Thursday, September 23

Key takeaways from Arsenal’s closed-door win over Brentford

A system change, the White-Gabriel combo, the AMN track and more: key takeaways from Arsenal's closed-door beating of Brentford

Arsenal finally got their first win of the season this afternoon, albeit in a closed-door meeting with Thomas Frank’s Brentford.

Cedric in the double

On the back of a gloomy opening for the new campaign, and with a host of its key artists out of service internationally with their countries, Mikel Arteta evidently thought it a good idea to assure those who remain in North London a competitive race on Thursday. .

In turn, the Gunners welcomed capital rivals Brentford in London Colney for a friendly showdown.

To be sure, Arsenal still had memories of their heartbreaking defeat on the opening day of the Premier League at the hands of the Bees still fresh in their memory, with a slice of revenge on the menu.

A system change, the White-Gabriel combo, the AMN track and more: key takeaways from Arsenal's closed-door beating of Brentford

BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – AUGUST 13: Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe and Albert Sambi Lokonga appear dejected after conceding their second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford and Arsenal at Brentford Community Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill / Getty Images)

And, when all was said and done this afternoon, securing a long-standing positive result is precisely what the hosts achieved.

A commanding display, during which Arteta’s men looked comfortable throughout, finally culminated in a final score of 4-0.

The return of Gabriel Magalhaes opened the scoring early in the second half, before Alexandre Lacazette made it two thanks to a rare free kick shortly after.

But the surprise star of the day was Cedric Soares, who managed to score a good double at the end, adding some sparkle to the scoreboard in the process.

AMN in midfield, promise of Gabriel-White

So what should the Arsenal faithful keep in mind on the back of their team’s closed-door outing?

Well, perhaps the most remarkable thing was a system change by Mikel Arteta. The Gunners, of course, have gone for a back-4 at this point in the season, a setup that has proven far from fruitful thus far.

However, facing Brentford, Arteta opted to return to a 3-man central defensive unit, complete with Pablo Mari, the addition of Summer Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes, fresh from a spell on the sidelines.

The North Londoners’ clean sheet, even in a friendly outing, will no doubt be seen as a platform to build on, particularly with White and Gabriel expected to form the partnership at the heart of Arsenal’s bottom line. during the next season.

Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsdale was too deep in early on and seemed relatively calm en route to his first shutout in club colors.

A system change, the White-Gabriel combo, the AMN track and more: key takeaways from Arsenal's closed-door beating of Brentford

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 7: Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale displays his Adidas Predator gloves during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield on March 7, 2020 in Liverpool, UK. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole / Offside / Offside via Getty Images)

Elsewhere, further up the field, Ainsley Maitland-Niles had another chance to impress in the middle of the park.

The issue of the versatile future of England international Maitland-Niles, of course, loomed large in the final days of the transfer window, as the 24-year-old made clear his desire to move on.

In the end, however, Mikel Arteta managed to convince AMN to stay put for the next season, based on an apparent warranty when it comes to playing time.

This afternoon, as was shown at times during the preseason, the Gunners’ youth product was used in a midfield spot, the same role that Maitland-Niles assumed when he was at West Bromwich Albion last season.

With Arteta’s squad far from being chock-full of options in the middle of the park, could ‘Mainsley’ be in line for a more central role in the coming months?

A system change, the White-Gabriel combo, the AMN track and more: key takeaways from Arsenal's closed-door beating of Brentford

West Bromwich Albion’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles during the Premier League match at the Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture date: Sunday, February 14, 2021 (Photo by Nick Potts / PA Images via Getty Images)

Elsewhere, as far as Arsenal’s midfield ranks are concerned, another troubling development occurred in the form of Mohamed Elneny’s early departure from proceedings.

While it is unclear if he had a fitness issue, the Egyptian lasted just over half an hour before being taken off the pitch.

This comes with Thomas Partey already out with injury, and Granit Xhaka suspended for the Gunners’ next three games.

However, on a more encouraging note, 17-year-old talent Charlie Patino, featured in Elneny’s place, once again impressed viewers at London Colney.

In the midst of such a difficult season opener, everyone associated with Arsenal must take the positives when they arrive.

And today’s 90 minutes, despite being friendly, have certainly been cause for optimism.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Tottenham Hotspur 3 3 9
2 West Ham United 3 5 7
3 United manchester 3 5 7
4 Chelsea Football Club 3 5 7
5 Liverpool FC 3 5 7
6 Everton FC 3 4 7
7 Manchester city 3 9 6
8 Brighton and Hove Albion 3 1 6
9 Leicester City 3 -1 6
10 Brentford fc 3 2 5
eleven Aston Villa 3 1 4
12 Watford FC 3 -2 3
13 Southampton FC 3 -2 2
14 crystal Palace 3 -3 2
fifteen Leeds United 3 -4 2
sixteen FC Burnley 3 -3 1
17 Newcastle united 3 -4 1
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 -3 0
19 Norwich city 3 -9 0
twenty Arsenal FC 3 -9 0
Player Team Goals
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 4
Fernandes, Bruno United manchester 3
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3
Greenwood, Mason United manchester 3
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 2
Benrahma said West Ham United 2
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 2
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 2
Fornals, Pablo West Ham United 2
Torres, Ferran Manchester city 2
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 2
Wilson, Callum Newcastle united 2
Maupay, Neal Brighton and Hove Albion 2
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 2
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 2
Gallagher, Conor crystal Palace 2
Jesus, Gabriel Manchester city 1
James, Reece Chelsea Football Club 1
Doucoure, Abdoulaye Everton FC 1
Mahrez, Riyadh Manchester city 1

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