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How to watch Arsenal vs. Brentford, live stream: Mikel Arteta faces first test of Premier League title charge

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Arsenal suffered a loss to Everton last week due to the new manager bounce and an off day for their side. Arsenal have not dropped points in consecutive league games this season, but Brentford are on a 6-5-2 streak since their last meeting with Arsenal. To defend against Arsenal’s wide men, Everton double-teamed the winger and Alex Iwobi worked to shut down Ben White. Martinelli and Saka have been missing Gabriel Jesus, who formed a pocket with Martinelli when he arrived in the summer. Thomas Frank will be taking notes for Brentford’s next fixture, as they can use the same tactics as Everton to test Arsenal. Arteta is aware of what defenses have got right against his side and is confident that his team will put in a great performance on Saturday.

Live stream link (+++): CLICK HERE! (Does not require membership) / (No requiere membresía)

Live stream link (++): CLICK HERE! (Requires membership. You can remove credit card information after watching the game.) / (Requiere membresía. Puede eliminar la información de la tarjeta de crédito después de ver el juego.)

Live stream link (+): CLICK HERE! (After completing the test you will be redirected to the live broadcast) / (Después de completar la prueba, será redirigido a la transmisión en vivo)

There might be nothing more to Arsenal’s loss against Everton last week than a confluence of the famed new manager bounce, an off day for Mikel Arteta’s side and the sheer electricity that Goodison Park produced as it finally saw a team in blue play with true intensity and purpose.

Where last season Arsenal tended to lose Premier League games in patches, on the only previous occasion in which they ended up with no points this season — a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United — they responded by rolling to victory in their next four top flight games, starting with a 3-0 demolition of Saturday’s opponents Brentford. This time, the Gunners are on a two game losing skid but even that comes with the caveat that in the FA Cup they rotated significantly and their opponents Manchester City did not. With more than half a season played, Arsenal still have not dropped points in consecutive league games.

That is a good omen for the visit of an in-form Brentford side that have gone 6-5-2 in the Premier League since their last meeting with Arsenal. However, recent games have brought with them the first sign that managers are grasping what needs to be done to slow the relentless tide of the league leaders. Tactically, that starts in the wide areas.

In guiding his side to a 1-0 win at Goodison Park, Sean Dyche picked up and ran with an approach that had brought Newcastle a point at the Emirates Stadium at the turn of the year. Whenever Arsenal cycled possession out to their wide men, Everton immediately double-teamed the winger. It is hardly some unimaginable tactical plan, the product of hours spent gazing forlornly at a whiteboard in search of a Eureka moment, but credit should go to Dyche and Eddie Howe for grasping what has been blindingly apparent in north London for quite some time. Gabriel Martinelli and in particular Bukayo Saka are two of the most devastating attackers in the league. If you attempt to defend them one on one you are simply asking for trouble.

Where the Magpies waited for the ball to find Arsenal’s wide forwards, Dyche’s side were altogether more aggressive, particularly in defending the right hand space where Saka can interchange so devastatingly with Martin Odegaard. From the outset Alex Iwobi worked himself to the bone, in particular pressurising Ben White to ensure that no pass went easily to Arsenal’s No.7.

Iwobi begins to pressure White as soon as he senses the pass is heading for Arsenal’s right back
Wyscout/Premier League

From the outset Iwobi was chasing down passes that might not even come to White, so intent was he on shutting down what has been Arsenal’s most consistent avenue to goals. Even when the visiting right back ultimately evades the initial pressure and finds a pass to Saka, that initial intensity has forced him to receive the ball heading to his own goal. Iwobi is across to aid Vitaliy Mykolenko and Saka has little choice but to push the ball back into the congested middle.

White forces a pass to Saka but with the No.7 moving away from goal there is little chance for Arsenal to get an attack moving
Wyscout/Premier League

Everton had something of an easier task on the opposite flank, just as Brentford may well do on Saturday. Gabriel Martinelli continues to flicker with menace but he is not the raging fire of the early season. That may be nothing more than a drop in form, but equally the young Brazilian, who signed a new contract earlier this month, does not seem to be in an environment that is quite as conducive to his talents.

Most notably, he seems to be missing Gabriel Jesus. The two Brazilians struck up an immediate bond on and off the field when Jesus arrived from Manchester City in the summer. The former quickly became a devastating aspect in Arsenal’s attacks. Their striker would form a pocket with Martinelli on the left, similar to that of Odegaard and Saka on the right, filled with positional fluidity, quick passes and thrilling dribbling.

