Brentford 2-0 Arsenal: Bees too hot to handle for Gunners' defence
Shaun Botterill/Getty - Sergi Canos was lethal for Brentford

​​​​​​Brentford emphatically crushed Arsenal by two goals to nil on their first game in the top flight since 1947, scripting history.

On the opening day of the 2020/2021 Premier League season, the Bees exploited a sloppy Gunners performance who, despite presenting stints of attacking fluidity, were a mess at the back. They were unable to prevent Sergi Canos' flairsome strike in the 22nd minute and Christian Norgaad's dominating header in the 73rd.

Brentford were passing, pressing, and stamping their mark on the top flight. But such hunger was lacking from Arsenal, who begin the new campaign with a loss.

Story of the match

With Arsenal uncharacteristically passive, Brentford established control at the outset.

In the 11th minute, Ivan Toney came deep to win the ball and played through strike partner Bryan Mbeumo. The Frenchman sprinted through the right-hand side of the box, dazzling a slow Arsenal defence, and was through on goal. He thumped a powerful shot towards the near side of the net, but it rattled the post and rolled out for a goal-kick.

Then, 10 minutes later, the hosts struck gold. Arsenal's defending was sloppy and unassertive; they couldn't clear their lines and they made the mistake of allowing domineering defender Ethan Pinnock to nod the ball through to Canos on the edge of the box. The Spaniard swiftly cut inside, showing real flair, before darting it past Bernd Leno at the near post to put Brentford ahead. The Bees were fully deserving of their lead.

And Brentford did not stop creating there. Midway through the first half, Mbeumo was gleaming with confidence, and he was able to stride into the box neatly and surpass Pablo Mari, before scudding a shot wide across goal. 

Arsenal found themselves on the back foot more often than on the front, however the visitors were able to forge some chances. Folarin Balogun was able to fire at goal inside the 18-yard box several times, but these were aimless shots that did not threaten David Raya.

Brentford were pulling all the strings, whereas Arsenal were blunt, numb and insipid - a bag of nerves at the back.

However, Arsenal began the second half bristling with energy. Emile Smith-Rowe was the player for the visitors calling the tune - after evading a challenge from Frank Onyeka, he pushed into the centre of the box before blasting a shot at Raya. The goalkeeper may have parried the ball away, but Arsenal were then looking more dangerous with each and every attack.

Bukayo Saka, one of the stars of England's Euro 2020 campaign, was then brought on the pitch. The 19-year-old made an instant impact, laying it off for Kieran Tierney on the left edge of the area, who powered a shot at goal, only for it to be deflected wide by Kristoff Ajer.

But Brentford were then ticking again, doubling their lead in the 73rd minute. A spectacular long throw from substitute Sorensen was not dealt with by Arsenal's defence, dropping kindly at the back post for Norgaad to thump a header into an empty net.

Arsenal did their best to fight back, with Tierney bombing down the left-hand side to cross it on the ground to Nicolas Pepe. But Pepe could not hit the target and, ultimately, Arsenal's best was not enough today.

Man of the match - Bryan Mbeumo

Canos was unstoppable, Smith-Rowe was great for the visitors, but it was Mbeumo who was the best player on the pitch.

The 22-year-old was a nightmare for Arsenal's defenders. He may not have scored, but he was bombing up and down the pitch, creating opportunities galore. Mbeumo's power was able to surpass Mari and Ben White multiple times, and he gave us a glimpse of how exciting he can be going forward.

One to watch for this season.

One to have watched during this game.

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