Arsenal have made a fantastic start to the season and go into the weekend top of the Premier League table.

The Gunners won all of their first five games before losing 3-1 at Manchester United at the start of the month, and lead the table by a point from Manchester City and Spurs.

For the third campaign in a row, Arsenal played in the opening fixture of the new Premier League season – each time being away in a London derby.

And they started in style with a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace. They followed that up with a 4-2 victory over Leicester at the Emirates and then won 3-0 at Bournemouth, before earning 2-1 home victories over both Fulham and Aston Villa.

They also got off to a winning start in their Europa League group – earning a 2-1 victory away to FC Zurich, but their second match against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday was postponed.

Arsenal’s last Premier League title win came in 2003/04 – the Invincibles team which went the whole season unbeaten.

Most of their recent success has come in the FA Cup. They have won the competition four times in the past nine years, making them the tournament’s most successful club with 14 tournament victories to their name.

WHO’S IN CHARGE

Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta returned to the Emirates as manager in December 2019 to replace Unai Emery. He is now the sixth longest-serving boss in the Premier League.

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He had spent three years as an assistant coach at Manchester City, working alongside Pep Guardiola.

The former Spanish international midfielder, who won 12 full caps for his country, played for Barcelona’s B team before a loan spell at Paris St Germain, which was followed by a move to Rangers.

A brief spell at Real Sociedad followed, before he started a six-year spell with Everton in 2005. He then spent five years at Arsenal, where he was captain for two years before hanging up his boots.

WE’VE MET BEFORE

Last season’s memorable home win over Arsenal was one of the most famous nights in our history.

Everything went right as we ran out 2-0 winners to top the Premier League table overnight!

Sergi Canos opened the scoring, cutting in from the left and hammering a low shot inside the near post in the 22nd minute, and Christian Norgaard doubled the lead by heading home Mads Bech Sorensen’s long throw at the far post 17 minutes from time.

Arsenal got revenge in the return in February, winning 2-1 but to be honest, that score flattered us. The Gunners dominated the match, but couldn’t find the net until the 48th minute when Emile Smith Rowe curled the ball home.

Bukayo Saka doubled the lead with a shot which went in off the post in the 79th minute, before Christian Norgaard once again scored against the Gunners from close range, this time in second half stoppage-time.

The result left us 14th in the table and without a win in seven Premier League matches.

Last season saw us meet Arsenal in the league for the first time since 1947.

But we were regular opponents in the second half of the 30s – and also very briefly after World War Two.

Our previous league results (Brentford score first):

DIVISION ONE

1935/36 – (H) W 2-1 (A) D 1-1

1936/37 – (H) W 2-0 (A) D 1-1

1937/38 – (H) W 3-0 (A) W 2-0

1938/39 – (H) W 1-0 (A) L 0-2

1946/47 – (H) L 0-1 (A) D 2-2

PREMIER LEAGUE

2021/22 – (H) W 2-0 (A) L 1-2

Highlights of our first-ever meeting in 1935 below:

We also played Arsenal in the third round of the Carabao Cup in 2018/19, going down to a 3-1 defeat.

Danny Welbeck scored at either end of the first half to put the Gunners in charge and although Alan Judge gave us hope by curling in a direct free-kick in front of the 8,000 travelling Bees fans in the 58th minute, substitute Alexandre Lacazette confirmed the victory in stoppage-time.

OPPOSITION VIEW

BBC Radio London commentator and presenter Phil Parry looks at the Gunners’ start to the season, their summer ins and outs and recalls last season’s meetings between the sides.

Q – How would you assess Arsenal’s start to the season?

A – Despite defeat in the last Premier League outing at Manchester United, Arsenal surely must be happy with the start to the season that they have made. Top of the table after six games with five wins and just one loss, although it’s a fair argument to say that for much of that game at Old Trafford they were the better team, is a good return.

There has been some excellent football played and at times they have also had to work hard for their points. Of course not everything is perfect and no doubt the coaching staff and the fans well say that there is still work to be done, but the Mikel Arteta experience still appears to be gathering momentum, helped perhaps in the “All Or Nothing” screening which has thrown a lot of positive light on what is happening at the club.

Of course the return to European football is another challenge to add back into the mix this time around but I think there’s certainly positivity around the Gunners at the moment.

Q – What have you made of Mikel Arteta’s summer transfer business?

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A – I think this summer’s transfer activity was the next stage of the Arsenal rebuild after the acquisitions of 2021 and the squad clearing which has also taken place over the last 12 months, so pieces to the jigsaw needed to be added.

One critical element was that lead striker, and the arrival of Gabriel Jesus has been extremely positive. Already among the goals and the assists his presence and quality combined with a sense of hunger to really show what he’s got has been clearly evident.

Likewise the capture of Oleksandr Zinchenko added plenty of experience and versatility to the squad while there is some excitement about the “New Vierra”, Fabio Vierra, although he’s different to the old model and would have to go some to emulate the status that Patrick achieved in North London.

