Strong Arsenal side beat Brentford 4-0 in friendly ahead of City clash
- Credit: PA
Arsenal sharpened up for their looming bottom-of-the-table Premier League clash with Norwich City with a 4-0 friendly win against a young Brentford team this afternoon.
The game was played behind closed doors at the Gunners’ London Colney training centre, with some of Mikel Arteta’s expensive recent signings in action and Alexandre Lacazette on the scoresheet.
Arsenal are the only team keeping the Canaries off the bottom, courtesy of Teemu Pukki’s penalty during the hard-fought 2-1 home defeat to Leicester on Saturday.
The North London side are yet to score in a shock start to the season, also having a goal difference of minus-nine after three consecutive defeats - losing 5-0 at Manchester City on Saturday.
With Arteta under heavy pressure for results to improve ahead of Norwich arriving at Emirates Stadium a week on Saturday, a friendly against the Bees was arranged.
Whereas the newly-promoted visitors didn’t have any players involved who had started their 1-1 draw at Aston Villa at the weekend, Arsenal had a star-studded forward line of French striker Lacazette, Brazillian youngster Gabriel Martinelli and £72million winger Nicolas Pepe.
Centre-back Ben White, signed from Brighton for a reported £50m this summer, and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, a recent arrival from Sheffield United for a reported initial fee of £24m, started alongside Pablo Mari and Gabriel in defence in a 3-4-3 formation.
The experience of Calum Chambers and Cedric were played as wing-backs, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny in central midfield, but it was 0-0 at half-time.
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A brace from Cedric followed goals from Gabriel and Lacazette after the break to win the friendly 4-0, with a team made up of players not called up for international duty.
Norwich, on the other hand, could only just about put a team of 11 senior players out if they were to do something similar, thanks to call-ups for 14 front-line players.
That leaves goalkeepers Angus Gunn and Michael McGovern, as well as defenders Ben Gibson, Christoph Zimmermann and Brandon Williams.
Daniel Farke and his coaches also have midfielders Jacob Sorensen, Pierre Lees-Melou, Lukas Rupp, Todd Cantwell and Kieran Dowell to work with, as long-term injury victim Sam Byram keeps easing back towards fitness and Bali Mumba (knee) and Przemek Placheta (Covid-19) look to get back into action.
The majority of City’s absent players conclude their international duty on Tuesday night, with Milot Rashica (Kosovo), Dimitris Giannoulis and Christos Tzolis (Greece) potentially in action on Wednesday.
Josh Sargent will face a race against time to return for the game at Arsenal on September 11 though, as he is due to play for the USA in Honduras at 3.05am on Thursday (UK time), which would be followed by a flight of over 10 hours.
Arsenal, of course, also have many players away on international duty including Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney, Martin Odegaard and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.