Brentford Preview: Holding On To A First Team Place

There’s an Arsenal Stadium Mystery pun waiting to be written in tomorrow’s headline. Something involving Trojans, or maybe a play on Leonard Grimble? Had Sokratis or Mavropanos been fit, it was a chance to show off with a pun on the classics; maybe the referee will be Homer? Oh, I forgot, there is a conspiracy by PGMOL against us so that can’t happen.

Brentford arrive for the Carabao Cup 3rd round tie, in a match Unai Emery made clear will feature a second string XI. Pretty much, I’d expect the back four to be the one which faced Vorskla last week with Mustafi in for Sokratis.

We don’t have many options at the back currently. Injuries are wreaking a touch of havoc this week and with Emery making it clear Rob Holding is playing, I’d be very surprised if any of the youngsters were promoted for tonight’s game.

The Spaniard encouraged Holding to take his chance.

We need every player when chances and opportunities come because we need to also take more players to play. Like on Sunday, for example, after Sokratis’ injury it was important how [Rob] played and helped the team to find the performance to win against Everton.

[Brentford] is also a good opportunity for Holding to continue taking confidence, taking minutes and taking also our ideas of playing and I want to look at him also with our best performance, staying in the first XI.

Unai Emery wants to give youth a chance

It’s easy to question the wisdom of sending Calum Chambers to Fulham at moments like this. However, when the weekend comes and everyone is miraculously fit, he’d just be sitting on the bench with criticism raining in on the club for not getting shot of him on loan during the summer.

Giving Chances and Opportunities

There’s a chance of Sead Kolasinac returning to the XI after he returned to training. We’ve played Nacho Monreal out of necessity in every match since the Bosnian suffered his injury. I don’t think he’d have played in the Premier League but certainly against Vorskla. Is tonight too soon? Returning to full training is one thing, being match ready is quite another.

He’s one of a number of players Emery had in mind (I should think) who he had in mind when he spoke about the type of XI being fielded this evening.

Against Brentford, I am going to prepare the best performance for us, but I’ll be giving chances and opportunities to the players who are playing less in the competition. Also maybe the young players can have opportunities to play in this game if I think it’s the best for us to give them this opportunity of starting in the first XI, but the first thing about the best performance is thinking about winning.

Unai Emery – Everyone needs to be ready when opportunity knocks

It’s pretty much the philosophy we’re used to but last night’s match at Old Trafford carries the warning for Premier League teams. The Championship isn’t as far behind in ability as you think.

But I’m not going to let that stop me from giggling like a young child at United’s misfortune. Excuse me for one moment.

I needed that. There’s nothing so funny as watching Mourinho’s third season syndrome unfurl before your eyes. OK, listening to Mauricio Pochettino tell the world Tottenham need to win trophies to be considered a big club; that’s as funny. Or that they will be in their new stadium by Christmas.  The gifts that keep on giving: all I want for Christmas are me two front seats…

Mystery Guessed

Which brings us to this evening’s starting line-up. Hazarding a guess is a tricky business but…

Leno; Lichtsteiner, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Elneny; Willock, Smith-Rowe, Welbeck; Nketiah

…works for me.

A reminder to those hardy souls attending to check on the travel information due to disruption on the tubes.

Finally, to the prizewinners of the Alan Smith book. The books are now received at ACLF Towers so will be sent out this week.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

47 thoughts on “Brentford Preview: Holding On To A First Team Place

  1. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Great post YW. Yep project fringe tonight and looking forward to a stern test depending on how seriously Brentford take this competition. I hope they see it as a chance to have a bit of a cup run and ascertain their Premier league credentials. If so we should have a game on our hands. But still I can’t see us losing. Looking forward to how Unai prepares the team for this one and how those fringe/youth player’s step up (or fail miserably!)

  2. Michael says:

    Morning all
    It’s good to see the youngsters get a chance, watching them in a cup team gives us another chance to see them strut their stuff.
    Quite an aggressive team you forecast, lets hope it all goes to plan.

  3. Danny says:

    Carrot dangled – Just be half as bad as Mustafi and you can displace him.

    Least that’s what I hope he meant. Appreciate pure speculation, but Sokratis might prefer outright guiding a rookie centre half through the game to extinguishing the seasoned Mustafi madness.

  4. C says:

    Good preview and I think we can all have a good chuckle at Manure and Mourinho.

