Painful Arsenal showed familiar frailties as new boys Brentford outplayed and outsmarted the lacklustre Gunners on the Premier League’s big return
Brentford announced themselves to the Premier League in stunning style to leave Arsenal fans once again questioning what’s ahead.
The new-boys – playing in the top flight for the first time since 1947 – outplayed the Gunners, who make a limp and uninspiring start to the new campaign once more.
‘Just a bus stop in Hounslow’ Brentford are no more. Their wheels are in motion, the visitors the ones stuck motionless in first gear.
Sergi Canos rattled the energetic hosts in front after a comedy of errors at the back.
It was all over when Christian Nørgaard made the most of more shambolic Arsenal defending to thunder his header home to secure the points.
Brentford fans taunted the away supporters with chants of ‘you’re going down’ as they sit proudly on top of the fledgling table.
Their team – with just two Premier League appearances between them before tonight – are not here to make up the numbers.
Week one perhaps, but the pressure will already be on Mikel Arteta and he knows it – especially after £50m man Ben White’s debut meltdown.
So poor were his admittedly illness-hit team-mates that they hardly laid a glove on the Championship play-off winners.
But this was the Bees day, the moment their fans never thought possible.
Here’s how both teams’ players rated in west London as the new season opened with plenty of talking points.
David Raya 7
The Bees’ calming influence, you understand why Arsenal are said to be long-time admirers. The Gunners could do a lot worse.
Kristoffer Ajer 7
Says he is living his boyhood dream playing in the Premier League and won’t sleep tonight. Flawless.
Pontus Jansson 7
Playing on through the pain barrier, he didn’t miss a single header. Won’t have many easier games thanks to Arsenal’s blunt forward line.
Ethan Pinnock 8
From Non-League to the Premier League. How about an assist and a clean sheet on your top flight debut?
Sergi Canos 8
While all the talk was of Ivan Toney, the Bees fans know just how critical the Spaniard is going to be to their season. What a way to start.
Frank Onyeka 7
Frank The Tank has a Premier League engine. Lively from the first minutes and covered every inch, giving the Gunners no wiggle room.
Christian Nørgaard 8
The Dane didn’t want a holiday when the club won promotion. It looks like he didn’t put his feet up for a moment. A goal topped it all off. Relentless. MAN OF THE MATCH
Vitaly Janelt 7
Composed and controlling. The German showcased the energy and endeavour Brentford fans have already come to expect.
Rico Henry 7
Didn’t get forward as much as he would have liked but let little go past him. Deserves his place in his fifth season with the club.
Bryan Mbeumo 8
The breathless frontman led the Gunners a merry dance. He kept coming and coming and deserved a goal.
Ivan Toney 7
No goal, but the powerful performance many expected. The Premier League could be his playground with this tempo.
Subs used: Sorensen 7 (Ajer ’70) Bidstrup 6 (Onyeka ’80) Forss 6 (Mbeumo ’85)
Subs not used: Goode, Forss, Wissa, Gunnarsson, Ghoddos, Dervisoglu, Bidstrup, Roerslev
Bernd Leno 5
Get Aaron Ramsdale on the phone. Beaten at his near post, didn’t dominate his box and then an almighty flap from a corner. Painful.
Calum Chambers 5
In or out, his clearance didn’t go far enough for the first. Hardly covered himself in glory at the front post for the clincher.
Ben White 4
This is not how he wanted it all to start. Arguably should have twice cleared before Brentford went ahead and was a total flat-footed mess for the second.
Pablo Mari 6
Not the main defensive culprit by any means but where was the dominance in the six yard box for the Bees’ second goal?
AFP via Getty Images)
Kieran Tierney 6
Never a question about his commitment levels but Brentford’s fortune down wide right was alarming.
Albert Sambi Lokonga 6
Struggled to get a grip of things in the first half but settled after the break. Was this really the game to chuck him in?
Granit Xhaka 5
Which way’s Rome? Improved after the break and remains a key player but the captain didn’t offer anywhere near enough, especially early on.
Nicolas Pépé 6
Started brightly, but didn’t stay the pace. The stage was set for him in the second half but did come closest to scoring.
Emile Smith Rowe 7
While plenty of discussion is about who Arsenal haven’t signed, keeping Smith Rowe – however ambitious Aston Villa’s attempts – was one summer triumph at least.
Gabriel Martinelli 5
Anonymous. A missed opportunity with his usual appetite lacking. Probably stayed on too long.
Folarin Balogun 6
His first Premier League start did offer glimpses of his potential. You see why Arteta was so keen to keep him.
Subs used: Saka 6 (Balogun ’58) Nelson 6 (Martinelli ’70) Tavares 6 (Chambers ’81)
Subs Not Used: Bellerin, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Cedric, Elneny, Hein.