High-flying Brentford make the short journey across London to face league leaders Arsenal this weekend, in a match that presents the Gunners with a huge opportunity to further their lead at the top of the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s men are currently five points ahead of second-place Manchester City, but can stretch that gap to eight points with a win against Brentford on Saturday, with Manchester City then playing on Sunday. The Gunners are in need a win having lost their last two matches, and can get back on track against a Brentford side who they beat 3-0 when the sides met back in September.
For the Bees, a win here would be very significant in their chase for European football, with Thomas Frank’s side currently in seventh place and not far off from the Europa League places.
Arsenal have dropped points in only four of their 20 Premier League games this season, and have lost just five times in the 28 fixtures they have played in all competitions this season. But, two of those losses have come in the past two weeks, with damaging defeats to Manchester City in the FA Cup at the end of January and against relegation-threatened Everton last weekend.
The damaging effect of that loss at Goodison Park was mitigated by Manchester City’s defeat at Tottenham, which still gives the Gunners some breathing space at the top of the table. And while there is no need to panic yet, those defeats were a sobering reminder for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal that things can change very quickly, and will surely have the Gunners laser-focused on picking up a win to get back on track after their recent losses.
This London clash presents such a chance to do so, with Arsenal having already beaten Brentford 3-0 back in September, and they will fancy their chances of doing so again. And with Manchester City facing severe off-field issues at the moment, the Gunners know that they can gain a psychological edge over Pep Guardiola’s men if they can get a win from this round of fixtures.
Brentford come into this match on a very good run of form, with just two losses in their last ten fixtures in all competitions – and the last time that the Bees tasted defeat in the Premier League was all the way back in October away to Aston Villa.
The Bees will fancy their chances of picking up a result here, with impressive scalps over Liverpool and both Manchester clubs already claimed this season, as well as draws with both Tottenham and Chelsea. Thomas Frank’s side are a tough prospect to break down, only conceding 28 league goals so far this season, a figure that puts them joint-sixth in the table for least goals conceded.
The Bees are in seventh place at the moment, and their fans will surely be dreaming of European qualification come the end of the season. A win against Arsenal this weekend, while unlikely, will certainly help the Bees on that mission, and they will certainly try their hardest in ensuring that Arsenal leave the game with nothing.
Although Mikel Arteta’s men have faltered in recent weeks with defeats to Manchester City and Everton, we do expect them to get back to winning ways this weekend. The Gunners have been practically imperious in the league so far this season, and they should be able to sweep past a Brentford side who they beat pretty convincingly earlier on this season.
Brentford will not make it easy for Arsenal though, and they will do their best to cause problems for an Arsenal defence that has looked a little shaky in recent games.
The Gunners are priced at 4/11 odds to come away with a win in this fixture, with Thomas Frank’s men priced at 15/2 odds to get the 3 points.
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