Match report – Player ratings – Video
The scoreline would possibly counsel a detailed recreation, however it wasn’t. Brentford’s damage time, VAR-generous comfort was simply that, and whereas Arsenal had some issue in turning dominance into targets, there was just one workforce who deserved the factors yesterday and that was us.
Emile Smith Rowe got here again into the facet to exchange the suspended Gabriel Martinelli, and whereas Takehiro Tomiyasu was on the bench, Cedric continued at proper again. The remainder of the workforce was just about as anticipated, and from the beginning we pinned the opposition proper again in their very own half.
Rather a lot went on within the early levels. As Arsenal put the ball behind the web after a beautiful transfer, there have been two VAR checks for penalties nonetheless ongoing: considered one of a foul on Ben White, one for a foul on Lacazette. We didn’t get the privilege of seeing too many replays, however I’d actually wish to have gotten a greater view of the second as a result of it seemed like a transparent foul to me. Nonetheless, with Jon Moss on subject and Lee Mason within the VAR management room, I don’t suppose we had any likelihood of any resolution going our means. Even the offside when Lacazette put it in seemed very, very tight – once more although, no replays, no traces drawn. Nothing. Watching once more, perhaps it was Xhaka within the build-up.
I don’t wish to maintain happening about it, however the officiating this season is genuinely exhausting. Late within the first half I believed we had been certain to get a penalty when a Cedric shot was blocked by a defender who slid in and whose arm was not simply within the air, however shifting in the direction of the ball when it blocked the try on purpose. Once more, nothing. ‘You’ve seen them given’, certain – simply not for Arsenal.
On prime of that there have been moments after we might and may have completed higher with positions we bought ourselves into. Martin Odegaard, in any other case very good as he glided across the pitch like some type of engineless fixed-wing plane, had an opportunity to shoot along with his proper foot however performed a move to Saka as an alternative. Lacazette had a pop from exterior the field however he had Smith Rowe one facet and Saka the opposite, and may have made a move.
It meant that regardless of 16 makes an attempt on purpose, apparently a season excessive for any workforce within the Premier League this season, we went in 0-0 on the break. On the one hand, our management and dominance was encouraging, however it was onerous not to think about Burnley and our lack of ability to interrupt them down. We had been throwing in plenty of crosses (Cedric made 16 alone within the recreation!), and it felt like we would have liked extra precision, extra craft.
Early within the second half, that’s precisely what we bought when Smith Rowe put us forward. The 20 12 months outdated picked up a move halfway contained in the Brentford half, within the inside-left house, used the overlapping run of Tierney to drive on, lower inside their field, and curl a shot into the again of the web. He mentioned himself afterwards he was a bit shocked the keeper didn’t cease it, however he was rewarded for his endeavour. It seems an increasing number of just like the targets we’re going want should come from the gamers behind our nominal centre-forward, so moments like this are extraordinarily necessary.
It was his tenth of the season, and his rising stature on this workforce was exemplified by this purpose. In our preview podcast on Patreon, I in contrast him a bit to Robert Pires and I don’t imply to heap strain and expectation on him, however without any consideration footed participant able to going both means from the left-hand facet, coupled with common goalscoring potential, it’s onerous not to attract some parallels between the 2.
Needing a second purpose to make the sport protected, Pepe changed Smith Rowe after 75 minutes, and he ought to have had a faucet in if Odegaard had trusted his proper foot a bit extra:
I do know he had a shot from right here and the keeper made a good save, however I feel he ought to have made the move. As I mentioned, the Norwegian was in any other case glorious – that first half pretend-kick dummy was well worth the worth of admission alone – and I don’t say this to be vital per se. We needs to be taking a look at these as teachable moments, the place with higher resolution making we are able to begin to make extra harmful alternatives and turn into extra scientific as a workforce.
Ultimately although, the second purpose got here. Lacazette bought himself between the defender and the ball because it got here into midfield, Partey took it on, performed it to Saka whose shot cracked in off the underside of the far submit to make it 2-0. Completely at least we deserved, and it supplied that sense of consolation I feel we would have liked as followers. After the 1-0 in opposition to Wolves, having a little bit of a cushion was a pleasant feeling, even when their late comfort was a really slight blemish on the scoreline.
The main focus ought to actually be on two distinctive younger gamers who received the sport for us yesterday. If you suppose what it could value you to exit and purchase two 20 12 months olds with that stage of expertise, finish product and maturity at that age, oooof. Stan must pawn his new LA stadium to get anyplace close to it. They gave us what we would have liked yesterday, and stepping up as recreation changers and recreation winners is simply so encouraging as a result of they’re each nonetheless a way from being the completed article. It’s incredible to observe these Hale Finish boys do what each child who comes by means of that Academy goals of.
Afterwards, because the the strains of Smith Rowe and Saka rising above the established order rang out in the background of his press conference, Mikel Arteta mentioned:
Thanks to the supporters once more for the ambiance they created. I perceive they love that tune and all people loves that tune as a result of they’re gamers which have been raised in our system and I’m actually blissful that we’ve gamers that come and take the accountability and so they handle to win video games for us, which is actually spectacular at that age.
For me, the one most necessary factor about yesterday was taking three factors, and we did precisely that. I do fear a bit about our firepower and what occurs if these guys don’t get the targets, however you too can see how we might have made this scoreline far more snug – and I’m selecting to see that as a constructive too.
We talked about 17 cup finals when soccer returned after that little break. It’s two down, 6 factors gained, 15 to go. Onto the subsequent one, Wolves on Thursday.
That’s it for in the present day, extra tomorrow and naturally James and I might be having the time of our lives on the Arsecast Additional too – so please simply us for that. Within the meantime, have an excellent Sunday.