Brentford v Arsenal: the team prediction and the first game defeat syndrome

By Bulldog Drummond

Now here is a thing: Alexandre Lacazette is the only player in history to score the opening goal of the Premier League season on two separate occasions.

I have to thank the BBC for that one.  He did it in both 2017-18 in two mins against Leicester and 2020-21 and in nine minutes against Fulham.  Pretty clever stuff if you ask me.

On the BBC site Mark Lawrenson says, speaking of Brentford, “I fancy them to get something out of this one, because they are at home and in front of their fans, and we also don’t know what to expect from Arsenal yet, in terms of form or how their fitness will compare with the Bees.”

In terms of the team they also note “Arsenal’s summer recruits Ben White, Albert Lokonga and Nuno Tavares are in contention to make their debuts.”

So what of the teams I hear you cry, (or would do if I had the sound turned on).

Well the Independent is off the mark with


Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney;

Xhaka, Lokonga;

Pepe, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang;


It is of course possible that Saka, still recovering from having to play for England-in-Chaos as the nation’s team ought to be renamed, could be on the beach.  They also make Arsenal the favourites to win: citing odds of

  • Brentford – 16/5
  • Draw – 13/5
  • Arsenal – 5/6

5/6 hardly makes it worth placing a bet.

The Evening Standard however do have Saka playing right from the start – and they cunningly reverse the positions of Xhaka and Lokonga in the defensive midfield.


Chambers, White, Mari, Tierney;

Lokonga, Xhaka;

Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka;


That would seem awfully unfair on Lacazette who would might well lost the chance to get the first goal of the Premier League season three times (already holding the record of course with two).

Sports Mole point out (in case we had not noticed, which in fact we hadn’t, not being of a suspicious nature, that it is Friday 13th, and then speak of the club as the fans’ “beloved Brentford.”  Does anyone speak of the fans “beloved Arsenal”?  I don’t think they do.  The rampant negativity dominates everything, particularly the choice of language.

They also have the line “Goalkeeper David Raya – previously linked with Arsenal – will be barking orders from the penalty box,” which is ok, except you could say “previously linked with Arsenal” about every single goalkeeper in the known universe.  And a few from Ursa Minor as well.

They go with the same line up as the Independent.

MadaboutEPL takes the Independent’s line and thus has no Saka and a Lacazette in the line up while the Hard Tackle offers us a bit of variation by calling Lokonga, Sambi.

Football.London have failed to give us a team prediction – at least by midday on the day of the game, but they did intriguingly say, “No London side has ever won their first Premier League match.”

That is of course absolute nonsense, and just about what we expect from the increasingly bonkers FoLo.  Arsenal did indeed lose their first Premier League match on 15 August 1992, 2-4 at home to Norwich City, and then even worse lost their second even Premier League match away to Blackburn 1-0.

That left the bottom of the league looking like this…

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
16 Chelsea 2 0 1 1 2 3 -1 1
17 Manchester City 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1
18 Southampton 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1
19 Tottenham Hotspur 2 0 1 1 0 2 -2 1
20 Wimbledon 2 0 0 2 1 3 -2 0
21 Arsenal 2 0 0 2 2 5 -3 0
22 Manchester United 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0

All we can say is thank goodness we weren’t bottom.  Well done Man U.   And that is not sarcasm because Manchester United won the League that season, ten points clear of Aston Villa.  Arsenal came in 10th.

However in correcting the errors of FoLo we should note that Coventry City won their first Premier League match beating Middlesbrough  2-1.  Leeds and Sheffield United also won their first games as did Nottingham Forest.  I really don’t know where FoLo get their statisticians from!

Back with the line ups (or should that be lines up, I’m never quite sure) I haven’t seen another other variations, so I suspect by and large everyone is going for that selection.

So off we go.  Hope for the best and beware the referees.





