Leandro Trossard netted his first Ars I’llenal goal as Brentford held Arsenal to a dramatic 1-1 draw at the Emirates.
Arsenal: Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli; Eddie Nketiah.
Brentford: David Raya; Kristoffer Ajer, Ethan Pinnock, Ben Mee; Mads Rasmussen Roerslev, Vitaly Janelt, Christian Norgaard, Mathias Jensen, Rico Henry; Ivan Toney, Bryan Mbeumo.
Arsenal dominated play and held off the Bees at the Emirates but the game was far from over for the Gunners despite taking charge of play.
Thomas Frank’s boys were pulling the strings and dragging the triggers when in possession of the ball.
A subpar performance by Thomas Partey in the middle of the park saw Brentford intercept passes and launch counters when in possession of the ball.
Charging forward, the Bees were dangerous and missed two great opportunities to take a surprise lead in the first half.
England international Ivan Toney hit the woodwork after picking a pass from a cross from the left flank.
At the back, Ben Mee and Ajer were tough nuts for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli to crack.
They also held off assaults from the Gunners’ middle and provided a deep cover for Thomas Frank’s backline in the wings.
Bukayo Saka was less clinical when handling the ball down the right. Brentford wingback Ben Mee marked out the England star, leaving Arsenal’s point man Eddie Nketiah without feeds.
Thomas Frank seemed to have gotten the edge over Mikel Arteta with his tactical maneuvers, but the Gunners had more of the ball than their visitors although they seemed clueless throughout the first half.
Clinging to a deceptive three-man defense with a highly flexible straight line of five midfielders gave Brentford a more flexible middle that easily launched attacks and fell back to defend when losing position.
After successfully crippling Martinelli and Bukayo Saka on the wings with Ajer and Ben Mee, Thomas Frank made good his attempt to prevent the Gunners from breaking with threats into the Brentford box.
The Gunners had enough of the ball after the first 45 minutes with 70% of the ball against Brentford’s 30%, but they only managed just two attempts on target out of 6 shots.
Brentford had just a shot on target but were more deadly when going forward with the ball.
Nothing changed in the second half of the encounter. Arsenal doubled up efforts to break the brink wall defense of Brentford, but the Bees held on as they hope to salvage at least a point from the Emirates.
The first leg between the two sides ended in a 3-0 win for the Gunners, but Thomas Frank’s boys have far improved since then.
They have been a cog in the wheel of big teams in the Premier League. They bagged maximum three points from the two Manchester clubs.
Before the World Cup break, Thomas Frank led the Bees to the Etihad and secured a shock win against the star-studded side. Hence, a point at the Emirates was not less likely.
With the hour mark crossed, the match remained goalless, but Brentford had begun to jitter at the back when Arsenal charged forward.
A win for Mikel Arteta would see them return to their 8-point lead on the table with the same number of games as City, but it appeared the Bees were bent on extending Arsenal’s winless run after they fell to Everton at Goodison park.
Meanwhile, Thomas Frank went into the game unbeaten in 9 straight Premier League games, but had managed just one win in their 8 trips to the Emirates.
After intense pressure from the Gunners, Leandro Trossard gave Arsenal the lead, scoring his first goal for the club in the 66the minute.
Eight minutes later, Ivan Toney replied with an equaliser for the Gunners, scoring after a goal-mouth scramble to bring the scoreline to 1-1 draw.
Arsenal made last-minute efforts to return to the lead but the Bees held on to share the spoils with the Premier League leaders after the final whistle.