Arsenal vs Brentford: Instant Reaction
Get straight into it.
Headline: This might not be a blip
Arsenal might have been a bit fortunate to come away with a point in this match.
That is now 3 matches without a win for Arsenal (counting the FA Cup) and three times where Arsenal failed to really dominate. This is the second match in a row where Arsenal were fortunate to go into halftime with the match tied and even with a lot of pressure really struggled to create many clear chances.
Arsenal took a ton of shots in this match but only 2 that were actually of decent quality (10%+).
On the flip side, Brentford favored quality over quantity.
They had 4 shots over 10% and could have scored 2-3 goals on another day from those.
This is similar to what happened at Everton where they also had a number of high-quality chances that easily could have been multiple goals.
Arsenal have been a stingy defensive team this season but this is a worrying trend to see pop up. It could be some of that they are not getting the early goals and thus are taking a bit more risk and that leads to more chances than we would have seen earlier in the season. I am not at freak out mode yet for that but I will be watching it.
One of the other things I noticed is that my view on this match might be slightly different than others. I have tried to keep off of twitter during the actual match and I am instead keeping a running set of notes. When I logged on to post the stats, I was pretty surprised by the reaction. It felt like perhaps fans felt like this was a match where the refereeing went against Arsenal, and I just didn’t get it.
I think there were a couple decisions that maybe went against Arsenal, but also one big one that went against Brentford. The first was in the first half where Brentford did get the ball in the back of the net but had it called off due to what I noted was a VERY GENEROUS foul call (honestly I don’t even know where he called the foul there). There was a penalty shout on Bukayo Saka which is never called because it has the unwritten rule that if you get a shot off you don’t get a penalty, it’s dumb but that is very much the norm. Then there is the “foul” that leads up to the equalizing free kick, it looks like grappling with both holding but it goes against Arsenal, that is tough but also something that happens.
The one that I have the least confidence about and will be interested to read the post-weekend VAR report is what happened on the actual goal.
I haven’t seen the lines drawn for this one but it looks VERY close. I guess I will have to trust it was on. I do also wonder about the phase before where it was again close for the offside player interfering with I think Gabriel being able to get out and close down the cross.
Ultimately I don’t think this was down to the referees. This was a match that was where Brentford made life difficult for Arsenal. They did well to break up the momentum (the ball in play time was 63 minutes by my count so not really out of the ordinary) and were a constant threat from long balls out to Toney.
UPDATE 4:02 PM -
So yeah that sucks.
Not a good day for the referees. I would still be interested to know how that happened. I imagine it was something like we spent 2-3 minutes checking the first incidents and felt a bit rushed and didn’t go and verify the second part. That’s a real bad mistake and I sure Arsenal are going to be pissed.
In the grand scheme, of “deserve” Arsenal didn’t for this match but very well could have had this been called right. How this develops over the next couple days will be something to watch. I doubt there are really any repercussions or anything that will be done.