It’s been a poor week (and season in truth) for Brentford on the road, struggling to a 1-1 draw to bottom of the table Ipswich Town and getting torn apart 3-1 by a dominant Derby County away, but the midweek Carabao Cup tie provides something different, a first trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.
Brentford haven’t faced the Gunners in any competition since 1947, but do have a good record against them, winning five of twelve and four draws, though none of that will mean much when it comes to facing Unai Emery’s side on Wednesday evening.
Bees fans will be very concerned about the club’s away form, particularly the very poor performance at Derby on Saturday, but Wednesday will offer a break from the concerns of the Championship and a chance for players to express themselves against some of the best in the country.
Arsenal will retain their powerful attacking threat no matter the side that Emery chooses to take to the field. The best hope for Brentford fans will be if the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are rested for Watford on Saturday, providing some respite for the defence which really struggled to contain Derby.
That being said, football is a funny game. Brentford haven’t won on the road this season and have only won five of their last 29 away matches, but wouldn’t it be typical of the beautiful game if the Bees claimed a Premier League scalp on Wednesday.
Brentford likely line-up: (4-2-3-1)
Dalsgaard – Konsa – Mepham – Barbet
McEachran – Macleod
Benrahma – Sawyers – Watkins
The line-up is a tricky one to predict this week as Dean Smith will have to find the balance between our strongest side, rewarding players playing well and rewarding those players that performed well in the Carabao Cup to get us to this tie.
I believe it will be a mainly unchanged side, Julian Jeanvier did start on Saturday against Derby but I think Ezri Konsa will come back in. Kamohelo Mokotjo or (more likely) Nico Yennaris could feature in midfield to provide some more defensive cover, and Yennaris has history with the Gunners from his time there.
The front three will almost certainly be Said Benrahma, Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins as they no doubt provide the greatest goal scoring threat and have all performed will this season.
It will naturally be a tough evening for the Bees, with attacking threats and creativity right through the Arsenal squad. That said, Brentford have a few tricks up their sleeves themselves and will be travelling with a large and vocal support. If you’re going, I’ll see you there.
Arsenal 1 – 3 Brentford
(Optimistic or plain dreaming? You decide)
Up the Bees.