Pre-Match Report

Preview: Brentford v Arsenal

Brentford v Arsenal

Our Carabao Cup campaign begins on Wednesday night, as we face Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium.

We go into this game looking to get back to winning ways following the weekend’s north London derby draw, while Brentford will be hoping to show a response to their 3-1 defeat at home to Everton on Saturday.

There have been just 17 meetings between us and Brentford since 1902, and we have won three of the five that have taken place in the 21st century, including a 3-1 win in the League Cup in 2018.

Finding new routes to goal


Brentford have been without Ivan Toney this season, but have adapted admirably to continue creating goalscoring opportunities, largely courtesy of Bryan Mbeumo and Mathias Jensen, who have four and three goals in all competitions respectively.

However, despite failing to score in just one of their seven games so far this season, Thomas Frank’s side are now without a win in the Premier League since their solitary victory against Fulham in mid-August.

Most recently, the Bees have suffered back-to-back defeats to Newcastle United (1-0) and Everton (3-1). Nevertheless, with nine goals both scored and conceded and six points on the board, it has still been a respectable start for a team that are no strangers to punching above their weight.

What the managers say

Arteta: “There are a lot of players that need minutes, that’s for sure. You can go through the squad and some players haven’t played that many minutes and against Brentford they’re going to have exposure for sure. That can include young players.

“That can include young players.” - Read everything from Mikel’s pre-match press conference

Thomas Frank

Frank: “I like David Raya so much and I am so pleased he has played the last three games for Arsenal and I think he has done very well. For us as a club it is fantastic that we have developed a player from the Championship to the top of the League. I am very proud of his journey and hopefully we continue to do that with others. If he plays, I will welcome him back, if not, I will do the same.

"We’d like to go on a cup run. I’ll put as strong as possible team out there. It’s very important that we do our best to see how far we can get. Arsenal look like a contender for the title, like one of the best teams in Europe at this moment in time. When they hit their high level they are very difficult to play against. They will be a very tough team to face."

Talking tactics

Brentford tactics

Adrian Clarke: Brentford head coach Thomas Frank takes a horses-for-courses approach to starting formations. He will always start with a fluid three-man central midfield unit, but when they take on the ‘big’ teams, such as Arsenal, the astute Dane regularly switches from a 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2. Out of possession that shape morphs into a 5-3-2. In those contests Brentford’s primary tactics are to crowd space inside their own half before launching fast, direct transitions involving the front two. They will make plenty of longer passes that go from back to front.

No matter who features for the west Londoners in this Carabao Cup clash, Arsenal will know they have to concentrate when defending corners and wide free kicks. Brentford are a tall outfit, and they love to whip fast-paced inswingers into a crowded six-yard box. In the Premier League they have registered a division-high 33 set-piece shots already, and according to Opta they also lead the way with 3.67 expected goals from dead ball situations.

Crosses in general are a key strength for the Bees. They funnel a lot of their attacking build-ups into the wide areas, and from those positions they are happy to send a stream of deliveries into the danger zone. No team has produced a greater number of successful open play crosses (19) than Brentford, who also top the charts for headed shots. Our full backs at the Gtech Community Stadium must work hard to stop the flow of crosses coming into the box.

Without knowing how strong each manager is going to go with their starting XIs, it is difficult pick out individuals ahead of this cup tie, but Arsenal will know they must ready themselves for a physical battle. In every competition they play, Brentford adopt a competitive attitude. Only two top-flight teams have won more tackles than they have this season.

Team news


We will still be without Gabriel Martinelli, who came off in the 24th minute of our 1-0 win against Everton earlier in the month after feeling something in his hamstring. Bukayo Saka won't feature on Wednesday after limping off in Sunday's game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Leandro Trossard (hamstring) and Declan Rice (back) aren’t available but aren't expected to be long-term absentees.

Thomas Partey is still out after picking up an injury in training earlier in September and Jurrien Timber remains unavailable with his knee injury.

For Brentford, Neal Maupay is cup-tied having played for Everton in the second round of the tournament.

Rico Henry is likely to miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a knee injury against Newcastle United earlier in the month. Josh Dasilva (hamstring), Kevin Schade (adductor) and Shandon Baptiste (dislocated shoulder) are also out with longer-term injuries.

Ben Mee could be out for up to four weeks with a knock that ruled him out of the weekend’s game against Everton. Mikkel Damsgaard is also set to see a knee specialist.

Facts and stats


We have won three of our last five games against Brentford, including in the Carabao Cup in 2018.

Brentford actually had more shots (14) than we did (13) during that game, which we won 3-1 at Emirates Stadium.

Last time we met, goals from Leandro Trossard and Ivan Toney saw us share a 1-1 draw in February.

In last season’s 3-0 win at Brentford, at the age of 15 years and 181 days, Ethan Nwaneri became the Premier League’s youngest-ever player.

Emile Smith Rowe will make his 100th appearance for the club if he plays against Brentford.

Match officials


Peter Bankes is the man in the middle for Wednesday’s game. He previously refereed our 1-1 draw against Brentford in February.

He has taken charge of four Premier League games so far this season, handing out 12 yellow cards and one red card.

  • Referee: Peter Bankes
  • Assistants: Harry Lennard and Nick Hopton
  • Fourth Official: John Busby

Last time at Brentford

We have fond memories of our previous visit to the Gtech Community Stadium, which was a 3-0 win in the Premier League in September 2022.

First half goals from William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus gave us a strong lead going into the half-time break, and Fabio Vieira made the scoreline even more comfortable early in the second half to keep us at the top of the table.

How to watch

Breakdown Live

Join Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke live from the My Arsenal Rewards box at Emirates Stadium as we preview our third round Carabao Cup tie on The Breakdown Live with in-depth analysis of the Bees and our record in the competition.

Also, we’ll hear from our captain Martin Odegaard after signing his new contract with the club, we’ll bring you highlights as our Under-18s and Under-21s sides were in action against Southampton and Manchester United, and Adrian brings you the tactical talking points you may have missed from the north London derby.

Live commentary from the Gtech Community Stadium comes from Dan Roebuck and Stephen Wright.

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