Goals in either half from Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard saw Brentford claim all three points in their first-ever Premier League fixture. The Bees defeated London rivals Arsenal 2-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium on Friday evening to kick off the new league season on an enthralling note.
Having initially ceded the majority of the possession to their opponents, Brentford only started to click into gear midway through the first half. After fashioning a couple of decent chances, the Bees took a well-deserved lead in the 22nd minute. Bernd Leno was caught out at his near post by Canos’ fine drilled finish into the bottom corner as the Spaniard registered Brentford’s first-ever Premier League goal.
Trailing 1-0 at half-time, the Gunners began the second half with renewed intensity but failed to properly test the Brentford goal. They were duly punished for their profligacy in the 73rd minute when the hosts doubled their lead. A long throw-in from the left wing caught the Arsenal defense cold, allowing Norgaard to ghost in and head home at the back post.
Despite the best efforts of Mikel Arteta and his men, the Brentford defense proved too resolute to break down. The final whistle sparked jubilant celebrations as home fans and players savored the side’s first Premier League win together after a long while spent playing in empty stadiums.
On that note, here are the 5 major talking points from the game.
#1 Brentford write the first chapter of their Premier League journey in style
History was due to be made at the Brentford Community Stadium before a ball was kicked as Brentford became the 50th different team to play in the Premier League. And, even though their first game was against a much more storeyed opponent and a London rival to boot, they made sure it was a game to remember.
The last time these two sides faced off in the league was more than 74 years ago when the Gunners ran out 1-0 winners over the Bees at Griffin Park in May 1947. This time around, however, Thomas Frank’s men became just the 12th ‘new’ side to win their Premier League opener and the first outfit from the capital to do so.
#2 Arsenal hit hard by injury woes
Arsenal’s pre-match preparations took a big hit well before kick-off, with skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and strike partner Alexandre Lacazette being ruled out of the game as they took unwell.
Joining the experienced forwards on the treatment table were young striker Eddie Nketiah, midfielder Thomas Partey, and defender Gabriel Magalhaes, all of whom featured regularly for the Gunners last season.
With limited options to choose from, Arteta handed full debuts to Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Folarin Balogun in the Gunners’ new-look lineup.
The lack of an experienced striker leading the line really seemed to affect Arsenal’s gameplay as they displayed some attractive approach play but were far from clinical in front of goal.