5 Things We Can Learn From Brentford v Arsenal
Arsenal’s campaign started with a disastrous defeat to newly-promoted side Brentford with goals from winger Sergi Canos beating Bernd Leno arguably too easily and a defensive calamity leading to Christian Nørgaard heading it into an open net.
Here are five things we learned from the opener defeat and what although it may seem impossible right now, needs to be achieved to get right on track:
Sort out the defensive high line and if it isn’t working scrap it
A key problem that nearly anyone can identify when watching Arsenal play last night was that the defensive method where Mari and White are higher up the pitch to deploy an offside trap or win the ball back early to stop a counter-attack does not work. Although it works for other clubs, Pablo Mari lacks the pace to track back quick enough and Ben White was playing only his second game for the team in this complicated and ineffective system. Either work it out in countless training sessions before Manchester City which almost has a 2% chance of working, or scrap it and play defensively and play to our strengths- if we do have any at least.
Give the young players time to develop
Yes, Folarin Balogun failed to find the net in his professional Premier League debut. But yes, he was given a chance unexpectedly due to star players, whether they are ill or have done something due to misconduct, or whatever their scenario is has affected the game plan heavily. Gabriel Martinelli was thrown into Premier League football immediately after returning home from Tokyo with a gold medal in the Olympics with Brazil. Game one was poor for the Arsenal, no doubt at all about that one, but with a starting XI reportedly at an average age of 24, we should surely give them a tiny bit of time to ease into things. But it is the Premier League, one of the world’s most coveted leagues and if they aren’t performing at the spot, maybe the team isn’t as ready as it said it was.
Don’t exploit Ben White immediately
The £50m man had a nightmarish start. It’s what happens when the backbone of the team lies on one soul. The soul crumbles and that is a prime example of what happened last night. Ben White had a target to set and didn’t prove it yesterday against the Bees. Fans are beginning to write him off already, and that is simply unacceptable. I think Mari needs to be rotated for Holding or even Chambers at CB, but it’s an acceptable mistake because in preseason Pablo did marginally play better than the other CBs in contention for a spot. The team is just crying out for the return of Gabriel Magalhāes from his knee injury.
Sign a creative midfielder and striker immediately
Emile Smith-Rowe was easily one of Arsenal’s few good players on the pitch. But playing on the left and no.10 at the same time can only be done by a few of the world’s most elite players, and it just didn’t work out in the way it could’ve against the Bees. Emile needs to be utilised on the left meaning we need to pen down a new attacking midfielder. Rumours of Houssem Aouar on a loan deal with an obligation to buy, the return of Martin Ødegaard permanently for around £34m, or the long-awaited and talked about James Maddison deal for an excess of £60m. One of these needs to be done before August 31, so we have a chance of scoring some goals. We also need a striker. Whether it’s Aubameyang regaining confidence which he has seemed to completely lose or someone like Tammy Abraham who was strongly linked and lost out to Mourinho’s AS Roma with that deal. An attacking midfielder and a striker are needed to sort of reformat the team in the right direction.
Take more shots when given the chance to
The final point is so important. So many passes were flooded into Calum Chambers and Kieran Tierney on the alternative sides and were relayed into the attackers, who just struggled to get their shot off. When given the chance the players need to shoot, they need to shake their nerves off and get some shots on target. Even the midfield like Granit Xhaka who is known to rarely have a belter in him from long range at times. If we are to score some goals, optimism is needed at one point and it really should be starting right away.
Well, that’s the five points we can try to take away from that game that all Arsenal fans would like to forget already. I’ve tried to remain positive, so here’s to some optimism and ambition before we play the Champions League winners Chelsea on Sunday. The team we beat last season at the Emirates, if that helps at least.