 2022/23 with a ninth-place finish, just two points off a European place. Quite an achievement for a club of their size. It is always great to see smaller clubs establish themselves with the big boys after going about their business in a financially compliant manner rather than via winning the football lottery. Last season was also a memorable one for Brentford fans as they remarkably ended the campaign as West London’s top dogs finishing above Fulham and, hilariously, Chelsea. In fact, since Brentford’s promotion they have won at Stamford Bridge in every season, by an aggregate scoreline of 8-1. 

However, towards the end of the season Brentford were dealt a major blow when their talisman, Ivan Toney, was awarded a nine month ban for dozens of gambling breaches. He remains in the shadows until January so when he does play again it may well be for a different club. Arsenal and Chelsea are the two rumoured destinations, but they are just rumours, so we’ll wait and see. There have also been rumours he’ll sign a new deal, which Brentford fans will hope to be the case. The England striker scored 20 goals in 33 appearances last season so he is clearly capable of leading the line for a top club although there would be questions regarding his physical and mental state after not playing for so long. 

In terms of team selection, we will certainly see at least one enforced change from the win over Burnley as David Raya will be ineligible to face his parent club. This means it is almost certain we will see a return between the sticks for Aaron Ramsdale for 90 minutes at least. According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal have opted to make the signing of Raya permanent and that will be activated in June 2024 at which point Brentford will receive a reported fee of £27 million following on from the £3 million loan fee we paid in the summer. But we’ve all heard about the famous Arsenal goalkeeping conundrum from thousands of pundits and ex-players and just about anyone Sky Sports have been able to find so I will not bore you with it once more. 

As for the defence there have been murmurs Ben White is nursing an injury which kept him out of the Burnley game so Tomiyasu may retain his position at right back. Thomas Partey is injured until the end of time itself, so I suspect Havertz will start in midfield again. As much as this signing makes no sense to any of us, I have seen slight improvements in the German’s game in recent weeks. And by that, I mean he has looked 1% more like a footballer and not as though Arteta and Edu were out in Magaluf the night before a game and pulled out anyone who looked like they could still walk and asked them if they fancied a game. I’m sure he’ll come good!

We should see the return of Martin Odegaard who has missed the last couple of games with concussion which he reportedly suffered in training. A ball to the back of the head perhaps? My money is on Cedric. Up front I’d expect it will be Saka and Martinelli down the wings with Trossard through the middle over the fit again Gabriel Jesús. 

I am expecting a tough physical game but one which we will win. 2-0 according to my sources. 


34 Drinks to “Time to Get Down to Buzzness in West London”

  1. 1
    Esso says:

    Cheers 21CG!

  2. 2
    ClockEndRider says:

    Nice work, 21CG. Loved the headline. Has Thomas Frank just sat on a bees nest?

  3. 3
    bt8 says:

    Cheers 21cg on an excellent and timely preview which helped prevent me from tearing out the remaining 1% of my hair in frustration over the insufferable interlull. But what sources would those be for your 0-2 prediction? Certainly nobody in PGMOL which as we all know is stacked with 100% anti-Arsenal mercenaries pining to suck our blood and our very life matter, not that I think Brentford has any particular PGMOL friends either. We seem to have got through the break without injuries but with the Gabys returning late from afar, Trossard could have a lot on his shoulders, and to a lesser degree the same might be said for Kiwior and Nelson. I will be traveling transcontinentally so won’t see the game but hope to follow some of it in Wifi-equipped airports, if any are available. COYG

  4. 4
    Ollie says:

    Cheers 21CG! I like your sources, may they never dry up.

  5. 5
    North Bank Ned says:

    Nice one, 21CG. Brisk and to the point I would happily take a 2-0 win. I hope your sources fall into the ‘usually reliable’ category.

  6. 6
    Boff says:

    Was at the Community Stadium last year to see my Gunners put them to the sword 3-0. I mentioned to my cousin John (Bees season ticket holder) that Bees hadn’t played well. His response “Arsenal didn’t let them play well”.
    That was last year – our modus operandi this year seems to be less attack and more
    shut down defence. Last year was fun – we need more of that this year.

  7. 7
    scruzgooner says:

    nice preview, 21cg, thanks. not a fan of experimenting with toney, too much risk when we should be reaching for top, top qualitee players.

    i’ll take 2-0 to us. or even 1-0. COYG!

