The Warmdown: Gunners continue their top four push with win over Brentford
 Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Brentford at Emirates Stadium on February 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Yesterday, Mikel Arteta's Arsenal gained another important three points in their chase for Champions League football next season, as they beat a forlorn looking Brentford side 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.

With goals from star men Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe secured the win for the Gunners, as they look to keep the pressure on those top four spots. 

The Arsenal now find themselves in poll position as we head into the final few months of the Premier League season. 

  • Impressive Football

The style of football being played by Arteta's men will do nothing but fill them with confidence as we head into the tail-end of the season. 

With Martin Odegaard now occupying and growing into the number 10 role, Arsenal have been playing some very impressive football. 

In recent games and yesterday in particular, the Norweigan midfielder has been at the heart of nearly every offensive move from the north London side. 

Both fluid in attack and suitably solid at the back, this Gunners side illustrate a stark contrast to the outfit they were just a year ago. 

Performances such as this have been increasing in frequency over the last few months, as the manager's ethos and tactical setup is starting to show in the Gunners on-field displays.

  • The Rundown 

To say that Arsenal dominated the first 45 minutes would be a gross understatement, as they attempted 35 crosses and amassed nine corners in the opening half of the fixture. 

However, all the pressure was to no avail, as the sides went into half-time at 0-0. 

But it did not take long for the Gunners to find their breakthrough in the second half, as in the 48th minute, captain Alexandre Lacazette found Smith Rowe probing on the left flank. 

The England international drove forward and cut inside in typical fashion, beating two Brentford defenders, to go on and and cooly slot the ball into the bottom right hand corner - sumptuous. 

Smith Rowe is now Arsenal's top scorer this season, with 10 goals in all competitions - 9 of these coming in the PL. He is the first Arsenal midfielder to score 10+ goals in one season since Aaron Ramsey did so in the 2017/18 season. 

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)


The hosts held their 1-0 lead for the majority of the second half, standing strong defensively as Brentford sought to find a way back into the tie. 

But upon the 78th minute, The Arsenal doubled their advantage through 'starboy' Bukayo Saka

Following a quick turnover of possession in the middle of the park, Thomas Partey drove forward to find Saka driving in on the left-hand side. 

After a couple of neat touches, the 20-year-old launched a rocket of a shot towards the far corner, cannoning in off the post, to make it 2-0 to the north London outfit. 

With the benefit of hindsight, Arteta and his squad will be relieved to have gone two goals up, as in the third minute of stoppage time, Brentford found the goal that they had been looking for all afternoon. 

A shot into the area ricocheted off a number of players in confusing fashion, dropping to Christian Norgaard, who placed the ball past Aaron Ramsdale to deny him his 12th clean sheet of the season. 

The goal was originally ruled out for offside, but after a lengthy VAR check, the goal rightly stood, but it was too little too late for the visitors, as the referee blew for full-time just a minute after it was given. 

  • VAR Controversy (again)

Now it wouldn't be an Arsenal fixture in 2022 without its fair share of dispute regarding VAR and its application, would it? 

There were four individual incidents that were hotly debated online, the first of which coming in the first half.

Alex Lacazette was brought down in the box after being caught in between two defenders challenging for the ball. I personally have watched this back a number of times, and I still can't quite figure out how a penalty wasn't given. 

A very similar incident happened within the same passage of play, as Benjamin White was kicked by Brentford's Josh DaSilva. Again, I'm really not too sure how this one wasn't given.

Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)


The most obvious of the officiating errors came late on in the first period, as Cedric fired a shot towards goal, striking the arm of the sliding Yoane Wissa.

The forward looked sheepish as he got to his feet, undoubtedly relieved when he saw Jonathan Moss wave for play on. 

The fourth and final contested issue came towards the end of the tie, as substitute Nicolas Pepe was brought down in the box following a sliding challenge. In fairness, the contact was minimal, but should that matter? Probably not. Did it matter? Of course it did. 

  • Looking ahead

Despite the questionable officiating, the Gunners managed to hold on to their slender lead to take maximum points from the fixture. 

They now find themselves in sixth place, level on points with West Ham in fifth, and a single point behind Manchester United in fourth, who face Leeds this afternoon. 

Despite being behind these two teams, Arsenal have three games in hand, and Arteta will be hell-bent on capitalising on their positive position as he looks to deliver Champions League football to the red side of north London for the first time since 2017. 

Next up, Arsenal play host to Wolves, who will be looking to put right their recent loss to Arteta's side at Molineux

The Gunners will be looking to take all three points again on Thursday evening, as they continue their battle for that final CL place. 

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