Feed on

Before yesterday Brentford had lost only one of their last ten home league games, while Arsenal had won five out of six games against them since they returned to the top flight. It was Mikel Arteta’s 200th game in charge and he has achieved, in that time, a better win record (115) than even Arsene Wenger (111) and George Graham (107). I’ve done those figures from memory so apologies if they’re not quite right. 

The Arsenal went with their usual 4-3-3. Tomiyasu moved to right back, Zinchenko played his inverting left back role, and Rice anchored the midfield between Trossard and Ødegaard. Jesús returned at centre forward between Saka and Martinelli. The main talking point, of course, was a start for Aaron Ramsdale in place of the ineligible Raya, on loan from the hosts.
Brentford opted for a 3-5-2 formation to deny the visitors space in the attacking two thirds of the pitch. A ploy which you would have to say worked very well for them. Every time Arsenal approached Brentford’s penalty area they had nine men inside it if you include their goalkeeper and space, for a long while and at Arsenal’s rather pedestrian build up speed, proved almost impossible to find.

In the early stages Brentford hurried and hassled Arsenal who had the majority of possession, but couldn’t find the room or time to genuinely threaten the hosts’ goal. There was a heart in mouth moment on just 13 minutes when Ramsdale, trying to draw the Brentford press, attempted to walk the ball forwards and stumbled over it under pressure from the Brentford forward who won the ball, made room for his shot and drove it towards goal. I was already simultaneously cursing our luck and sympathising with Ramsdale – this was the very last thing he needed – and expecting to see the net bulge, when Declan Rice appeared out of a magic lamp and cleared the shot off the line.

The pressure on Ramsdale was clearly telling and on 31 minutes he did one of those comedy throws and launched the ball into the ground right in front of him. But instead of disaster, the Gods smiled, the ball was cleared and a dangerous counter attack ended only when Saka got his feet mixed up on the edge of the Brentford area. It’s sad to see what our goalkeeping situation has done to Aaron Ramsdale. Last season’s confident, vocal character between the posts has been replaced by a nervous, haunted looking figure. I am a huge fan of Arteta and I understand he must choose the players he believes are best suited to the game he wants to play. I am not party to what has been said at Shenley but I feel Ramsdale, remember last season’s keeper of the season, has been harshly dropped without doing a lot wrong and Raya has been brought in by his ex Brentford goalkeeper coach without being much, if anything, of an upgrade. This has to be down to Arteta and we now have two reputedly great goalkeepers who have not an atom of confidence between them. 

However, on 41 minutes Leandro Trossard scored, bravely repeating his recent header just inside the goalpost, the assist coming from Gabriel Jesús after his own effort was parried out by the keeper. Or rather, we didn’t score. Michael Salisbury, this week’s Ringmaster at Varnum’s Circus, needed two lines in different colours to decide that Trossard’s toe was forward of Jesús’ own digit and chalked the goal off. If anyone can explain how this was disallowed but Newcastle’s goal against us stood, I’d be much obliged.

The 3 minutes of added time saw a yellow card for Ajer, who flattened Jesús from behind and a back heel shot from Ødegaard that went well wide.

HT Brentford 0 – 0 Arsenal

Arsenal began the second half moving the ball more quickly and looked more threatening for it. We were losing possession more though as Ramsdale had decided to go long almost all the time to avoid any more errors. You can see why Arteta wants to play out from the back but Ramsdale appears currently to have lost the confidence to do it.
Martinelli and Saka both played in great crosses but nobody was really looking to get on the end of them. This seems to be a problem with our present approach. The quest for control in the final third is leaving players too afraid to penetrate the area or try a shot in case they lose the ball. Eddie Nketiah was sent on for Jesús after 64 minutes to give us a bit more presence in the box but another brilliant Martinelli cross was easily put out for a corner.

Brentford exchanged Yarmoluk and Wissa for Baptiste and the odious Neil Maupay, whose first involvement was to foul Tomiyasu and then inevitably moan at the referee, Tim Robinson, for awarding the free kick. What a horrible little man he is.