  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    A fine preview. Brentford are indeed an impressively run outfit and an opponent to be respected. However hopefully their progress stalls tomorrow. I also hope that your sources are the seventh sons of seventh sons. Arsenal winning 2-0 without any injuries will do just fine. COYG

  9. 9
    TTG says:

    Excellent preview 21CG
    I hope your sources do not include Ivan Toney or his ban might be extended . If you want to know how good Toney is, ask William Saliba who he really bullied last season at our place. I haven’t got much of a feel for this but think we could repeat our League Cup result winning 1-0’

  10. 10
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thoughtful and informative preview 21CG! Thank you.
    I don’t think Havertz will start tomorrow as Ødegaard seems to be back fit, at least as per the training photos. If White is fully fit I think Tomi will start from the bench, he was playing away and had a bit of travel back and forth.
    My starting line-up:

    White/Tomiyasu Saliba Gabriel Zinchenko
    Ødegaard Jorginho Rice
    Saka Trossard Martinelli

    Jesus returning back to the starting line-up against Lens.
    Never easy against this spirited Brentford side but we should have enough firepower to score the necessary goals with our defence maintaining its resilience.

    Come on Arsenal!

  11. 11
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks 21CG, a fine preview of a tricky game. Like others I will happily take 2-0.

    Personally I would start Jesus for this game if he is fit but no idea what Mikel will do.
    Be good to see Ode back and hopefully raring to go.

  12. 12
    bt8 says:

    Also wanted to add my appreciation to 21cg for the great title and photo of Frank, who is clearly another one in the camp of those pining to suck Arsenal’s blood, Danish scum that he is.

  13. 13
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Thanks 21CG
    Bees are generally good for the environment but in this case they do indeed need to buzz off. A statement win after the interlull is required so 3-0 would do nicely.

  14. 14
    bt8 says:

    Jadon Sancho appears to be “jodido” at Manchester United as they say on the Castilian plain, whereas Antony from the look of him appears merely to be anesthetised.


    Come on whichever team is playing against them.

  15. 15
    OsakaMatt says:

    Top beckons if we can win, happy with 1-1 at the shittihad

  16. 16
    bathgooner says:

    It’s an opportunity that we simply must take. A time to show character, desire and determination.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    MA gone with an attacking line-up. I think Leo will play the left 8 role
    with Havertz on the bench,. I guess Brentford will target Leo / Zin wing
    defensively as an opportunity. Declan and Gabi will be important as cover.
    I will take the 4-3 win 😀

  18. 18
    North Bank Ned says:

    Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko,
    Rice, Trossard, Odegaard (c)
    Saka, Martinelli,

  19. 19
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bench: Hein, White, Cedric, Kiwior, Jorginho, Elneny, Nelson, Havertz, Nketiah

  20. 20
    OsakaMatt says:

    A bastard of an offside for Leo, a goal just before half-time would have been great.
    2nd half, just win

  21. 21
    bathgooner says:

    That first half was very hard work. We must move the ball faster when we are near their box and try to catch them in transition. But we must not let them score the first goal.

    Faster, faster, faster!

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Eddie have on for Jesus
    Come on Eddie

  23. 23
    OsakaMatt says:

    Get the fuck in

  24. 24
    OsakaMatt says:

    Great one to nick 1-0
    I always said that boy would come good 😊

  25. 25
    OsakaMatt says:

    Top of the League👏👏👏

  26. 26
    OsakaMatt says:

    Great cross for the goal from Saka and pleased for Kai.
    Better 2nd half for Rammy and an outstanding off the line
    from Zin. Wasn’t perfect but the three points are just grand

  27. 27
    Depressedgooner says:

    Kai is the guy!

    Oh to be a gooner 😁

    Yes I guess he could come good but he has already got some begrudged goodwill banked from me now, hope he does not waste it lol

  28. 28
    OsakaMatt says:

    😃 to be honest I have no idea if Kai will come good, but like you I certainly hope today will help.
    It was a tough watch today but worth it in the end. Another 1-0 to The Arsenal
    away from home, our third I think this season.

  29. 29
    North Bank Ned says:

    Hard-earned three points, but three points are three points however earned. As much to the point, a win earned through graft rather than artistry against a team that had a good game plan and stuck to it, when in earlier seasons that performance might have fizzled out in defeat.

    In the off-the-line department, a big hat tip to Rice for bailing our Ramsdale in the first half.

    Did I mention that we are top of the league?

  30. 30
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Say we are top of the league!

  31. 31
    bathgooner says:

    A well earned victory which could prove a massive three points come season’s end. We kept plugging away – moving the ball too slowly for my liking – but never lost belief and showed the determination, desire and resilience that I wanted to see. That goal was simply wonderful. Øde worked the space for Saka to put in a perfect curler to the far post that was met superbly by Havertz (not an easy header) to take three points from a team that was simply determined to stop us and fearful that we would punish them if they were too adventurous. Isn’t Karma wonderful?

  32. 32
    bathgooner says:

    What’s that you say? We are top of the league? Isn’t that nice?

  33. 33
    scruzgooner says:

    excellent win, in spite of my nails gnawed to the quick. the trossard goal should have stood, it was clearly and obviously not a clear and obvious error. oh, for automated offsides.

    let’s get three against lens this wednesday. COYG!

  34. 34
    Bathgooner says: