Arsenal advanced to the fourth round of the League Cup on Wednesday after beating Brentford in west London. The Gunners only needed a lone goal from Reiss Nelson to pick up the road victory. A drastically changed lineup instead relied on solid defense and good goalkeeping by Aaron Ramsdale.
The hosts made just two changes to their starting lineup compared to their recent loss to Everton. Frank Onyeka and Zanka entered for Mathias Jensen and Keane Lewis-Potter. Arsenal, on the other hand, were forced to make a host of changes due to various injuries in the squad. Only Ben White, Gabriel, and Eddie Nketiah kept their place in the starting XI from the North London Derby on Sunday.
Arsenal grabs early lead in League Cup game at Brentford
Arsenal went ahead in less than eight minutes after the aforementioned Zanka accidentally passed the ball straight to Nketiah. The center forward then cut a pass back to Nelson inside Brentford’s box. The English winger collected the ball and slotted a shot easily by a diving Mark Flekken. It was Nelson’s first goal for the club since scoring a dramatic winner against Bournemouth in March.
Both sides had chances to add to the goal tally in the first half, but the match went into the halftime break with the Gunners narrowly ahead. Brentford’s best scoring chance came as Yoane Wissa found himself free inside the Arsenal box. The forward, however, sent his shot wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s post. Emile Smith Rowe nearly doubled Arsenal’s lead in the latter stages of the half as well. Nevertheless, Flekken made a quality save to deny the midfielder a goal.
Hosts come out firing in second half, but cannot find back of net
While the visitors were quite comfortable in the opening stages of the match, Brentford improved in the second half. Wissa nearly grabbed the equalizer for the Bees in the 66th minute. Ramsdale, however, was able to get a fingertip on the shot to deflect the ball onto the post and out of danger. The England international was starting in goal partially because David Raya is currently on loan at Arsenal from Brentford and was unable to feature on the night.
The Bees continued to push for a goal late in the game but could not beat the stingy Arsenal defense. Ramsdale and defender Jakub Kiwior made crucial blocks in the latter stages to keep the clean sheet intact. The Gunners will now advance to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Brentford will instead try to regroup after three consecutive losses in all competitions.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Action Plus