Arsenal v Brentford
- Arsenal get the ref that doesn’t like home teams
- Arsenal v Brentford: Brentford get the same referee for the 16th time
- The psychological challenge
- Arsenal have the ref who doesn’t like home teams. So what else is new?
This century Arsenal have played Brentford just four times, and one of those games lingers in the memory: the 2-0 defeat on 13 August 2021, when Arsenal were forced to play despite having a significant number of players going down will various illnesses.
The Arsenal team that day was
Pablo Mari Ben White Calum Chambers Kieran Tierney
Granit Xhaka Albert Sambi Lokonga
Emile Smith Rowe Folarin Balogun Gabriel Martinelli Nicolas Pepe
Balogun lasted the hour and was replaced by Saka which might sound ok except Saka who was not fit enough to play the whole game. Nelson replaced Martinelli (who was very much the new kid in the team, and went on to make a total of nine appearances that season) on 71 minutes and Tavares replaced Chambers on 82.
And it is amazing to remember that the defeat to Brentford was just last season when the opening league games for Arsenal were a defeat to them 2-0, a home defeat to Chelsea by the same score, and then a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City.
And it is worth looking back to the league table after those first three games and then looking at the final column on the right where the position after three games this season is given
|Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts||This season after 3|
|1||West Ham U||3||2||1||0||10||5||5||7||20|
|7||Brighton and Hove||3||2||0||1||4||3||1||6||5|
Yes that opening table after three games last season did show that two of the teams who were going to be relegated in the summer of 2022 were already in the relegation zone but by and large it still just shows that a table after three games is meaningless.
Of course, we know that because last season Arsenal recovered from being bottom of the league with no points, and ended up in fifth, but consider this… The top four teams after three games last season (when the media was talking about Arsenal’s utter failure and the need to replace the entire management and quite possibly the team and the ownership) were all in the bottom half of the table after three games this season.
Thus for example, Everton who were fourth after three games finished the season in 16th. This is what happens year after year, but last season the media swooped on Arsenal’s failure in the opening games with a completely reorganised team because of the illness in the squad and the league’s refusal to allow a postponement. No notice was taken of how little the opening games tell us about what is going to happen thereafter.
Anyway, the faith that the Untold team had in Arsenal has been fully repaid, and we are now looking for further progress.
The top of the league shows that even with a defeat for us and success for others (which of course is hardly what we have in mind for the weekend) Arsenal will still be top.
But what makes this particularly exciting at the moment is not so much the current league table but the league table just taking into account the last six games. I know we’ve been mentioning and publishing this a lot of late but I do think it is worth one more look. Here’s the top six – the positions of course that everyone fights over in order to make it into Europe.
For the last six games the top six positions are
|2||Brighton & H||6||4||1||1||15||8||7||13|
And you will notice a certain amount of absence of the highly tipped clubs who were going to come into their own this season. Clubs such as Newcastle United, Tottenham Hots, Liverpool, and Chelsea. Not there after three.
Even the eternally praised (at least until the League started to sue them) Manchester City are down in sixth. And Brentford, the opposition today, are top of the league, and undoubtedly feeling very full of confidence.
But maybe we shouldn’t tell the media. It will spoil their story.
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate