White and Gabriel return for Arsenal in friendly win over Brentford


he international break may have come at a good time for Ben White and Gabriel as both returned from absences on Thursday to help Arsenal beat a young Brentford side 4-0 in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

The defenders have played only one game between them this term, White featuring in the 2-0 defeat by the Bees on the opening night of the season. He has since tested positive for Covid while Gabriel has been recovering from a knee injury.

In their absence, Arsenal have endured their worst start to a season in 67 years, sitting bottom of the Premier League without a goal or a point from three games.

The Gunners face Norwich on September 11 in a clash of the League’s two basement clubs, and White and Gabriel could both feature in the heart of the defence for that game after coming through today’s friendly at London Colney.

They were in a three-man defence and came through unscathed with Gabriel playing for 69 minutes while White played seven more.

Ben White with Ivan Toney in Arsenal’s opening-night defeat by Brentford

/ Getty Images

As well as helping to keep a clean sheet, the Brazilian had an impact at the other end scoring from just inside the area in the 46th minute.

That made it 1-0 and it became two when Alexandre Lacazette curled in a free-kick after a foul on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who failed in his bid to leave the Gunners this week after interest from Everton.

The other two goals both came from Cedric Soares, the second a header from a Nicolas Pepe cross.

Arsenal fielded the bulk of their players not on international duty with summer signing Aaron Ramsdale in goal. There was also some action for 17-year-old midfielder Charlie Patino, who has impressed for the Under-23s, and he came on midway through the first half for Mohamed Elneny.

The Gunners featured five of the players beaten by the Bees in the League while their west London opponents fielded a more youthful side. Yoane Wissa brought out a fine save from Ramsdale while Myles Peart-Harris saw his header skim the Arsenal bar.

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