Q – The Gunners have not finished in the top four for six seasons – how do you rate their chances of ending that run this year?

A – Mikel Arteta’s team only just missed out last season of course with those two defeats in the North London derby and away at Newcastle at the end of the season proving costly. Perhaps a slight lack of experience, played into those two big away losses but a couple of Arsenal pals have said to me that a top four finish would have been slightly ahead of schedule, and a year in the second tier of European competition will benefit the young squad. Others of course don’t buy into that rationale and would argue “take it when it comes and deal with it”.

This time around they have to be seen as contenders and with the money that has been invested in the squad over the last 18 months there is an expectation that a top four finish is a priority. The early signs are very positive, and the performance if not the outcome at Manchester United fed into that feeling. It will though come down to the ability to not just perform but to pick up points from potential top four rivals and to avoid a situation where one loss begets more.

But with the squad available and the evidence we have seen over the last year and a bit, the Gunners are serious challengers to finish in the top four.

Q – How much could their Europa League campaign affect their Premier League challenge, or is the squad now big enough to cope?

A – They’ve started the group phase with a win on the road, and two more wins should put them on the brink of qualification for the knock-out phase. Arteta was able to mix up his starting line-up for the game away to Zurich, and seven changes were made from the side that started at Old Trafford. I think the depth is there for the club to be able to compete in most positions, although the defensive midfield area has been one which has been much debated.

When it comes to competing on more than one front, it’s what successful sides have to do, and it will be fascinating to see if the mid-season transfer window is a busier one at the top of the table than in the past.

Q – What impact do you think the split season will have on Arsenal and are a lot of the squad expected to be away at the World Cup?

A – Like everyone else the real unknown factor this season is the effect that the World Cup will have on players and squads. The season is obviously being squeezed and for the players who go a long way with their nations it will end up being a long year.

The fact that Arsenal have severely reduced the age of the squad in the last couple of season may well be to their advantage. There will have to be a careful management of the players’ physical conditioning, and that becomes harder to co-ordinate when they are away with their countries, but no doubt the plans are already in place to deal with it.

Another factor which we hope won’t come into play, but is still quietly in the background, is that of Covid. Already Arsenal have games to catch up on because of recent events concerning the death of The Queen. A return to a situation where games are lost if there were to be another viral spike would put further pressure on the schedule, and as a consequence squads. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Q – The Gunners’ visit last season was memorable for so many reasons. What do you remember about that magical night and the less successful return game?

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A – It was an extraordinary, historic and pretty emotional evening to be at the new BCS for the first top-flight football for the Bees in three-quarters of a century, first full house in the new home, and the arrival of Arsenal, a club with such history. The atmosphere was spine-tingling and the occasion lived up to all the expectation. I remember getting to the ground early to soak it all in, the excited expectation, wonder and joy exuding from everyone, it seemed perfect.

When Sergi Canos struck that first goal of the season there was an almost imperceptible microscopic pause before the cheers that raised high into the night sky. I remember the slight hint of surprise in my voice calling in the second goal, because Christian Norgaard is not the most regular of scorers (apart from against Arsenal), but also the win didn’t feel out of place and the Bees had settled straight.

I remember looking around at full-time, my son I knew was on his feet in the West Stand, my neighbour Martin was in the North, other friends dotted around the ground, and as one the collective joy has stayed with me.

Q – Finally can you give me a possible Arsenal formation and line-up please?

A – Ramsdale

White      Saliba      Gabriel      Tierney

Xhaka      Partey

Saka      Odegaard      Martinelli

Gabriel Jesus

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN

There will be a minute’s silence and the playing of the National Anthem before the match and a minute’s applause in the 70th minute in memory of The Queen.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE

If you can’t get to the Gtech Community Stadium for Sunday’s sold-out 12.00 kick-off, and want Brentford commentary, audio coverage is available via the new Buzz Box, currently on a free trial.

Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge, who has Jonathan Douglas alongside him this Sunday.

There is also live commentary on BBC London Digital and online and also on TalkSport 2.

The match is being shown live on Sky Sports, with coverage starting at 11.30.

IAN WESTBROOK

@ianwestbrook

PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS

For Arsenal fans coming to the Gtech Community Stadium, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).

The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 minutes walk.

Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.

It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zone before heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.

Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone (still very  lively but easier to get a pint)

When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating.

The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford.

About five minutes’ walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a “lively but comfortable” pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.

Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.

The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.

There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cosy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.

For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following: Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.

Then you can then either walk (15 minutes from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a train from Brentford station (which is five minutes walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog) or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.

Trains run at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take two minutes.

Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone (very busy on match days)

Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.

Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.

Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.

North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell and Crown. A bit further down are The City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.

There is also The Pilot which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a rating.

Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge

The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.

With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from King’s Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.

It is only 40 minutes max station by tube to station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.

The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.

For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Cross or Euston (35 minutes) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.

The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.

You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 minutes.

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.