37 Replies to “Brentford v Arsenal: the team prediction and the first game defeat syndrome”

  1. Sky sports news report that both Lacca and Auba are out for tonight. Is Gabby Martinez fit?

  2. Martinez has certainly been seen in training, but how far along the fitness road he is after returning from Tokyo I don’t know.
    If we really have lost Lacazette, Auba, Martinez and Eddie, we’ve still got Balogun, Pepe and??? Saka can play everywhere can’t he

  3. Hey don’t wish you well in the league but hopefully everyone will remain safe and healthy

    When we go to Chelsea we drive along the M4/A4 and look down on Brentford’s new stadium . It’s very compact but I have to be honest I am pleased we aren’t playing against them at a new stadium for the first game of the season.

  4. Sorry Mick, this pesky device changed Martinelli to Martinez. My mistake. Gabby Martinez (whoever he is) is probably the next player we’re going to be linked to and then pipped at the post for.

  5. It’s the new season and guess what? We have to put up with Gary (the Ugly Sister) Neville and Cara the vocal genius as commentators.

    Joe Willock has been sold for £20million plus to Newcastle. It was a good deal for the player and allows the club some funds to help purchase of the midfielder we want.

    Our squad is short of some top raters due to illness but our squad play as one.

    The idjuts that commentate are up their own arsenals and will talk a good game against us. Arsenal are a squad that play quality football despite the slope that PGMOL put on the pitch.

    This is our league to win and we should approach it like the quality we are.

  6. Maybe we could bring Martinez back from villa and play him upfront? Sure I read that somewhere.

  7. Hi everyone welcome back Remember when I said on Untold swap Grealish for Ozil and give them £30 mil and you all laughed. Well hell who called that one right. Me !!

  8. Balogun had his arm struck/hit by a defender as he went to shoot. Clear penalty…no call. No comment by the commentators,either.

  9. Right don’t panic everyone. 2nd half we will improve. Yes we underestimated the opposition and now they have something to really fight for. Bench well hey Bet Saka comes on. Money on a draw

  10. Neville says a light touch is not a penalty and obviously a grown man spun on his feet is a light touch.
    No VAR check? is it operating or has someone forgotten to switch it on?

  11. Is the officiating anything to do with Mike Riley being in the stands rather than Stockley Park tonight?

  12. goal conceded on a long throw…I guess pushing against the keeper is allowed. But…should have done better. Too bad because we have been on the front foot for the last 20 minutes.

  13. Yes our poor defending and ineffective forward play is entirely due to biased officiating. Not what I am seeing. Disappointing. Team is not good enough in defence or attack. To beat a pumped up championship team.

  14. Sorry guys one to forget Not good But a team with talent undoubtedly we will get going I’m sure
    Hopefully a wake up call , no cups this year but as Untold would say get behind the team and give them all the support you can

  15. Well…full value to Brentford for their victory. A few lucky calls but they earned it. As for us…we did almost nothing the first half and with any luck might have scored in the second half. IMO, we are still rather light in the midfield. I think they were bigger and stronger (though not dirty) than us on the ball and we weren’t big enough to deal with it nor technical enough to go around it.

  16. Just remember this is what football should be all about The little team wins and the fans rejoice and have a special night I’m gutted but we have won everything and I’ve been there to see it on many of those occasions. We will bounce back I’m sure When you knows , but for sure not soon .

  17. Going

    I personally thought their second goal should have been disallowed but the6 were stronger, better coached and without doubt better prepared

    ESR and Tierney apart that team was a pale shadow of the Arsenal teams o& the past. You lack a leader on the field

    It’s a long season so see what happens in the first third of the season makes no difference!