Zinchenko gave the ball away in his left back position on 76 minutes, by trying to overplay under pressure. The resulting Brentford attack almost ended in them scoring but somehow Zinchenko had made up the ground to make a brilliant clearance at the far post. Arteta sent Kai Havertz on for Martinelli on 78 minutes and the German was immediately busy in the Brentford area. Rice had a decent drive deflected for a corner and Onyeka was so impressed with our new super star that at the resulting set piece he tried to force him into an early exchange of shirts. Rice appeared somewhat confused to have the free kick for all the grappling awarded against him.

On 80 minutes Arsenal decided it was finally time to win the game. Saliba shot wide and Nketiah fired one in that was easily gathered by keeper Flekken. And then on 88 minutes it happened. Saka curled a superb cross from the right towards the far post. Havertz watched it all the way and advanced to head it down and past the helpless goalkeeper. If you’re going to win 1 – 0, the 88th minute is a pretty good time to do it. Not much beats a winner In practically the last minute of the game.

The referee found an extra minute to add to the allotted additional four before Aaron Ramsdale went down clutching the final ball of the game.

FT Brentford 0 – 1 Arsenal

Once again, despite not hitting last season’s highs, the players never gave up on winning the game, gave their all in defence and showed quite clearly what a great spirit exists within the squad. Huge congratulations to Havertz by all the players on scoring his first goal for the club – apart from ‘that’ penalty – were matched at the final whistle when the entire team gathered to hug Aaron Ramsdale, who had risen to pull a dangerous cross out of the air in added time. 

A hard fought, difficult, 1 – 0 win which we all said we would happily accept. So, no complaints here.

Actually, there is one complaint. The BT commentary team made a largely scrappy and dull game almost unbearable. Darren Fletcher and co-commentator Lucy Ward verbally filled every single second with the bleeding obvious right up to the 23rd minute, when we finally got a whole 4 seconds of silence. For the, ahem, experienced fans among us, the old, top tennis commentator Dan Maskell said, when asked what made a great commentator, ‘only speak when you can add to what the viewer can see’. Fletcher and Ward seem to be under the misapprehension that they are working on the radio. When he breathes she speaks and vice versa, repeating or “explaining” what we veterans of hundreds or even thousands of games have known for years. Am I the only one who gets incredibly irritated by this?

By the way – Man of The Match was our own Rolls Rice – and, we are top of the league, say ………

36 Drinks to “Bees To Beat The Arsenal? – Beehive Yourself!”

  1. 1
    ClockEndRider says:

    Great report, Trev, of a game that was hard to watch, with Brentford playing for huge amounts of time with 10 and even 11 behind the ball. I really felt for Ramsdale and your summation of the goalkeeping situation is spot on. Arteta has created a problem where formerly one didn’t exist.
    I too found the BT commentary wearing, with its repetitive, banal stating of the bleeding obvious. At one point they tried to tell us that Brentford is historically a difficult place for Arsenal. While there is some truth in that, prior to the game we lost in 2021 – if you remember with several players struck down with Covid and others not available due to not having had sufficient break after the delayed World Cup – you have to go back to the 8th September 1938 to find the last time we lost there. And we didn’t play there at all between May 1947 and August 2021. Still, no need to let the facts get in the way of a good narrative. I suppose it’s their truth…..

  2. 2
    Countryman100 says:

    That’s a great and very rapid report Trev, on a game that, ultimately, made for a very happy Saturday night for all Gooners. You very much saw the same game as me and think you summarise the Ramsdale position well. I also agree with your point about the TNT commentators.

    I thought Rice was utterly fantastic and that Zinny had an excellent game. Our two spring heeled wingers were double teamed out of the game by a very tough Brentford side. But class will out, and Saka’s superb cross was put in very well by Havertz. In pre season, Havertz scored a couple of goals at the back stick. He needs to pop up there more often.

