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Arsenal ended a five-game winless run across all competitions when they claimed a slender 1-0 victory away at Wolverhampton Wanderers last Thursday night.
Despite Gabriel Martinelli‘s bizarre dismissal midway through the second half, after receiving two bookings in the space of a few seconds, a 25th-minute tap-in from Gabriel Magalhaes was enough to separate the two sides and help the Gunners secure their first three points in 2022.
Mikel Arteta’s men are now positioned sixth in the Premier League table, four points behind Manchester United in fourth but with three games in hand.
With no European competition or domestic cups to consider for the rest of the season, Arsenal will be solely focused on finishing in the top four, and with plenty of points still to play for, Arteta and co will be confident of fending off their rivals for a Champions League spot.
Saturday’s game against Brentford is the first in a run of eight fixtures the Gunners will have against teams outside the so-called top six; however, they cannot take the Bees lightly after suffering a surprise defeat in the reverse fixture.
Arsenal’s opening-day loss was the first of three consecutive setbacks at the beginning of the campaign, which saw Arteta’s men plummet to the foot of the table at the end of August. Since then, however, only Manchester City (18) and Liverpool (14) have won more top-flight games than the Gunners (12).
With Arsenal boasting a 32-game unbeaten home record in the Premier League against promoted teams, they will fancy their chances of beating Brentford this weekend.
Arsenal duo Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf) and Bernd Leno (COVID-19) are both doubtful and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.
Arteta is, however, unable to call upon Martinelli following his sending off at Molineux, so either Emile Smith Rowe or Nicolas Pepe are set to start as a result.
Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey are expected to retain their centre-midfield positions, while Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard are likely to provide support in the final third for central striker Alexandre Lacazette, who is expected to get the nod over Eddie Nketiah.
As for Brentford, former Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen featured in a friendly for the Bees in midweek, but Saturday’s game will come too soon for the 30-year-old.
Injured trio Tarique Fosu-Henry, Julian Jeanvier and Mathias Jorgensen also remain sidelined, but Ivan Toney could return to the matchday squad this weekend after missing the last two league games with a calf injury.
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Frank could name an unchanged starting lineup against the Gunners; however, the potential return of Toney could see him start ahead of Yoane Wissa, while Shandon Baptiste and Frank Onyenka will both be hoping to force their way into the midfield ahead of Mathias Jensen and Vitaly Janelt.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Lacazette
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock; Canos, Onyeka, Norgaard, Jensen, Henry; Mbeumo, Toney