Player Ratings: Arsenal debutant endures nightmare, Brentford forwards thrive

Date published: Friday 13th August 2021 9:58 - Steve Pearson

Brentford star Sergi Canos celebrating his goal versus Arsenal

Arsenal debutant Ben White struggled from first minute to last as a vibrant Brentford pulled off a minor upset to sink Arsenal 2-0 in the new season’s opening contest.

Brentford opened the scoring in front of a raucous crowd when Sergi Canos cut inside Calum Chambers before arrowing a strike beyond Bernd Leno at the near post.

The Bees added a second when a long throw-in caused havoc among the Arsenal ranks. Christian Norgaard swooped in at the far post to nod home as Arsenal’s defensive frailties were brutally exposed.

Brentford

David Raya: Commanded his area well and proved why Premier League clubs’ interest in him over recent seasons was justified. Great save to deny Pepe in the closing stages. 8/10

Kristoffer Ajer: Didn’t put a foot wrong on his Premier League debut and was good value for his clean sheet. 7/10

Pontus Jansson: Composed at the back and relatively untroubled in the first-half. Given a sterner test after the break but emerged with a clean sheet. 7/10

Ethan Pinnock: The pick of the centre-halves, though in truth none of them put a foot wrong. Made a series of vital clearances in the first-half. 8/10

Sergi Canos: A force of nature in the first-half at wing-back and was duly rewarded when notching Brentford’s first ever Premier League goal. Quick feet proved too much for Chambers before rifling a powerful drive inside Leno’s near-post. 8/10

Frank Onyeka: A powerhouse in midfield and helped prevent Arsenal getting a head of steam throughout. 7/10

Christian Norgaard: Solid performance from the Dane and topped off a fine Premier League debut when nodding home Brentford’s second after steaming onto a throw-in Arsenal failed to clear. 8/10

Vitaly Janelt: Looked at home in the top flight and helped to shield his defense from succumbing to Arsenal’s limited pressure. 7/10

Rico Henry: Perhaps fortunate to not concede a penalty when felling Balogun inside the area. Did not lack for energy. 6/10

Bryan Mbuemo: Relentless work-rate from the get-go and caused Arsenal’s centre-halves all manner of problems. Rattled the post after racing away from Mari in the first half. A manager’s dream. 9/10 (Man of the match)

Ivan Toney: Linked up with Mbuemo well and was a bundle of energy throughout. Denied the opportunity to test Leno with his shooting prowess but his chances will no doubt come. 8/10

Substitutes:

Mads Sorensen (on for Ajer, 75): 6/10

Mads Bidstrup (on for Onyeka, 80): 6/10

Marcus Forss (on for Mbuemo, 86): 6/10


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Arsenal

Bernd Leno: Kept his cool when pressed by a vibrant Brentford forward line. Hard to criticise for Canos’ goal, though no goalkeeper readily accepts being beaten at their near-post. 6/10

Calum Chambers: Allowed Canos to cut inside too easily and failed to get touch-tight for Brentford’s opener. 5/10

Ben White: Given a tough time in the air and looked uncomfortable in a traditional two-man centre-back pairing. The only way is up from here. 5/10

Pablo Mari: Struggled to cope with the energy and relentlessness of Mbuemo. Fortunate not to be at the heart of a second Bees goal when Mbuemo evaded his attentions before rattling the woodwork. Among a series of Arsenal defenders who failed to clear a long throw for the second. 4/10

Kieran Tierney: A constant threat down the left and Arsenal’s main outlet during a slow first-half. A handful of teasing deliveries but couldn’t find the critical contribution when seeking out an inexperienced forward line. 7/10

Albert Sambi Lokonga: Looked every bit at home in the Premier League on a classy debut. Calm, composed and always wanting the ball. 7/10

Emile Smith Rowe: Quickly becoming Arsenal’s talisman and his second-half showing here suggested he already is. Superb turn and drive after the break that deserved a goal but fired straight at Raya. If Arsenal were going to equalise, it would’ve come through him. 8/10

Granit Xhaka: Outworked by Brentford’s central midfield counterparts and fortunate not to be punished when caught dawdling in possession on the edge of his area. 6/10

Nicolas Pepe: A peripheral figure throughout much of the contest. Responsibility was on his shoulders as the senior man in a young forward line but did not step up to the plate. 6/10

Folarin Balogun: Struggled to impose himself on the contest and allowed a glorious opportunity to escape with a poor first touch. A tad unfortunate not to win a penalty after Henry felled him seconds later. 5/10

Gabriel Martinelli: Virtually anonymous throughout. Glanced a near-post header harmlessly wide in his only real involvement close to goal. 5/10

Substitutes:

Bukayo Saka (on for Balogun, 59): 6/10

Reiss Nelson (on for Martinelli, 71): 6/10

Nuno Tavares (on for Chambers, 81): 6/10

READ MORE: Arsenal outcast the unlikely solution with surprise Bayern swap mooted

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