    So, to sum up, we are greatly improved defensively by the addition of the imperious Rice and the form of the centre backs. Up front we still have lots of space to improve. And yet …

    We are top of the league
    Say we are top of the league!

  3. 3
    TTG says:

    Very well and amusingly described Trev . You combine an accurate description of events with the insight of someone who appreciates the irony of the period we are enduring now where the League and PGMOL have made a mockery of the competition
    The game was very tedious and was last on MOTD possibly because they didn’t want to spend too much time celebrating Arsenal being top of the league !
    You describe the goalkeeping situation well. I can’t believe we are top because we lack so much of last season’s zip in our passing but we defended well, Rice was superb and Havertz Kaiboshed them at the end . See what I did there . Yes excruciating.
    I think we need to speed our passing but hey we are top of the league and nobody gets an easy game against us . Winnable games coming up too. COYG!

  4. 4
    Esso says:

    Cheers Trev!

  5. 5
    Lonestar Gooner says:

    Puns always at the ready, Trev! 😉

    Excellent summary. I still maintain the camera angle used to draw the VAR lines was not the proper angle. The “live feed” angle which initially shows Trossard scoring also shows him behind the ball.

    Anyway, those lines couldn’t keep us from going top. Well done, boys.


  6. 6
    Up4GrabsNow! says:

    I am not a Kai hater, just a doubter but after yesterday’s cameo and goal that sent us top, I will dine on a small serving of crow today. Just a morsel, like the beak. Hoping that as the season progresses I will be forced to eat the entire bird. There are certainly signs as of late that he has turned the corner.

    Feel sorry for Ramsdale. I was hoping he’d be stellar yesterday.

    Come on you Villains!

  7. 7
    North Bank Ned says:

    Grand report, Trev. Loved ‘Varnum’s Circus’. Not a word to disagree with. You captured the game to a T. Take that in the excruciating stakes, TTG.

    RIP, Terry Venables. Big Tel’s lager-than-life character could mask how good a manager he was.

  8. 8
    North Bank Ned says:

    When young Havertz was in his pomp at Leverkusen, he would often drift beyond the far post, whence he would score. He has been getting into similar positions this season but either not being found by teammates or finishing woefully. His Brentford header was technically accomplished. Encouraging.

  9. 9
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Trev, a fine report of 3 points successfully banked.
    Fine company MA is keeping with that record of 115, which
    Is coincidentally the number of times Shitteh cheated.

  10. 10
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Trev! Top of the league!

  11. 11
    BtM says:

    Good result, good report, good weekend with Cheaty/Pool draw, Spuds and Chel$ki thumped. Hopefully Toffees can take out ten points worth of frustration on ManU.

    Win the next one. COYG.

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:


    First ten games unbeaten. We’re gonna win the league mate!

    Next three games, beaten after being 1-0 up. Oh mate!

    Next match, City away. Maaate!

  13. 13
    scruzgooner says:

    well in, trev, thanks. just what i saw, and well told.

    i rewatched some of the match and really, except for aaron’s troubles, we bossed the game. unproductively, and with some luck (two goal-line clearances, eh?). and saka’s cross was clearly something they were trying to make happen, two or three times after kai came on they put in the same cross but didn’t make the nut. happy for kai, too.

    i hope jesus and gabi get some rest midweek, and we see a tight defensive performance to win our group.

  14. 14
    scruzgooner says:

    oh, and spurs: hahahahahahahahahahahaaaa!

  15. 15
    Bathgooner says:

    Nice one, Trev. A big win after a frustrating evening against a well organised and thrawn defensive outfit. It demonstrated the determination, desire and resilience (not to mention a slice of luck, or was that more determination and resilience from first Rice, then Zinchenko making their vital blocks on the line?) that a team needs to win this league and moreover, a team spirit that was lovely to see, not least the support for Ramsdale at the end.

