Arsenal v Brentford: Home comforts help Arteta's Top 4 hopes

Arsenal, who haven't lost at home to a newly promoted side since 2010, face Brentford on Saturday afternoon. Ben Steele doesn't expect that impressive Emirates record to change any time soon...

Youthful Arsenal out for revenge

The first day of the Premier League season saw newly promoted Brentford produce a comfortable 2-0 victory over an Arsenal side seemingly in disarray. Mikel Arteta's side then lost to Chelsea and Manchester City and found themselves at the foot of the table. However, since then only Liverpool and Manchester City have won more league games and a much changed Arsenal side will be out for revenge.

Of the 11 Gunners who started on opening day only four (Granit Xhaka, Kieran Tierney, Ben White and Emile Smith-Rowe) can be confident of starting at the Emirates as Arteta continues to rely on his youthful core group.

January saw a number of high profile exits, and no new signings, so if Arsenal are to finish in the European spots they will have to rely on the likes of Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli to maintain the strong from this term.

Arsenal have certainly built a resilience under Arteta, a battling, 10 man win over Wolves last week was the latest in a line of solid defensive displays, but they have at times struggled to create chances of their own. Only the Brazilian pair of Alisson and Ederson have kept more clean sheets than Aaron Ramsdale this season, but Arsenal have scored just twice in all competitions this year so chances have certainly been at a premium.

Brentford come into the game without a win in their last seven games, losing six of those, and with Ivan Toney facing a late fitness test as he recovers from a calf problem. Arsenal to win and Under 2.5 goals is well priced @ 21/10 in what could turn out to be a fairly routine victory.

Frank will be hoping for more Gunners cards

As Thomas Frank attempts to arrest Brentford's slide down the table he may well find himself looking for some help Arsenal's staggeringly poor disciplinary record. Since Mikel Arteta took over at the Emirates he has seen 12 players sent off, five more than any other Premier League team in that time, and the red cards have been shown at an alarming rate in 2022. Arsenal have played six games since the turn of the year and have had a man sent off in four of those, Martinelli the latest culprit after his bizarre dismissal against Wolves last week.

Frank's side have only seen one man (Shandon Baptiste) sent off but they are not without disciplinary issues of their own. Only six players have been booked more often then Bees duo Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard this season, with the pair showing their commitment to the cause with regularity. Coincidentally Canos and Norgaard were the scorers the last time these two sides faced off and they will be looking to trouble their opponents once again so Saturday afternoon.

In a game that could be all about the fine margins the midfield battle will be key and both sides have players who have a reputation for picking up cards. Along with Canos and Norgaard the likes of Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Frank Onyeka will all be expected to start and have all been booked at least three times this season.

Referee Jon Moss has shown 10 yellows in his last three games. I wouldn't be surprised if someone picked him a couple of cautions, and with a red card to be shown at anytime in the game currently 9/2, it is well worth a look.

Smith-Rowe back in the lineup and back on the scoresheet

The suspension of Gabriel Martinelli actually gives Arsenal the chance to reintroduce their leading scorer into the starting lineup. Emile Smith-Rowe has been a real bright spot for Arteta's men this team, scoring eight goals, but in recent weeks a combination of a minor injury and the emergence of Martinelli has seen the Englishman relegated to the bench.

Now recovered from injury and with a chance to reclaim his starting spot Smith-Rowe will be key to Arsenal's plans. Newly appointed captain, Alexandre Lacazette will lead the line for on Saturday but he is having his worst scoring season in an Arsenal shirt, scoring just three times, and operating more as a provider than a threat in front of goal. With that in mind, Smith-Rowe's new found potency in front of goal will be key.

The 21-year-old is 11/4 to score anytime but in a game that is likely to be low scoring and could be decided by a single goal, it is perhaps better value to back the youngster @ 7/1 to open the scoring.

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