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Beesotted contributors The Gowler and Paul Kowalczyk (@BeesBreakdown) give us the tactical and statistical lowdown of Brentford’s loss against Arsenal.

Thomas Frank was, once again, forced into making some changes to his starting XI. Jensen, Collins, and Roerslev all picked up injuries and replaced by Yarmolyuk, Ben Mee and Ghoddos. Brentford’s 3-5-2 saw Wissa and Mbeumo up front, supported by Onyeka, Nørgaard and Yarmolyuk in midfield. Ghoddos and Janelt were the wingbacks, with a back three of Ajer, Pinnock, and Mee. Baptiste and Keane Lewis-Potter made the bench, as they worked their way back from injury.

Arsenal’s 4-3-3 had no surprises, with Martinelli, Jesus, and Saka the front 3. The midfield consisted of Ødegaard, Rice, and Trossard. The usual centreback pairing of Gabriel and Saliba was joined by fullbacks Zinchenko and Tomiyasu.

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Quick Stats:

Possession: Brentford 36% – 64% Arsenal

xG: Brentford 1.19 – 1.65 Arsenal

Shots: Brentford 9 – 15 Arsenal

Shots on Target: Brentford 3 – 4 Arsenal

Clearances: Brentford 35 – 14 Arsenal

PPDA: Brentford 8.52 – 7.67 Arsenal

Other Brentford stats:

Interceptions: 11

Aerial duels won: 23 (53%)


Brentford fans will be disappointed to not come away with a point after a solid defensive performance against one of the Premier League’s top sides. The underlying numbers suggest Brentford were a bit unlucky to not come away with a point, with 1.28 xPTS (Expected Points).

Arsenal ended with much more possession and slightly more xG, but Brentford missed 2 big chances (over 0.33 xG). Arsenal struggled to breakdown Brentford’s low block for a majority of the match, but a late winner snuck past Flekken.

Both sides had a low Passes Per Defensive Action (PPDA), which goes to show how both teams were pressing high up the pitch. Brentford created some dangerous chances from their high press, but Arsenal used their press as a way to easily win back possession. Brentford was quick to clear the danger if under too much pressure.

The Bees didn’t have too many standout performances, but Ajer and Mbeumo each ended with 3 shot creating actions. The midfield was instrumental in keeping Arsenal from creating too many chances, Nørgaard had 5 tackles while Onyeka finished with 4 interceptions and 9 ball recoveries. Arsenal whipping in crosses made it crucial that Brentford’s back three had an aerial presence. Ben Mee, Ajer, and Pinnock went a combined 12/15 on aerial duels, which is even more impressive against one of the best aerial teams in the Premier League.

Brentford will hope to get some players back from injury soon, with Jensen pushing for a return against Luton Town. The injury crisis has allowed Brentford fans to see Yarmolyuk step up to the challenge and not miss a beat. Still, fans will hope to see Dasilva, Schade, Damsgaard, and Collins return throughout December.