    There’s no question that the win was thoroughly deserved despite the BBC’s conviction that Brentford deserved a draw. – yet another example of the ‘modern’ BBC failing to recognise the truth – as there really was only one team trying to win the game. I am delighted for Havertz – hopefully that’s the first nugget of his Arsenal goal rush. I’m also saddened for Ramsdale – there are rumours today that Wolves want him on loan in January with an obligation to buy and his sad wave to the travelling support did have the look of a farewell. I expect MA8 to block a January move but he’s sure to be off in the summer

  16. 16
    Countryman100 says:

    Man, this league is competitive. One third of the way in, from first to fourth is two points, first to eighth is eight points.

  17. 17
    TTG says:

    I’d be very dubious that we’d let Ramsdale go in January unless we have a replacement lined up. If we have I doubt it will be a PL keeper . I still think despite the fact that he is an arsehole that Martinez is way better than Raya or Ramsdale. So my confidence in our goalkeeping coach and his judgement is limited . It’s hard to recruit a no.2 keeper and you either get a young keeper as yet undiscovered or go down the route the Spuds did with Forster , ie a veteran keeper who comes in to play reliably in an emergency .Maybe the return of Flappyanski! That doesn’t sound to me like we are strengthening the position . Ramsdale needs games but he also needs to play in a better team than Wolves

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    Interesting if Ramsdale goes to Wolves. Last year, when we went there, the Wolves fans were singing “we hope that you die” at him. Ramsdale loved that and spent the whole game winding them up.

  19. 19
    Uplympian says:

    Thanks Trev for an excellent report complete with some good humour. Like other easteemed drinkers here it was a hard fought but correct result. The Bees sat back with very little attacking intent hoping for a mistake to give them a goal – it nearly worked for them. Very happy that Kai scored a good goal and hope this will enable him to move on from here.
    Aaron looks done in from his treatment – the boss will need to rebuild his mojo if he want him to be an able deputy to Raya/ increase his transfer value.

  20. 20
    Lad says:

    Cheers Trev, excellent well-balanced report full of funny spells.
    Nothing to disagree.
    Just one more proof about the genius of Rice. He started to run back towards the goal when he spotted Ramsdale’s hesitation and he consciously finished his run in the very spot where he made the clearence. Awesome he is.

  21. 21
    Countryman100 says:

    Lad@20. I wonder how much of a sliding doors moment that Rice block was? Consider, Brentford at home are tough to beat and their record against the top six is excellent. Ramsdale was jittery and made a horrendous error. As you point out, Rice’s reaction was superb. It ended up a superb win. Thank goodness for Declan Rice.

  22. 22
    Bathgooner says:

    From a purely fiscal stance, which of course is by FAR the most important aspect of the game, our two fit outright purchases of the summer have, in two brief moments, not only demonstrated their value but have also individually repaid a substantial slice of their respective purchase prices.

  23. 23
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@21: An astute observation. This team might have salvaged a draw had Brentford gone one up after Ramsdale’s mistake, but I am less confident that it would have left with a win.

    TTG@17: There would also be the option to recall Runarsson from his Cardiff City loan. 🙂

    More seriously, how happy would we be about Hein filling in if Ramsdale had left and Raya got injured and is Arthur Okonkwo good/experienced enough to be a No 2?

  24. 24
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks Trev for an enjoyable review.

    Happy for Havertz and Ramsdale both. I thought Kai’s movements were sharper and less inhibited after he came on even before the goal. Hopefully the goal will bring back the confidence.

    Rice and Zinchenko were excellent, even though the latter made a bad mistake giving away the ball trying to play a progressive pass — in moments like those his natural inclination as an attacking midfielder takes over his acquired discipline of a defender — which thankfully he had enough presence of mind to follow up on and make a goal line clearance. Rice’s anticipation for his goal line clearance earlier following Aaron’s nervy mistake was crucial as well. In a very short time he has become an indispensable leader of this team.

    Arteta’s 200th match saw us continue our excellent London derby record. Like the rest of us here I too feel we have one or two more levels of performance to go up still in this season, which is a highly encouraging reality.

