Mikel Arteta's men were soundly beaten 2-0 by their newly promoted opponents, suggesting a long season ahead for the north Londoners
Brentford 2-0 Arsenal: Match Statistics
New season, same old Arsenal!
Shaky at the back, toothless going forward, this all felt very familiar.
With games against Chelsea and Manchester City coming up, Arsenal needed to get off to a good start at Brentford, but instead they have lurched into crisis mode after just 90 minutes of the new season, falling to a 2-0 defeat at their newly promoted hosts.
“Sacked in the morning!” the Brentford fans chanted at Mikel Arteta. Clearly, that will not be the case.
But it won’t be too long before Arsenal’s manager does find himself under real pressure if his side don’t start picking up points.
The spotlight is firmly on Arteta now after back-to-back eighth-placed finishes in the Premier League.
For the past two years, fans have been told to ‘trust the process’. But trust can only last so long if you don’t get anything back in return.
And, as it stands, this Arsenal side looks no different from what we’ve seen time and time again on Arteta’s watch.
Yes, their preparation was far from ideal, with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette having to drop out due to illness, but this is not a time for excuses.
"We had a team that we put out there that were good enough to play the way we want to play and [were] capable of achieving a different result," Arteta said after the game.
The simple fact is that Arsenal have had all summer to prepare themselves for the start of what was always going to be a huge season, yet they have gone into it woefully underprepared.
The creativity problem that plagued them last season has yet to be addressed. Martin Odegaard may well arrive from Real Madrid before deadline day, but by then Arsenal will already be playing catch-up.
With games against Chelsea and Manchester City to come next, there’s every chance they could head into the international break at the end of the month with nothing to show from three games and propping up the Premier League table.
The optimism that a new season brings has been sucked away in an instant and the post-mortem is going to be brutal, such is the level of frustration amongst large swathes of the Arsenal fanbase.
"We are very clear of what we wanted to do, of what our strengths are and where we can improve" Arteta said, when asked if the defeat would prompt some urgency in the transfer market.
"I don’t think this performance shows anything different from what we’ve already seen."
"My focus [now] is with the players that we have, to try to make them play as best as possible and to try to find a way to win football matches."
The big issue for Arteta is, his side look a long way off being capable of winning football matches right now. We saw it in pre-season and we saw it once again on Friday night.
Arsenal may have dominated possession at Brentford and outshot their hosts 22-8, but they deserved exactly what they got: nothing!
From the moment Sergi Canos cut inside Calum Chambers after 22 minutes and whipped a powerful shot past Bernd Leno at his near post, Arsenal never looked like coming back.
Folarin Balogun was handed his Premier League debut in the absence of Aubameyang and Lacazette and was given a harsh lesson in what it takes to lead the front line at senior level.
Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe were either side of the 20-year-old and rarely troubled the Brentford defence during a toothless first hour from the visitors, in which only Emile Smith Rowe looked a threat.
There was a slight improvement after the interval, with the introduction of Bukayo Saka causing problems, but just as it seemed like Arsenal could perhaps find a leveller, Brentford doubled their lead when a long throw-in was headed home by Cristian Norgaard.
It was a shocking goal to concede for Arsenal and one that summed up what was a disastrous first night of what could be a very long season in north London.
They now have just over a week before they welcome reigning European champions Chelsea to Emirates Stadium and they simply must have some new faces on board before that game.
Get the deal done for Odegaard, get a goalkeeper in who can challenge the increasingly hapless looking Leno for the No.1 spot, and try to find a new striker who can add something different to a toothless attack.
Right now, Arsenal are a mess and the summer has done nothing to address the issues that were so apparent last season. They have spent £75m in the transfer market, yet are in worse shape now than they ended last season un.
A second successive eight-placed finish should have been a massive wake-up call, but nothing has changed.
New season, same old Arsenal!
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