Martinelli loved it, telling CBS Sports in November: “When you play with good players it’s easy. When I look to [Jesus] he’s always moving. Bukayo is always willing to play as well, so it becomes easy to adapt. If sometimes you can see the games, he goes wide and I go central.

“The goal that I scored against Forest – I was wide, I got the ball, I played to Bukayo, he went to the wing and I went inside the box. So I think everyone can see when we change our positions. We like to do it and we always talk about it because we say that we’re players that like to move and rotate and this is good. It’s hard for the defenders to mark us, so we’ll keep doing it.”

Arsenal have coped quite excellently with the injury Jesus suffered in the World Cup, one which he is not expected to return from until early March, though he has returned to outdoor work. Eddie Nketiah has answered the many questions that supporters had for him, registering the fourth highest non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per 90 minutes in Europe’s top five leagues and keeping company with Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez. But that npxG figure points to the tactical adjustments that Arteta has made since Nketiah has come into the side. There is little point getting a high grade poacher to do Jesus-esque work in build up, better to feed him scoring chances and keep him in the penalty area, the exact space that Granit Xhaka attacked with greater frequency earlier in the season.

Arsenal’s passing network in games where Gabriel Jesus plays (left) and their last three Premier League games (right). Note how much closer the FW (Jesus) is to the LW (Martinelli) in the left image
Twenty3

All these minor adjustments have served to leave Martinelli on something of an island offensively and when Seamus Coleman and Dwight McNeill doubled up on him at Goodison Park there was no one like Jesus coming to rob Everton of their numerical advantage.

Preparing for his side’s next fixture, Thomas Frank will doubtless have been taking copious notes. After all, plenty of what worked out well for Everton can be easily deployed by Brentford at the Emirates Stadium. In Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa he has two wingers who are prepared to do their share of off ball work and who have the pace to burst into the spaces that Arsenal’s full backs leave. That could be particularly hard for the Gunners to defend on Oleksandr Zinchenko’s flank if he indulges his proclivities for drifting into midfield, though it must be said there are few better at defending space than Gabriel.

The Bees might also note how effectively Dyche’s men beat the Arsenal press by simply launching the ball over it to the sizeable frame of Amadou Onana. Everton’s was the pass map of a circus cannon but it worked.

Twenty3

Live stream link (+++): CLICK HERE! (Does not require membership) / (No requiere membresía)

Live stream link (++): CLICK HERE! (Requires membership. You can remove credit card information after watching the game.) / (Requiere membresía. Puede eliminar la información de la tarjeta de crédito después de ver el juego.)

Live stream link (+): CLICK HERE! (After completing the test you will be redirected to the live broadcast) / (Después de completar la prueba, será redirigido a la transmisión en vivo)

No team in the Premier League attempts a higher proportion of long passes than Brentford, no wonder when they are aiming for the likes of Ivan Toney. Their opener against Tottenham and their second goal against Bournemouth both saw Frank’s side draw the press, albeit an extremely tentative one, and advance the ball quickly with a long ball that punished opponents whose full backs had pushed too high. That is a blueprint that can test Arsenal.

Not to say that it will. There may be ways to make life harder for Arteta’s side but it is not a given that just because Everton and Newcastle successfully gummed up the flanks any other team will be able to do so, nor that Saka won’t simply beat two defenders a few times a game instead of one. Equally, it is not like the Arsenal manager will be unaware of what defenses have got right against his side.

“Losing brings a lot of opportunities to look at other things and the reaction of the team,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “The reaction of the team has been superb this week and tomorrow we’re going to put in a great performance in front of our crowd to try to win the game.”

Everton’s win and Newcastle’s draw might have given opponents an indication of what can stop Arsenal but it has done the same for Arteta. Facing off against an opponent who can try the same tricks on Saturday, we should get a sense as to whether the Gunners can adapt their approach to give yet more headaches to defenders.

Viewing information

  • Date: Saturday, Feb. 11 | Time: 10 a.m. ET
  • Location: Emirates Stadium — London
  • Live stream: Peacock Premium
  • Odds: Arsenal -225; Draw +350; Brentford +600 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

Featured Game | Arsenal vs. Brentford

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