  18. I so the replay on their 2nd Goal, Leno was being held by one of their players by traping his hands behind his, away from the ref’s view. VAR is not being used because it’s a foul against Arsenal.
    Now If the refs did the same with Man City Players, The FA would be trouble with a law suit

  19. Our Attack have not played together, it was newly put in, 3 new players, takes time for the teams to gel. The defence had only one preseason game playing together. But I still don;t know why we don’t have our forward on the half way line for a counter attack when defending.Pepe & martenelli should have been there ready for ball relaeses

  20. All in all an excellent night for everyone apart from anyone who works for or who supports Arsenal of course.

    1 The PIGMOB officials engineered the result they wanted for their watching boss Riley (who looks even more like a rat than he used to).
    2 VAR worked perfectly, ignoring the ball being out of play in the build up for the first goal and Leno being pinned to the ground by the Brentford centre back
    rendering him helpless to make any attempt to get to the ball for the second goal. The penalty claim of course was dismissed as this season gentle contact
    is to be permitted to discourage players going down too easily, despite Balogun being totally wiped out by the Brentford defenders follow through.
    3 The Sky TV got the spectacle and drama they craved, tiny, plucky Brentford overcoming the might of Arsenal.
    4 The media of course now have an endless amount of ammunition with which to flog us with. Talk Sport ably led by Adrian Durham can have a field day for the foreseeable
    5 The expert pundits, unable to hide their joy, had a field day, especially Jamie Carragher who was able to poke fun and make jokes about Arsenal with Neville giggling
    in the background.
    6 The watching millions on TV, most of them supporters of other clubs, loving every minute of it, and laughing at Carragher’s childish anti Arsenal insults.

    What a fantastic start to the season.

  21. The only question that needs answering is: were the officials really that incompetent, in which case they will obviously be sanctioned, or did they deliberately cheat, in which case they’ll be allowed to officiate again next week? Let’s see.

  22. Mick Shelley, get over it.

    Blaming everyone but Arsenal takes away from Brentford who actually put in the shift to ensure a result.

    It’s a promoted team. If Arsenal were as good as they are supposed to be, it shouldn’t have been a contest.

    Given Key players were missing and the likes of Saka were short of march fitness, we wait for next game to assess the team.

  23. @ Jack

    “Brentford who actually put in the shift to ensure a result”.

    OK, that’ll be why they had 35% possession and only 8 of the 30 shots in the game.

  24. A promoted team against a team that is gunning for Champions League football, and you are here highlighting some useless statistics.

    Arteta himself admitted they deserved the victory.

    Mikey, if you thought defending was easy, try Arsenal.

    If those running the club have your mindset the club would be stuck in a rut forever.

    You have to admit when you have not done enough, hold your head high and say next time. You have to assess your weaknesses, accept them then build on them.

    When you blame everyone else other than yourself for your failings you can’t improve.

  25. Wow ,with the coming fixtures and being on the bottom of the table, with the PGMOL on our case like all seasons and no goal to count for, with our coach “we did what we had to do” we are in for a rough ride.
    It’s so early but mark my words we are going to be fighting for relegation for some good times.
    There players who give you a headache (Adams,Anelka)as a coach but sometimes you look away.
    The best goalkeeper in Copa America and the midfield general will haunt as for a while.

  26. That was the worst refereeing performance I have ever seen from Oliver. When he arrived in the Premier League, he showed a lot of potential. Sadly, that was a false expectation on my part.

    The Balogun penalty incident was quite obvious, but the EPL have got what they want. VAR is not there to arrive at the correct decision.

    The ball may have been out of play for the first Brentford goal. Is goal-line technology even a thing any more?

    Oliver was letting Brentford steal up to 15 yards at throw-ins, and not enforcing the 10-yard rule at Arsenal free-kicks, which caused us to lose possession at least once.

    The second Brentford goal should have been disallowed for the foul on Leno (who was unable to move due to being held by a Brentford player). It happened again a little later and Oliver again “failed to see it”.

    Oliver, Dean and Riley all being in the stadium was a warning sign.

    This league has nothing to do with sport.

    The rules of the game are being broken, and not only by the players.

  27. @ Jack

    Just to re-emphasise the irrationality of your argument, you will note that to date (matches up to and including all of Saturday’s games) the team which has had the most shots is Arsenal. Bearing in mind, we managed that without our three first choice strikers and our key midfielder, I think you really need to get some perspective. Constant negativity and criticism helps nobody.

    @ seismic

    Spot on.

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