Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal were second best in their opening-day defeat at Brentford but has called for “cool heads” in the aftermath.
The Bees marked their Premier League bow with a memorable 2-0 victory over a tepid Arsenal on the opening night of the new season.
“New season, same old story,” remarked Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher on commentary and it does not get much easier for Arsenal in the Premier League; they host Chelsea and then go to Manchester City.
Arteta, whose team had 22 shots in the game but only four on target, criticised his team for not doing the basics correct and did not want to use Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette’s absence due to illness as an excuse.
He told Sky Sports: “I’m disappointed. It’s not the way we wanted to start the season. We didn’t start well, conceding a goal in an isolated incident. We didn’t cope well with the second balls or long balls. And that’s all they needed to create problems for us. Then we conceded from a long throw.
“The biggest worry was our threat in front goal. The amount of times we got around the box and got in great situations but it wasn’t enough threat or shots on target. If you don’t do that in the Premier League then you won’t win.
“I don’t want excuses – we missed players but I don’t like to hide.
“We were not good enough to beat them. We did not do the basics. We have started in a disappointing way but we will review and speak with cool heads and try to put it right as soon as possible.”
One of those incidents came in the defending from Brentford’s goal. From Mads Bech Sorensen’s long throw, Ivan Toney got ahead of Ben White – a £50m summer signing – for the flick on, allowing Christian Norgaard to simply head home a few yards out. Replays showed goalkeeper Bernd Leno was being pinned by Pontus Jansson but no foul was awarded.
Arteta said: “They put someone on the ‘keeper, they hold the keeper but it’s no free-kick. It’s allowed in the Premier League.”
Frank: We are just a bus stop in Hounslow…
Amid a celebratory atmosphere for Brentford’s first top-flight game since 1947, and the first in front of a full house at their new stadium, the Bees were aggressive all over the pitch and fully deserved the three points.
Bees boss Thomas Frank praised his side’s bravery and said they deserved to revel in their opening win.
He said: “The fans were amazing, what an atmosphere. I’m a bit speechless. First time in the top flight, we are opening the Premier League season, fans can dream we are number one in the Premier League. It’s a fantastic story.
“We are just a bus stop in Hounslow, we are not supposed to be here. We will celebrate every win, but we want more.
“I think the players today were amazing, they ran themselves to the ground, played with intensity, they were brave and pressed high constantly.
“On set-pieces I thought we were better, that’s why we did long throws and at times we could go high and knew that we could win the ball and create chances.”