Thomas Frank has finally steered Brentford to the promised land of the Premier League – and the Bees’ first fixture is against an Arsenal side in a bit of a funk. Check out the latest Premier League betting
Arsene Wenger’s later seasons with the Gunners were viewed as object lessons in underachievement, but in 20 of his 22 years in charge the Frenchman at least ensured his side finished in the top four.
For the last two seasons Arsenal have finished in eighth place under Mikel Arteta; even during Wenger’s final season in 2017-18, the Frenchman’s worst ever, Arsenal still mustered a sixth-place finish.
Perhaps the general woozy state of the world over the last 18 months offers extenuating circumstances for the Gunners’ decline; and truth be told, Arsenal haven’t been awful, exactly.
But Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has gone badly off the boil, with just 10 goals last season – he scored 22 in each of the previous two campaigns.
Auba might be symbolic of Arsenal’s deterioration, but the club’s problems can’t all be explained away by the striker’s failure to reproduce his previous form. Chelsea, Liverpool, even Manchester United – there’s a sense these clubs are at least contenders for Premier League glory this season. Does anyone really see Arsenal in the same light?
The Gunners have undoubtedly lost some lustre in recent years, and it doesn’t seem a stretch to think the fired-up hosts will have a decent chance here. With Arsenal seemingly treading water rather than plotting a course back to former glories, perhaps the promoted side can pull off the upset.
Brentford have won six of their last seven matches. In fairness, Arsenal did finish the previous campaign strongly too, winning their last five league games, including an away victory over Chelsea.
I still think this could be a tricky start for the Gunners, however. Ivan Toney was the top scorer in the Championship with 31 league goals last season, and Toney is 6/1 to find the opener here. Brentford are 3/1 for the win – or you could choose to back Brentford to win & Toney to score any time in an 11/2 wincast.
After this match, Arsenal’s next two league outings are at home to Chelsea and away to Man City; that should certainly be reason enough for Arteta’s side not to be complacent for this opener. Nonetheless, the Bees will be, yep, buzzing for this one – while for Arsenal, that familiar drone of discontent never seems far away…
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