'Unbelievable' Atmosphere as Brentford Return
Seventy-four year absence from the top division ends with a win
Sergi Canos celebrates the first goal of the Premier League season. Picture: Brentford FC
Seventy-four years ago on 26 May 1947 Brentford played Arsenal at Griffin Park and defeat condemned them to relegation from the top flight of English football.
They finally returned this Friday night against the same opponents to start the Premier League season and the result was very different with the Bees winning 2-0.
Social distancing not required, nearly 16,500 fans packed the Brentford Community Stadium as Brentford became the 50th team to play in the Premier League and for the first time ever, the opening game of the season was played in a brand new stadium.
There was no question of Brentford being overawed by the occasion and a goal in each half sealed a deserved victory although Arsenal supporters will point out that the absence of key players such as Aubameyang and Lacazette blunted their threat.
Although the Gunners dominated the early stages of the game they created few clear cut chances. Midway through the first half Sergi Canos scored the opening goal of the league season becoming the first Brentford player to score in the top division since Len Townsend.
Arsenal started the second half with more intent and opened up the Brentford defence on more than one occasion but the Bees were getting the better of the game and a Christian Norgaard header doubled their lead with 17 minutes remaining. Although Arsenal subsequently forced David Raya to make a spectacular save the result never seemed in doubt.
On 59 minutes Bukayo Saka was brought on by Arsenal which brought the whole crowd to its feet to applaud the player who had excelled at the Euros for England only to be subject to racist abuse for missing a penalty in the shoot out with Italy. The teenager grew up in Greenford, a short bus ride from the Brentford Community Stadium.
After the game, Brentford manager Thomas Frank praised the players, the fans and the club start and said that the atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable adding, “What a night. What a performance. We’ve just opened the Premier League season worldwide, we’ve just beaten Arsenal one of the biggest clubs ever fair and square, two-nil and we are top of the league. What’s not to like?”
August 14, 2021