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;
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;
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…
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.
- Arsenal transfers: Gnabry return, White a disaster, Martinez a loss?
- Why do journalists get so fixated on scoring in double figures?
- Buying players does not mean success as last season shows…
- All change with PGMO and the refs.. But what change?
- The last five years proves one big thing: nothing is guaranteed.