- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds
- Brentford v Arsenal: tackles, fouls, yellow cards and the home v away record
- Brentford v Arsenal: Arsenal take on the club linked to gambling but without an under 21 side
By Bulldog Drummond
In 2020/21 Brentford made it to the semi-final of the League Cup where they lost 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in a single match knockout. Prior to that it has been a long line of exiting in the first, second or third rounds with the quarter-final being reached just three times, with the only progress to the semis being made in 2020/21 as above.
When the League Cup was first launched Arsenal imperiously refused to enter until they were told by the Football League that they were being petulant little boys and they jolly well had to enter or else!
And so under protest, they did enter and in the second and third year of entry got to the final, but then lost. Taking it a bit more seriously later on Arsenal won it in 1987 and 1993 but after that lost interest again, although Arsenal have been runners-up three times more in recent years making it six runners-up positions in this competition. As compared to seven runners-up spots in the FA Cup. Mind you, Arsenal have won the FA Cup more times than anyone else. (14 times if you are interested, compared with Manchester City who have only won it half that number of times. Manchester United have won it 12 times).
Sometimes Arsenal have squad players who get as far as playing in the League Cup, but then no further, and to rub the point in, the Mirror has a piece on seven players whose only Arsenal game came in the League Cup: Rohan Ricketts, Rui Fonte, Chuks Aneke, Daniel Boateng, Kris Olsson, Ismael Bennacer (who it is worth noting since he won the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria and won the Italian League with Milan with whom he still plays. And finally Julio Pleguezuelo.
But I suspect that a similar list can be constructed at all major clubs. However, it is not an issue for Brentford, where injuries seem to be the main talking point. They have lost Rico Henry and Kevin Schade both of whom will be out probably until the end of the year at least.
Also missing are Shandon Baptiste, Ben Mee, Mikkel Damsgaard and Josh Dasilva. Equally unavailable is Ivan Toney who is part way through an eight-month gambling ban, and Neal Maupay who is cup-tied having played for Everton in the second round.
However Arsenal do have a number of first-team players who should welcome a full run out, including the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares and Mohamed Elneny (who will add some seniority and experience to the team, quite possibly taking on the role of captain).
Although apropos the above you might like the note the Daily Mirror commentary today which says “Now Arteta must decide whether to continue to stick with on-loan keeper David Raya.” That may be theoretically possible, because the League Cup regulations don’t have that rule in them about playing on-loan players, but I rather fancy that the on-loan contract for the player had the standard terms in it of not playing Raya against Brentford in the event of them being drawn against each other in either cup.
Which gives us a possible starting line up according to the Mirror of
Cedric, Saliba, Kiwior, Tomiyasu;
Havertz, Elneny, Jorginho;
Nelson, Nketiah, Smith Rowe
Interestingly this is exactly the same line up as Sports Mole offer who predict a 1-2 Arsenal victory.
Pain in the Arsenal however do offer a slightly different team…
Cedric, Walters, Kiwior, Tomiyasu;
Jorginho, Vieira, Havertz;
Nelson, Jesus, Smith Rowe.
As ever we shall see.
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