Arsenal drops points again as Toney nabs draw for Brentford
Arsenal dropped points again ahead of a huge midweek match with Manchester City, drawing Brentford 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Leandro Trossard came off the bench to drive Arsenal in front of the Bees, but Ivan Toney won the final ball of a battling team equalizer for Brentford to give the game its final score.
But the Gunners will be fuming with reports that VAR did not draw offside lines on what appears to be a clear offside in the buildup to Brentford’s goal.
WATCH ARSENAL vs BRENTFORD FULL MATCH REPLAY - LINK
The Gunners lost to Everton last time out, just the second loss of the season for Mikel Arteta’s men, and now claim a single point to move six points clear of second-place Man City. The two play Wednesday in their first Premier League meeting of the season, three days after City plays Villa on Sunday.
Brentford is now unbeaten in 10-straight Premier League matches and the eighth-place Bees are just a point off sixth.
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Bees buzz at the right times to keep Arsenal wobbly
Look at the traditional stats and you’ll be wondering just how Arsenal failed to fully bounce back from its surprise loss to Everton.
Mikel Arteta’s men had 69 percent of the ball and out-attempted the Bees 23-9, completing 509 passes compared to just 180 for Brentford.
But Thomas Frank’s men executed their game plan to near perfection, countering at the right time and making the most of their possession in this draw.
Brentford knew Arsenal would manufacture chances but this was going to be about quality chances. The Bees won the xG battle by a 2.37-1.68 margin and FotMob credits them with three ‘big chances’ to Arsenal’s one.
Ivan Toney’s had a wild journey from Newcastle’s next big thing to Brentford’s now big thing, and he’s right up there with Harry Kane as the most complete center forwards in the league right now.
Throw in an in-form Mathias Jensen and rightly acknowledge Ben Mee as a potential signing of the season in any season without Erling Haaland), and Brentford deserves its 10-match Premier League unbeaten run.
But if Arsenal is going to contend for a Premier League title -- really contend for it -- it can’t afford many two-match stretches in which they claim just a single point, especially if those matches are against Everton away and Brentford at home.
That said: Beat Man City at home on Wednesday and you might just be uncatchable. It’s a big one!
Mikel Arteta reaction:
On Brentford’s performance, Arsenal’s control: “Credit to them for the way they competed. But I thought we were dominant and had good moments. We scored a goal against that super-low block they had. They took the game to that rollercoaster game they want to take you to. ... Winning is about small margins. When you win you win by small margins, but if you cannot win it then you don’t lose it. I thought the team still had a good performance today.
Ready for Man City at midweek? “Another big game. We know that. We will get ready for that. It will be another big one and another beautiful one.”
Thomas Frank reaction: ‘I said to the boys, Wow!’
“I just said to the boys, wow! We are not allowed to celebrate one point because of course we want to win but we can celebrate the performance and that was one of the best.
“It is insane Brentford is 10 games unbeaten in the Premier League and against some decent sides. It is incredible work from the players and staff and everyone around the club. This is a proud moment.”
Stars of the Show
Arsenal hosts Man City on Wednesday before going to Aston Villa early Saturday.
Brentford will entertain Crystal Palace in a 10am ET Saturday derby.
Leandro Trossard goal video: Super sub strikes again
Ivan Toney goal video: Bees buzz through for equalizer
How to watch Arsenal vs Brentford live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10m ET, SaturdayTV Channel/Online: Premier League on Peacock
Key storylines & star players
Arsenal looks to bounce back from being kept off the scoreboard for just the second time this season, though it was also the second time in a month (Newcastle held Arsenal at home before Everton beat the Gunners on Feb. 4). Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka are among the most consistent threats in red and will surely favor themselves to get back on the scoreboard.
Brentford’s getting production from all over the place and Mathias Jensen has been particularly impressive in the midfield. The story of the season, besides Ivan Toney’s continued strong displays up top, has been the stellar, impregnable play of new signing Ben Mee. The ex-Burnley man is chipping in at both ends to boot.
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Gabriel Jesus (knee), Mohamed Elneny (knee). QUESTIONABLE: Emile Smith Rowe (quadriceps), Reiss Nelson (thigh)
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Shandon Baptiste (groin), Pontus Jansson (thigh), Frank Onyeka (thigh)