Having seen their wobble against Everton go unpunished last week, Arsenal will be bidding to open up an eight point lead, at least overnight, when they welcome Brentford to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Wednesday’s fixture against Manchester City, a potential title decider, looms large on the horizon but focus will have to be sharp in north London against an opponent who have not lost in the league since October 23.
Brentford have surprising ambitions of their own and if results were to go their way on Saturday they could find themselves within four points of a top four berth, not bad for a team playing just their second top flight season since 1947. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Feb. 11 | Time: 10 a.m. ET
Location: Emirates Stadium — London
Live stream: Peacock Premium
Odds: Arsenal -225; Draw +350; Brentford +600 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Arsenal: Last season the Gunners had a problematic habit of following one defeat with a few more for good measure, losing two or more Premier League games in succession on four separate occasions. So far Arsenal have only lost two league games in total but the fact that the second of those — a 1-0 slump at Everton last Saturday — followed a defeat in the FA Cup means there could be renewed questions over this team’s bouncebackability.
Mikel Arteta, however, sees a side ready to put to bed their disappointment last time out. “In football, you’re going to lose football matches,” he said. “The match we lost at [Manchester] City was very different to the one we lost against Everton. Losing brings a lot of opportunities to look at other things and the reaction of the team. The reaction of the team has been superb this week and tomorrow we’re going to put in a great performance in front of our crowd to try to win the game.”
Brentford: With a possible European place on the cards for a side who are such new additions to the Premier League it is perhaps little wonder that covetous glances are already being made at Brentford players. That includes David Raya, once a target of Arsenal, who revealed this week that he has turned down two offers to extend a contract that expires in 2024. Superb with his feet, fearless outside his area and a strong shot stopper: the Spain international seems destined to be a big figure in the transfer market this summmer.
“I think if he turns it down twice then unfortunately that’s a signal,” said Bees boss Thomas Frank. “We made two really good offers but that’s fine, it’s a free world. We can’t force anyone. That said, David has been amazing for us, coming from Blackburn three-and-a-half years ago.
“I hope he will stay forever but it looks like it could be difficult with the contract situation. He must be at least £40million plus. If he had three years it would be £70m. How much was [Chelsea’s] Kepa Arrizabalaga? He is at least as good as him.”
Expect a tough game for Arsenal against a Brentford side that have the weapons to expose them. However the Gunners should get the job done. PICK: Arsenal 2, Brentford 1