Outside of Martinelli’s bizarre double-yellow incident, the past week has gone quite well for the red side of North London. West Ham, Manchester United, and Tottenham all dropped points following Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Wolves. The results see the Gunners in control of their fate with several matches in hand. Three of the next four are at the Emirates, but first, it’s time to repay the Bees for that opening day stumble.
Brentford handed Arsenal a blow to start the season that propelled them into a trio of losses heading into the first international break. The Brentford crowd was electric as they hosted their first Premier League match in their newly built stadium. That night Arsenal was without Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, Thomas Partey, Odegaard, Lacazette, a fully fit Saka or Aubameyang. Saturday offers the chance to not only return the favor but show how far this squad had evolved.
Brentford enters the match in 14th place just seven points clear of the relegation zone. Winless in their last six league matches, the Bees are desperate to pull the double over the Gunners. How might Mikel Arteta line up as they chase down 4th place?
- Eddie Nketiah
- Charlie Patino
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Mohamed Elneny
- Nuno Tavares
- Rob Holding
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Bernd Leno
- Left Out: Arthur Okonkwo.
- Out: Gabriel Martinelli (red card)
- While Martinelli’s double-yellow card is unwanted news for a thin squad, it was probably the only position on the field where Arsenal’s depth doesn’t have a drop-off. Emile Smith Rowe coming in on the left side of the attack for Martinelli is an easy switch and one that won’t change Arteta’s tactics.
- At right-back, Tomiyasu returned to training from his calf injury, but it’s uncertain if his status clears him to start on Saturday or simply make the bench. While every single Arsenal fan wants Tomiyasu back in the starting XI, he was rushed back too quickly last time. Another start for Cedric at the weekend with the plan to start Takehiro against Wolves on the 24th. Perhaps it’s best to play the long game here.
- The other question mark is Kieran Tierney. He wasn’t spotted in training this week. There is no news from the club on his status nor have there been rumors of a new injury. Hopefully, it was a minor personal issue that held him out on Wednesday and he will be available to start. If not, Tavares gets the starting role with perhaps Joel Lopez brought in from the U23s as a backup left-back.
- Bernd Leno appears to have recovered from COVID-19 and should return as the backup keeper.
How to watch
Saturday (2/19) at 10:00 am ET / 7:00 am PT on Peacock Premium.
Arsenal - 2
Brentford - 0