    About the GK situation, I think it will be very foolish to allow Aaron to leave in winter. We will be (hopefully) fighting on three different competitions in the second half of the season and only one top class GK in the squad will be a completely unnecessary risk.

  25. 25
    Trev says:

    Thanks to all for your kind words – and some fine drinks to go with them.

    TalkSport surpassed themselves yesterday with an hour long interview with Tony Adams who, amongst other things spent some time talking about his relationship with Terry Venables. It was quite a shock to hear of his passing just minutes after the interview ended.

    If anyone wants to catch up on the interview that radio station continually boasts it has a website where all this sort of stuff can be found. It’s well worth a listen and dealt with Tony’s past addictions, his health, football, Wenger, charity work and life in general. Surprisingly for TalkSport it was well done and very interesting – hosted by Henry Winter and Sean / Shaun (?) Custis.

  26. 26
    Bathgooner says:

    Trev, it won’t surprise you to learn that the website of which it boasts continually (I never listen to the channel) does not offer access to the TA6 interview. There appear to be be snippets which they exploit as click-bait for which I am not going to give them the benefit. I will simply reflect warmly on your description of the piece and my memories of a fine captain and centre back and the sad passing of the charismatic El Tel, who was years ahead of his time, tactically and the best England manager I ever saw. Apparently he was nearly appointed Arsenal manager twice despite his prior affiliations.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Trev says:

    Bath, it’s a pity that interview is not available as it gave a very wide view of TA in which he appeared a lot more perceptive than you might have thought given his relatively unsuccessful forays into management.

    However, in typical Talk Sport fashion they quoted some very carefully edited snippets from the hour – all chosen for maximum controversy – the minute it was over. Can’t help themselves, can they ?

  29. 29
    bt8 says:

    Cheers Trev on an excellent report on a game that looked like ending in a draw for long periods of the second half but our persistence paid off. Big kudos to Rice and Zinchenko for their goal line clearances, and to Saka and Havertz for linking up on that cross at just the right moment. Huge three points and an outstanding case of taking care of buzzness.

  30. 30
    bt8 says:

    Above phrase courtesy of 21cg in his match preview of course.

  31. 31
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks C100 for the link to Mike. As usual he had a lot of sound points to make, most of which I agree with (also as usual). I am starting to be persuaded on the need for a central striker in January, though absolutely not Giroud, but a striker anyway.

    His thoughts on Zin’s defending were interesting too, I will try to stop thinking of him as iffy defensively. However, I am not going to join his new “Zin is a good defender club’ unless they add ‘but Tomi is better one’ to the title 😉

    Our number of away clean sheets is impressively better than anyone else. I like that we are nicking 1-0 away wins and it gives me confidence in our title push.

  32. 32
    OsakaMatt says:

    The rumours about a winter move / loan for Rammy are hardly surprising given the current situation. If MA’s mind is really made up then I think it’s fine to let him go as I never want to keep unhappy players – but only if we have an experienced replacement available. If not then Rammy will have to stick it out and be professional as I don’t fancy Hein or Okonkwo to be honest – to answer Ned’s point @23. Nor Runarsson 😱

    I wonder if MA ever thinks about Leno’s behavior in the same situation when Rammy took his place. Of course Leno was much more experienced by that time. I feel bad for Rammy of course but some of the comments about MA ‘ruining his goalkeeper’ are just nonsense.

  33. 33
    OsakaMatt says:

    The Arsenal OB club did for Wolves tonight 🙂

  34. 34
    Potsticker says:

    OM@33: And looking forward to the Arsenal NB club doing the same on Saturday.

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    Owing to IT problems at Castle Ned, the GHF Predictathon Leaderboard Match Week 13 update has been delayed. Normal service will be resumed before too long, I hope.

    In the meantime, if one of the Admins could take a look at the incoming messages from the Contact form, I would be most grateful.

  36. 36
    Bathgooner says: