"We are going to have to be at our best" - Frank and Arteta preview London derby
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on as Thomas Frank, manager of Brentford gives their team instructions during the Premier League match between Brentford and Arsenal at Brentford Community Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Brentford, England.

Mikel Arteta believes his side will "have to be at their best" to beat Brentford on Sunday. Meanwhile, Thomas Frank believes Arsenal are the "best performing side in the Premier League", behind Manchester City.

Last season, the Bees beat the Gunners 2-0 on the opening day of the season. It was a memorable day for the home side, as they started their Premier League adventure. Arsenal will be hoping to gain revenge against the hosts. The visitors currently sit first in the Premier League, and will be hoping to stay top going into the international break.

Previously, Brentford beat Leeds 5-2, whilst Arsenal lost 3-1 to Manchester United. The visitors will be aiming to bounce back from disappointment against an in-form Bees side. 

  • A Challenge for Arteta

Despite beating Thomas Frank's side at home last season, Mikel Arteta will be aiming to win at the Brentford Community Stadium.

However, the Gunners could not be in a more contrast situation compared to the last season. Arsenal started last season with three straight losses, but this season has seen a change of fortunes, as they won their first five games of the season.

Arteta is hopeful for a win, but believes they will have to be at their best to win. 

He said: "I think they are a really good side. What Thomas and the staff have done there, not only this year but over the years, is remarkable. The way they have performed and the results they’ve got against the top clubs, at home in particular, just sets the tone for what is going to happen on Sunday. We are going to have to be at our best to beat them."

Meanwhile, the Spaniard is hopeful the club's momentum will not stop, despite recent postponements.

He said: "What happened was for a really important reason. We are always available to play but there are police, there are authorities and other people who have to make the right decisions. We have adapted our schedule to be as competitive as possible for Sunday like any other team."

  • Ivan Toney's Success

On Thursday, Ivan Toney was called up to the England squad for the very first time. The Englishman has had a dramatic rise through the English Football League, and was finally given an opportunity by Gareth Southgate. After five goals in the Premier League so far, it is thoroughly deserved for the striker.

Thomas Frank was delighted for the forward and said: "I’m very pleased. It’s not often Ivan is speechless. He is a very confident guy who believes in himself. The journey has definitely not been straight-forward for him. He took a few detours on his path to the first call-up."

"His ability in the box and his link-up play is at a very high level. I think that Ivan’s potential is very much not at his top yet. The sky is the limit especially with the way he has stepped up this season."

"It’s a remarkable story. You can see the joy and the proud eyes when you speak to people in the club and our fans. It’s a much bigger moment than people understand."

Mikel Arteta was also full of praise for the former Peterborough striker.

The Spaniard said: "I think it’s a great story. This country has had a few stories like this in the past few seasons. It was the same with Jamie Vardy and how that happened I think it’s extraordinary. It means the opportunities are there again for everybody and that it’s just about showing quality, consistency and belief. It can happen at any age and I think it’s a great thing."

  • Frank fearful of the Gunners

Despite winning against the North London side last season, the Danish manager believes the Gunners provide a threat to the rest of the league.

The manager was full of praise for Arsenal, and believes his side will have to be at their best to beat them.

He said: "We are playing against a very good side. It was one thing to beat them a year ago. For me, now, after Manchester City, they are the best performing side in the Premier League."

"I said to the players today that we will need to be able to suffer and defend very well. If we do that then I’m convinced we will have our opportunities throughout the game. No doubt this will be our biggest challenge so far."

  • Ben White's Versatility

Last season, Ben White was primarily used as a centre-back. However, since the start of August, the Englishman has been used as a right-back in absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Although switching positions did not come naturally to White, it has still provided Arteta with multiple options in defence, and he believes it will only improve his team.

He said: "Obviously, it needs talking because when you are thinking about doing something to maximise the resources you have in the squad, to have some connections and other options to play the way we want to, you have to have the certainty that the player is happy to do so, that he feels capable of doing it."

"If not, it's just a waste of time. That has to go both ways. I had those discussions with Ben, he’s always been very open, I think he’s really enjoying playing in that position. That’s why he’s doing so well and I think it’s great for him at his age to be able to play in other positions."

"Both can play central defender as well. Tomi has been playing left centre-back for the Japan national team, when you look at his games he is great. He (Tomiyasu) can play as a left-back because you could not tell if he’s a right or left-footed player."

"So we have the options there and we have to utilise them in the best possible way, especially with the number of minutes we’re going to have in the next few weeks. It’s great that players are comfortable in more than one position."

Brentford host Arsenal at the Brentford Community Stadium on Sunday 12 PM BST. The Gunners will be aiming to stay top of the Premier League, whilst the Bees, who currently occupy eight, will be vying to jump into a European qualification position. Before the match, the two teams will pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

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