Right then, it’s match day, so let’s see what we’re up against with today’s evening opponents Brentford, eh?

Firstly, their team news, which sees the Beeds facing quite a lot of missing players due to injury, particularly at the back, where Rico Henry, Ben Mee, Aaron Hickey and Ethan Pinnock all remain out for this weekend. That’s quite a big blow for them as it means their back line is a makeshift one with Reguilon, Ajer, Collins, Jorgensen and Rasmussen probably making up their back five, then in front of them Norgaard Janelt and Onyeka in a three, with Wissa and Toney up top as the danger men. It’ll be a side designed to go long and have Toney tussle with Saliba and big Bill will be very aware of the threat that Toney posed last year at The Emirates. He scored what shouldn’t have been a goal, but they had a couple of chances before that, so our back line need to be prepared for a battle. Thomas Frank could also double down on that battle by playing Maupay from the start and so if that happens the boys need to be ready for an evening of sh*thousery as that little scummer gets in to us. We can absolutely bet that he’ll relish the boos of the home crowd.

So we’ll have to keep them quiet and pinned back to minimise the impact of their forward line options and for me that means that Arteta starts with the same in form line up. It is working, we are in a great run of form and scoring goals for fun, so why change it? Perhaps you could argue that with Tuesday night’s Champions League game against Porto there needs to be some player management and I’ve heard of talk of bringing Jorginho out and perhaps dropping Rice back in to the six to have the Italian international ready for Porto, but this is a guy who has been there and done it and I reckon he’s well equipped to play both. So my thinking is we stick with what we’ve got – barring the ineligible Raya and so you play Ramsdale, then we try to keep up our winning ways with the same team.

Let’s not expect another bulldozing though, I don’t think, because Brentford are well drilled, well coached and will be well prepared for what they will face today. At home at the G-Tech they dropped in to a compact setup against us and looked to hit us on the break with longer balls, so their game plan for today is already set. They have the second fewest progressive carries of the ball in the whole of the division, they’re the fifth highest launches of the ball from their goalkeeper behind Everton and the three newly promoted sides and when you look at their general passing from outfield players they also attempt the fourth highest number of balls long behind Everton, Fulham and Liverpool. So we know what our back line will face and that will be long balls bypassing the midfield for the target men to run on to. Then they will sit compact with their midfielders designed to protect the back five. When you also look at the average distance from where they have a defensive action, it’s second deepest behind West Ham, which highlights the point that Thomas Frank wants his players to remain compact and be difficult to break down.

Weirdly though, they do get goals, so they aren’t a team that are without potency. They’ve got 39 all season – which is mid table – but it’s the other end where they’ve struggle, as they’ve conceded 50, which is fourth worst behind all of the newly promoted sides. So whilst they do defend deep and this won’t be pretty, there could be goals there for us if we take our chances. Although having said that, I think this is going to be a relatively low scoring affair. If Brentford score first they will bury themselves in to their own box and look to flood it with their players, but if we score it could force them out a little more and create some space. Their threat will come from set pieces though, as evidenced by the fact that they have the second-highest number of shots that come from dead ball situations (free kicks, corners, etc). So when they get set pieces they normally at least have a shot as a result and that is where we will need to be switched on.

But we also know that we are deadly in that sense too and we lead the league with the most set piece goals, something which I’ve joked about on social media by calling us ‘Set Piece FC’ at times. That could be a very important part of the game today for us; both in defending and trying to minimise the threat Brentford play, but also if they are bunkered in to their own box with most of their team constricting space.

We’ll have most of the ball, it will most likely be played mostly in the Brentford half, but we should not underestimate this team, despite their poor form at the moment. They’ve won one in their last six, but in that time they have played Liverpool and City twice, as well as the Scum, so let’s not let the form guide lull us in to a false sense of security that they will be pushovers. I listened to one of the Brentford pods yesterday to get a feel for their fans’ expectations and it is pretty much “let’s just not get hammered”, but I do think that they should be expecting more; we may be in good form but I just think this Brentford side is designed to frustrate us and I think we might have to be patient today.

I still have hope that we can do the business though. It’s hard not to have that after the run we’ve been on. I know football doesn’t work out like that and this amazing goalscoring run we’ve been on will not last forever, so part of me is just waiting for that frustrating game to be around the corner and it may be today. But as long as we get the win that’s all that matters. This is the crunch point in the season and sometimes you just have to get the points on the board and move on.

That’s me done for today I think. I’ll be doing another morning pod with Amanda and James on the Same Old Arsenal pod at 11am tomorrow if you fancy joining us. You can check in on that here. Other than that have a good Saturday and let’s hope for the three points.