With the postponement of Premier League fixtures, last weekend Arsenal will have had a 14-day pause in between league matches. On the one hand, Mikel Arteta might have wanted the Everton fixture for Arsenal for the chance to quickly bounce back in league play following the defeat at Manchester United. However, the extra time off will help the Gunners’ multiple injuries and offer a chance to reset coming off their first setback of the season. The schedule adjustment means Arsenal is the early match on Sunday (7 am ET / 4 am PT) so set those alarms.
Brentford is off to a great start this season and returns to action sitting 8th in the Premier League. One of the early season standout results across the league was their 4-0 defeat of Manchester United. And before the break, they put five past Leeds in their last match, so the Arsenal defense might be busy as they travel to the Gtech Community Stadium. Brentford has only suffered one defeat in their seven matches this season and that was thanks to a 90th-minute winner from Aleksandar Mitrović.
This will be the 16th time these two sides have met. We are all familiar with last season’s opening day defeat and the 2-1 win in the home fixture. But outside a 2018 League Cup tie, the two clubs hadn’t played each other before Brentford’s promotion since 1947.
- Eddie Nketiah
- Fabio Vieira
- Thomas Partey
- Kieran Tierney
- Rob Holding
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Cedric Soares
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: Reiss Nelson (injury), Emile Smith Rowe (injury), Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- Could Thomas Partey start on Sunday? It sounds like he could. Should he start? No. Last season Arsenal ran into the same issue multiple times over the back half of the year - bringing players back too quickly or for too many minutes and reinjury occurring. Partey, Tierney & Tomiyasu all missed more time because Arsenal played them a bit too much or a bit too soon. Now perhaps Arteta didn’t have any option given last year’s squad, but right now we do. Play Lokonga. He can even play Ben White in midfield and start Tomiyasu at right-back. There is no need to rush Partey back for a match, in September, against Brentford.
- It’s back to the primary XI that saw Arsenal win their opening five matches of the season, minus Thomas Partey. I think Mikel Arteta will want to return with this group to put the mistakes from the United loss behind them. Plus with the international break coming up, it will be ideal to have them playing together before the next match, which is the North London Derby. Nearly an entire month with just one Premier League match.
- Based on Mikel Arteta’s comments in the press conference on Friday it sounds like Elneny, Nelson, and Smith Rowe are the players likely still out for Sunday. Like the situation with Partey, the club needs to sort out the groin issue Smith Rowe is dealing with. Rest him so he has a chance to factor into the match against Tottenham, especially with how impressive Marquinhos looked in his debut against Zurich.
- At right back would you start White or Tomiyasu? Any takers for Cedric? But seriously, even though White’s been quite impressive, is this the best long-term option for the season? When the matches ramp back up to two a week, I’d rather rotate the four center-backs and the same with Tomiyasu and Cedric on the right. There is the risk of overly playing Gabriel or White eventually. For Sunday, it’s a non-issue given the schedule leading into and following the match, but the plan may look different come October. There are nine matches in October!
- And since I don’t often do post-match articles, a quick moment for Marquinhos. In the first few weeks of the season he was electric for the U21s. But that debut against Zurich and that goal. He looks special, and the comparisons to Martinelli will be easy, but Marquinhos looks like Arsenal may have landed another gem and a joy to watch.
How to watch
Sunday (9/18) at 7:00 am ET / 4:00 am PT on the USA Network.
Arsenal - 3
Brentford - 2
Players are rested and looking to respond after the loss to United. Brentford will be at home, with great support and feeling like they have nothing to lose sitting 8th in the league. Both sides will want to attack so I’m expecting an entertaining match.