In the build up to the game in the pub beforehand, I was with Andrew, Neil and Jason and I spoke to the guys about how much I wanted the revenge for the first game of the season. Brentford caught us out with a physical display, on opening day, with players missing and then afterwards went super chirpy on how they expected to beat us,  that we weren’t very impressive, blah-blah-blah.

So I was desperate for us to get something from this game and as we waited for the line ups I reiterated this desire to the assembled beer drinkers I was sharing  my Saturday with. Arsenal needed this, not just for the points, not just to keep our run going, but so we could banish the ghosts of that opening day. I’d focused in on the need to play Tomiyasu and despite him being fit Arteta chose to keep Cedric in the side – a decision I wasn’t too happy about – but for the second game  in a row I have to say that I thought he acted as an able deputy.

It did probably help that Brentford essentially offered nothing yesterday. We started brightly, we controlled possession, we won the ball  back a number of times in their half and I thought our movement was decent. Brentford are a tough tackling  physical side and they set about challenging for everything, albeit there wasn’t really anything dirty that went on in the game. But They were resolute and because of our shoddy central striker options we looked like we were huffing and puffing a little too much by halftime without any real chances created.

Well, we didn’t created loads of chances that Raya had to save, but we did have a lot of shots, with 16 attempts by halftime. That was a big reason for Brentford going in level at the break, with the other reason being that fat cheat Jon  Moss and Lee Mason on VAR. Honestly I don’t thin k I’ve seen anything like what I witnessed yesterday in terms of repeat offences going unpunished. Lacazette was fouled inside the box – nothing given. Not even a look at the monitor. Ben White was larruped by Josh DaSilva in the box – nothing given. But the most disgraceful of all of the decisions was a cross by Cedric that was clearly handballed by Wissa. I know ball to hand and I get it, but when a players hand is raised as high as that was, in the position it was, the decision was as clear as day. It. Is. A. Penalty. Clear as clear is clear. But not even a look at a monitor. Nothing. Nada.

And I’m getting tired of this happening to Arsenal every week. We are getting shafted by refereeing shoddiness game  after game and there needs to be something looked at because it will start costing us more points than it already has.

Thankfully though,  yesterday was not one of those games, because in the second half we came out with purpose, drive and with our two young wide forward stars we put the game to bed. There was the last kick of the game goal to take the gloss of the game – of course that went to VAR (as it should  to be fair) – but it was our two young stars who stepped up and delivered the goods and did so with some fantastic finishes. The first one was Smith Rowe all over. Drive, close control, a cut inside and then a fantastic finish to slot the ball beyond Raya. We are in a luxurious position with our options behind the striker. Martinelli out suspended, but in come ESR and puts in what I thought was a man-of-the-match performance yesterday. He dribbled, he hassled, he caused problems all day and I thought he was a big factor in the victory, not just for the goal, but in build up too. He and Odegaard ran the show and the Norwegian is a guy I’m falling more and more in love with every week. On the ball he is just like a metronome, but he also finds players so well,  links play brilliantly and keeps us ticking over when in possession. You can see why Arteta loves him because he does what Mikel did in his pomp; he keeps possession and is the central point in our build up.

Then on the other side we had Saka delivering the goods again to make the game safe. Partey (also excellent) picks the ball up after a turnover in possession and men committed for Brentford further up the pitch, whilst Saka and Pepe break either side to ensure that the play remains stretched. Partey finds Saka and his finish in off the post is majestic. As usual I only really celebrated once I’d seen the replay because that is the life we lead with VAR, but Saka was clever to hold his run and accurate with his finish. Game over, 2-0, then it just became a matter of whether we’ll get more or don’t do anything stupid.

The goal they scored was unfortunate but if you’re going to concede an equaliser, let it come as the referee blows the final whistle. It means no chance for a final attack and we all breathe a sigh of relief.

It is another win and an important win and all eyes now turn to Wolves on Thursday. That is a massive game and we simply must win it, after the Scum skanked yet another winner with a last minute goal they didn’t deserve. Honestly, I hope all this luck runs out because that was the sort of game that should have been three points to City and see us move even more clear of them. But such is life. They have had three games in which they have played poorly and I hope they continue to do so because they won’t get that luck every week. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and as long as at least one of our rivals slip up each week then that’s fine with me. West ham drew and we are now level on points with three games in hand. The hope is that Leeds can do something today against United but I won’t hold my hopes up too high. But you never know.

Catch you wonderful people tomorrow.