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Reaction: Even the President of Rwanda is fuming after 'embarrassing' Arsenal fall to Brentford

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14th August, 2021
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Brentford’s first ever appearance in the Premier League was a famous one, and their 2-0 win over “embarrassing” Arsenal further exposed a significant weakness in the management career of Mikel Arteta.

Seventeen times the Gunners have been behind at half-time of a match in all competitions under Arteta and their record in those games has slumped to 13 losses and four draws with no wins.

A goal in each half, through Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard, gave the Bees a deserved win although there were doubts over both goals, with the ball appearing to go out on the lead up to the first, and Bernd Leno being held ahead of the second, as the defence failed to deal with a long throw.

But while Arsenal showed some flashes, they were too slow and laboured in their buildup and even the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, was furious, tweeting to his 2.4 million followers.

While things improved after ther break, Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli squandered big chances before they slipped 2-0 behind. Nicolas Pepe had a late chance brilliantly saved by David Raya but utlimately the Gunners didn’t produce enough moments of danger against a well drilled Brentford backline.

At full-time, Brentford’s charismatic manager Thomas Frank did a victory lap around the pitch as the home crowd of 14,000 went nuts.

“What an amazing story. To take a scalp like Arsenal on your first game,” said former Liverpool stirker Michael Owen on the Optus Sport broadcast.

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“The perfect time to face Arsenal, I must admit. The place is buzzing, you’ve got the enthusiasm of coming up into the Premier League and Arsenal having a couple big injuries as well.

“It is a brilliant day for them, they’ve just got a feeling of a real family club, a real togetherness at this club.

“They’ve only known success in the last 12 months or so, long may that continue for these fans because these are a force to be reckoned with. I would hate to play here!

“This was a seriously polished performance from a Brentford team with a clear identity.

“They can be proud of this team. It is an exceptional team. It is an exceptional club. I’m looking forward to seeing it for another 37 games this season. They could do a Leeds United, what they did last season.

“They were unbelievable coming out the Championship, I think Brentford have got all the hallmarks of doing another Leeds.”

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It was a sobering night again for Arsenal legend Ian Wright, watching his beloved team huff and puff for no reward. They suffered a pre-match setback with strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missing through illness, and striker Flo Balogun barely had a touch.

“For Arsenal fans watching that, it’s embarrassing for us,” Wright said.

“Tepid, for the time of the season, for the fact you’re coming up against a team that is the first time they’ve been here since 1947.

“You know what they’re going to come with and you have to match them for that. You have to have a decent Plan A. You have to have something.

“Arsenal didn’t pass the ball forward quick enough. They didn’t do enough. I thought Ben White and Kieran Tierney did well, but in the main it was a very very poor performance for this stage of the season.

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“They needed to start sharp. People needed to step up. They didn’t today.

“Arsenal didn’t realise what (Brentford) are going to give and that is a big mistake on their part. Looking at Arsenal, there is a lot of work to do.

“They’ve got one signing in Ben White coming into the first team, he’s looking for that internal change and if that is the way it is going to be, it is going to be a long hard season for us.

“There is 18 days left in the transfer window and they are going to need to do something,” Wright said. “it’s going to be a long season for Arsenal, it’s worrying.

Arsenal finished eighth last season and are out of European action for the first time in 26 years. Things don’t look likely to improve in a hurry – their next two matches are against Manchester City and Chelsea.

“It is worrying,” said Wright. “We’ve got this Amazon (documentary), there is so much controversy and negativity around it, but for Arsenal fans right now, watching that is embarrassing for us.”

Owen decribed the Gunners as “the same old Arsenal. They look soft. They looked like you can bully them.

“If I were Mikel Arteta, I wouldn’t be bothered about the type of player coming in, I’d want a couple of leaders just to come in. Even if they’re not going to start.

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“That team just screams at me, young, inexperienced, flimsy, they need direction. They need two or three real old senior pros to teach them the ropes. Not how to play but how to prepare, how to win, how to be hard. How to be brave. There is no direction.”

It was Brentford’s first top-flight victory since April 1947 against Leeds United. They became the first London team to win their first ever Premier League game.

Brentford’s starting XI had just three Premier League appearances between them before kick-off – Ivan Toney with two games for Newcastle in 2015-16 and Sergi Canos with one for Liverpool in 2016 – which was the fewest for a team prior to kick-off since Reading’s starting line-up had no appearances before they faced Middlesbrough in August 2006.

Their delirious fans saing “We are top of the league,” and Thomas Frank was ecstatic.
“What an atmosphere. In a way I’m speechless. For our fans they can dream,” Frank said.

“We’re No 1 in the Premier League and that’s a fantastic story. We’re just a bus stop in Hounslow. We’re not supposed to be here, so we’ve got to celebrate every win, but we also want more.”

Canos added: “his is amazing. I’ve been dreaming about scoring the first goal here in the stadium and all these people deserve it. We deserve it. We go again next week. I’ve got all of my family in Spain watching the game. For me, for my family, for this club, it’s a step forward.”

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