Goals from Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard earned a 2-0 win over Arsenal in front of a first-ever full house at the Brentford Community Stadium on Friday. Brentford made a blistering start to their first English top-flight season for 74 years
The Bees spent the first season at their new home playing behind closed doors but rose to the occasion as they were roared on by 17,000 fans in west London in the first Premier League match at full capacity since March 2020.
Before kick-off, Bees manager Thomas Frank worked the crowd into a frenzy, and Arsenal were quickly subjected to the intense pressing that his team had become known for in the Championship.
Before the home team took the lead on 22 minutes, Bryan Mbuemo hammered a shot off the outside of the post as a warning shot.
Canos was fed on the left flank by Ethan Pinnock, who cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that beat Bernd Leno at his near post.
Mbuemo then dragged another huge chance wide after turning Arsenal’s new £50 million signing Ben White with ease.
The Gunners were without both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandra Lacazette due to illness, handing Folarin Balogun his Premier League debut.
Balogun not only squandered the visitors’ greatest chance of the first half, but he was also unlucky not to win a penalty after slicing wide and being fouled on the follow through.
Arsenal came out firing in the second half, with Kierney and Emile Smith-Rowe finally forcing David Raya into action.
When Bukayo Saka was brought on the hour mark, both sets of fans gave him a standing ovation following the racial abuse he received after missing the game-winning penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.
Brentford’s players, on the other hand, were not in the mood to be merciful, and replacement of Norgaard ensured a memorable night 17 minutes from time.
Brentford doubled their lead after Arsenal let a long pass bounce inside their six-yard box, which the Danish international gladly headed into an unprotected net.
Moments later, Norgaard was inches from from scoring again, with Leno flailing at another set-piece.
Arsenal’s sole solace came from Smith-Rowe and Tierney, who combined to set up Nicolas Pepe, who was denied by a brilliant Raya save five minutes from time.
Mikel Arteta was under pressure before the season even began to show evidence of a substantial improvement after finishing eighth in each of his first two seasons in command.
With championship contenders Chelsea and Manchester City coming up in Arsenal’s next two games, the Spaniard faces a difficult assignment to turn things around before the September international break.