Brentford v Arsenal: the problem at the ground and the London derby run



By Bulldog Drummond

As we saw in the last article, from the historical perspective, Brentford, having been Arsenal’s bogey team of the 1930s, are not really at the same level as they were 90 years ago.   And the problem for Brentford is clear to see: the capacity of the ground is only 17,250.

Mind you that is not the smallest ground in the Premier League.  Kenilworth Road in Luton has a capacity of 10,356 while Bournemouth’s ground has an 11,379 capacity.

The Griffin Park ground was shared with London Irish, a rugby team, until that club was last season issued with a winding-up order by HMRC (the UK’s tax overlords) for having failed to pay a tax bill.   The club then failed to show the rugby Premiership (as the league is known) that it could pay its staff and so they were kicked out of professional rugby.

Actually, that was not a unique event in the world of rugby, although when I occasionally catch bits of rugby news on the radio it seems that the problems the game has are by and large being passed by.  Yet Worcester Warriors and Wasps have also gone, while Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs are, according to some who know a bit about the game, hovering near the edge.  I suppose that’s what you get for legalising handball and forcing people like me to play the game at school when we didn’t want to.

So I assume that no rugby is now played at Brentford’s stadium.  Which must be good news for the grass, but bad news for Brentford FC who are no longer getting rent from London Irish.

But moving on, a look at Brentford in London derbies is interesting in that they are unbeaten, having played five all-London league games this season, beating Fulham, Chelsea and West Ham, and drawing with Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

Arsenal have only played four London derbies in the league this season, beating Palace, but then drawing with Fulham, Tottenham and Chelsea.  So two unbeaten sides in London matches – that might herald a draw, but I hope not.

There are seven London teams in the Premier League this season, meaning that just under one-third of all the league games that London clubs play are against other London clubs – meaning how London clubs do against each other has a major impact on where they end up in the league.

Here’s how the London clubs are currently doing in the league….

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Arsenal 12 8 3 1 26 10 16 27
4 Tottenham Hotspur 12 8 2 2 24 15 9 26
9 West Ham United 12 5 2 5 21 22 -1 17
10 Chelsea 12 4 4 4 21 16 5 16
11 Brentford 12 4 4 4 19 17 2 16
13 Crystal Palace 12 4 3 5 12 16 -4 15
15 Fulham 12 3 3 6 10 20 -10 12


Tottenham we may note in passing, have played five London games this season, winning two, drawing two and losing one of their London matches.

As for Brentford, the last time they lost against a fellow-London team, as far as I can see was on 18 September last year when Arsenal beat them at Griffin Park 0-3.   Since then their results against London teams have been very positive.   Wins against West Ham, Fulham, Chelsea, West Ham (again) and Tottenham Hotspur, plus draws with Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Palace.

This season it has been wins against Fulham, Chelsea and West Ham, with draws against Tottenham and Palace.

So what is it that makes them get such good results against London teams while being a mid-table team overall?

Sometimes these results come up as statistical quirks and nothing else, and over a longer period they will even out, but the fact is Brentford have not been defeated in their last 14 all-London league games since Arsenal easily overran them last year. 

On the other hand, Arsenal have not exactly been knocked about by other London-based teams either. In fact, Arsenal became the first-ever team in the history of the League to win five consecutive London derbies away from home without conceding a goal.

So although it might seem a bit disappointing that Arsenal have won only one of the London derbies this season and drawn the rest, we should perhaps remember that Arsenal are unbeaten in a London derby game since 12 May 2022.   Last season the results were 10 wins and two draws.

More anon…

One Reply to “Brentford v Arsenal: the problem at the ground and the London derby run”

  1. OK I know it’s pedantic and not very important (except to Brentford supporters) but surely Brentford left Griffin Park in 2020? They moved about a mile to the G-Tech Community Stadium (aka the Brentford Community Stadium).

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