    Yup, I want to see those who are fighting for mins. I do wonder if we will see one of Ramsey or Iwobi. If no Sead then I hope Bola gets the nod to give Nacho a rest.

    Also, the retun of Nico Yennaris.

  5. C says:

    If Sead is out, I would like to see:


  6. YW says:


    C – I wouldn’t play Nketiah on the right; Welbeck is a stronger player and more disciplined in tracking back.

  7. C says:


    Nketiah and Welbeck would be interchangeable. Personally I would prefer the same as I also think Nketiah is a morw natural finisher and goal scorer.

  8. C says:

    Team news is in:

    Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Ramsey, Lacazette, Torreira, Kolasinac, Nketiah

  9. C says:

    Time to go…this could be an open affair with Brentford a team that likes to play and not sit back and play on the counter.

  10. C says:

    Former U23 Arsenal academy product Nico Yennaris Captains Brentford and at 25 years old looks to set the tempo in midfield.

  11. Adam Singh says:

    Must be catching. Leno nearly kicked the ball into his own net then 😂

  12. Adam Singh says:

    Welbeck! He’s definitely improved since Emery came in.

  13. C says:

    Really good cross from Guendouzi and Welbeck with a lovely header and 1-0!!!!

  14. C says:

    Lovely ball over the top by Elneny to Smith-Rowe who gets in but the Brentford defender does superbly or that was a goal.

  15. lari03 says:

    Welbz seems to be having his breakthrough season.

  16. C says:

    Haha even with VAR Mike Dean wouldn’t give us a penalty when Iwobi got his legs taken and the defender got none of the ball

  17. C says:

    Adam Singh,


    I like Welbeck as much as the next, but lets hold off a bit shall we 😂.

    I’ll say this, having him as CF3 is superb though could he could moat certainly lead the line in the early FA, Carabou Cup and Europa League fixtures.

  18. C says:

    Haha well that was a bullshit yellow.

  19. C says:

    Lichsteiner and Elneny having a go at each other because Elneny made the run into space and Lichtsteiner looked him off.

  20. C says:

    That is a BRILLIANT team goal and Welbeck with the first half brace.

  21. Woolwich Freddie says:

    So…Petr Cech on Saturday?

  22. lari03 says:

    Let’s see if he can grab a hat trick.

  23. C says:

    Guendouzi dictating play buzzing aboud with Elneny sitting

  24. C says:

    For all the good, that is a atupid foul by Guendouzi especially as there was no danger.

  25. C says:

    Brentford with a superb free kick striked goal. Guendouzi with a stupid foul that Leno had no chance at stopping.

  26. C says:

    Have to say, just watching it on my laptop at work, its really good hearing Brentford signing and then Gooners signing louder.

    Bloodie hell, its like we can’t complete a pass now

  27. C says:

    Welbeck looking stunned but that was a really wild challenge.

    Lacazette on for Smith Rowe, pushing Welbeck to thr RW, Mhkitaryan to the #10

  28. Opus says:

    We need to know how to kill games and close shop. If we continue slipping in goals like this, it’s terrible and big teams will capitalize on it.

  29. C says:

    Mhkitaryan coming off and Torriera coming on. A midfield of Guendouzi, Torriera, Elneny will certainly close out the match.

  30. C says:

    Really good take there by Leno with the Brentford player bearing down waiting for a rebound

  31. C says:

    Well done to Brentford for having a real go and putting our defense on its heels

  32. C says:

    WTF was Ramsey doing there almost gifted them Xhaka style.

  33. Opus says:

    And it’s a wrap for the gunners…3:1

  34. C says:

    Lacazette hussles and wins it back, tells Ramsey to get the fuck out his way and Lacazette passes it sweetly into the far post.

    3-1 , job done and full credit to Brentford who put in a good performance

  35. MesutsLeftFoot says:


    Indeed. Good performance from us too. Liking welbeck and iwobi so far when played

  36. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Hilariously, Watford have just equalized against the Spuds with 10 men.

  37. C says:


    Yup, Welbeck is exactly what we need as a CF3, capable of scoring from time to time but can lead the line in these matches or play with Nketiah. Iwobi looks confident.

    Shame no clean sheet off a needless foul from Guendouzi that Leno had absolutely no chance of saving.

  38. Adam Singh says:

    Good win today. Keeps up the momentum. I think both Iwobi and Miki are pushing hard to start on the weekend for Ramsey. Iwobi especially, he provides genuine width and looks on form at the moment.

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