FROM THE GTECH COMMUNITY STADIUM – Arsenal progressed into round four of the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win at Brentford on Wednesday.
Mikel Arteta made several changes from Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham but the Gunners remained fluid and kept the Bees at bay.
Thomas Frank’s side were unable to find a late equaliser and have now lost three games in a row in all competitions.
How the game unfolded
Arsenal took the lead with eight minutes on the clock. Zanka mis-hit a pass back to Ethan Pinnock, who was beaten to the ball by Eddie Nketiah and he selflessly squared for Reiss Nelson to finish from 12 yards.
Midway though the first half, Takehiro Tomiyasu made a heroic block to deny Vitaly Janelt after the ball fell to the German following a well-worked throw-in routine.
The visitors went close to doubling their advantage on the half-hour mark when Emile Smith Rowe wriggled his way past several pairs of trailing Brentford legs, only to be denied by Mark Flekken at his near post.
Brentford should have been level when Christian Norgaard danced past Arsenal bodies in similar fashion, teeing up Yoane Wissa with a wonderful curved pass through the Gunners’ backline, but the striker’s first-time shot sailed well wide.
The hosts cranked up the pressure after the break and struck the post through Wissa, with Ramsdale getting a the faintest of touches on his strike from the edge of the box.
A quick breakaway saw Nelson nearly secure a brace, meeting Kai Havertz’s low cross but stroking it narrowly wide.
Ramsdale then kept Arsenal in front with a low punch to push away a half-volley from Frank Onyeka. Tomiyasu made another key block to deny Saman Ghoddos from the resulting throw-in before Zanka had the ball in the net, though the flag had been raised for offside.
With under ten minutes remaining, Jakub Kiwior retreated superbly to block Keane Lewis-Potter’s shot off the line. But Brentford were ultimately unable to find an equaliser as Arsenal secured their spot in the next round.
GK: Mark Flekken – 6/10 – Made a few important saves. Kicking could still use some work, especially when contrasted with that of predecessor David Raya.
CB: Nathan Collins – 5/10 – Played some decent long-range balls but still a little unsure of himself in his new surroundings.
CB: Ethan Pinnock – 6/10 – Kept pace with the nippy Nketiah relatively well. Caught cold by Zanka’s pass for the early opener.
CB: Zanka – 4/10 – Never comfortable with the ball at his feet, leading to Nelson’s goal in the first half.
RM: Mads Roerslev – 5/10 – Crossed well when afforded space but was largely pinned back by Arsenal.
CM: Frank Onyeka – 5/10 – Hoofed the ball into oblivion and spent a lot of the evening chasing loose touches (his own or otherwise).
CM: Christian Norgaard – 7/10 – Broke play up and distributed it excellently in just over an hour of action.
CM: Vitaly Janelt – 6/10 – Brought needed thrust and guile to a midfield that lacked a natural playmaker.
LM: Aaron Hickey – 7/10 – Broke forward with pace and aggression. It’s clear to see why so many top clubs have been linked with him.
CF: Bryan Mbeumo – 5/10 – Failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck as he so often has done in recent months, particularly in Ivan Toney’s absence.
CF: Yoane Wissa – 5/10 – Energetically wasteful in the first half but improved after the break.
SUB: Saman Ghoddos (63′ for Roerslev) – 5/10
SUB: Mathias Jensen (63′ for Norgaard) – 6/10
SUB: Keane Lewis-Potter (79′ for Onyeka) – 5/10
SUB: Michael Olakigbe (79′ for Hickey) – 5/10
SUB: Kristoffer Ajer (82′ for Zanka) – N/A
Subs not used: Balcombe (GK), Strakosha (GK), Ajer, Yarmolyuk, Brieley
Thomas Frank – 5/10 – Brentford remain lost without Ivan Toney so far this season.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 7/10 – Didn’t let jibes from the home fans about being a ‘s*** David Raya’ get to him. Caught in possession by Wissa once but was generally calm with his distribution.
RB: Ben White – 5/10 – Played without much intensity and was guilty of a couple of lazy clearances.
CB: Takehiro Tomiyasu – 7/10 – Reliable and stubborn on a rare outing in the heart of defence.
CB: Gabriel – 6/10 – Cheaply gave away the ball on several occasions but was strong in the tackle and defended pretty well.
LB: Jakub Kiwior – 8/10 – Physically dominant. Did well to silence Brentford’s right flank from open play.
DM: Jorginho – 7/10 – Recovered from a poor start to have a solid game at the base of midfield.
CM: Emile Smith Rowe – 7/10 – Came alive when on the ball in the final third, though perhaps the main criticism is this wasn’t often enough.
CM: Kai Havertz – 5/10 – Kept things simple. Blocked a couple of crosses by virtue of being tall.
RW: Charles Sagoe Jr – 5/10 – Demonstrated technical brilliance but was unable to get in the game enough. Crossing was wayward and White bemoaned his lack of tracking back.
CF: Eddie Nketiah – 7/10 – Popped up all over the frontline trying to link play and bring others into the game. Grabbed an assist for his efforts.
LW: Reiss Nelson – 8/10 – Dazzled on either flank and grew in confidence after finding an early goal.
SUB: Oleksandr Zinchenko (69′ for White) – 5/10
SUB: Gabriel Jesus (69′ for Sagoe Jr) – 6/10
SUB: Martin Odegaard (82′ for Smith Rowe) – N/A
SUB: Mohamed Elneny (82′ for Nelson) – N/A
SUB: Cedric Soares (87′ for Nketiah) – N/A
Subs not used: Hein (GK), Walters, Sweet, Cozier-Duberry
Mikel Arteta – 7/10 – Arsenal were impressive despite the various changes to the starting lineup