In their recent Premier League face-off with Everton, Brentford faced a setback as they allowed Everton's James Tarkowski to haunt his former club, leading the Toffees to their first top-flight win of the season. Although Mathias Jensen initially equalized Abdoulaye Doucoure's opener with a splendid goal, Tarkowski's header and Dominic Calvert-Lewin's strike secured the win for Everton.
This result marked only the third time a team managed to beat Brentford at their home ground since the beginning of the year. Despite drawing with Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth, and Crystal Palace in home matches, Brentford has had a rather average start to their current Premier League campaign, ranking 13th with just one victory.
Jensen's goal extended Brentford's scoring streak to 14 consecutive games at the Gtech Community Stadium, following their last loss in a London derby to West Ham United in an FA Cup tie in January. Notably, they survived a close call against Newport County, securing victory from the penalty spot, which was a significant mental boost considering their previous penalty shootout loss to Gillingham in the EFL Cup last year.
Brentford had reached the EFL Cup quarters in 2022 and even played in a historic semi-final in 2021, although they were defeated by Tottenham Hotspur. Now, Arsenal is aiming to prolong Brentford's recent frustrating cup results against their London rivals.
Arsenal has some points to prove following a captivating 2-2 draw in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, where they twice surrendered their lead at the Emirates. Despite some defensive mishaps, Arsenal managed to secure a point, and manager Ange Postecoglou achieved what his predecessors, Nuno Espirito Santo, Jose Mourinho, and Antonio Conte, couldn't. However, Mikel Arteta had to contend with untimely injuries to key players and a costly individual error that gifted Tottenham their second goal.
Although there was a sense of frustration, Arsenal remains undefeated this season. The two-time EFL Cup champions have not won the trophy since 1993 and were eliminated in the early stages by Brighton & Hove Albion in the most recent edition. In their previous encounter with Brentford in the EFL Cup, Arsenal comfortably won 3-1 under Unai Emery in 2018.
INJURIES & SUSPENSIONBrentford has been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks. Following Rico Henry's devastating knee injury, which could potentially keep him out for the entire season, Kevin Schade also suffered a groin muscle injury while warming up for a match over the weekend. Schade is now set to undergo surgery and will be sidelined for several months. He joins a growing list of injured Brentford players, including Shandon Baptiste (shoulder), Ben Mee (muscle), Mikkel Damsgaard (groin), and former Arsenal prospect Josh Dasilva (hamstring).
Additionally, Ivan Toney, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal, has only served half of his eight-month ban, and Neal Maupay, who couldn't play against his parent club over the weekend, is now ineligible for cup matches after representing Everton in their second-round victory against Doncaster Rovers.
Arsenal, too, has had its share of injury woes. Manager Mikel Arteta had to substitute Declan Rice during the North London derby due to a back issue, and Leandro Trossard was a last-minute absence because of a muscular problem sustained in training. Bukayo Saka appeared to be nursing an injury as he was substituted towards the end of the game. Furthermore, Thomas Partey (groin), Jurrien Timber (knee), and Gabriel Martinelli (hamstring) remain unavailable, with the latter also missing out on the latest Brazil squad selection.
Aaron Ramsdale is expected to start in goal, as David Raya cannot play against his parent club. Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric Soares, and the now-fit Mohamed Elneny are all in line for a rare starting opportunity.
POSSIBLE LINE-UPSBrentford possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Roerslev, Zanka, Ajer, Hickey; Onyeka, Janelt, Ghoddos; Lewis-Potter, Mbeumo, Wissa
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Cedric, Saliba, Kiwior, Tomiyasu; Havertz, Elneny, Jorginho; Nelson, Nketiah, Smith Rowe
Brentford 2-3 Arsenal
The EFL Cup may not be at the top of Mikel Arteta's priority list this season, and some fans might argue, in hindsight, that an early exit could be a hidden blessing. However, even with several changes to the Arsenal lineup, they have an opportunity to take advantage of Brentford's fitness issues and defensive weaknesses to advance to the fourth round.