© Reuters. Soccer Football – Premier League – Brentford v Arsenal – Brentford Community Stadium, London, Britain – August 13, 2021 Brentford manager Thomas Frank celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) – Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard got the goals as Brentford stunned Arsenal 2-0 in the opening game of the Premier League season on Friday but manager Thomas Frank said the home fans deserved the man-of-the-match award.
“I know after the play-off final there were a lot of proud people, a lot of tears. It’s been a long journey,” Frank said of the London club that lost in the playoffs nine times before finally cracking it last season.
“The fans were absolutely amazing. That was more than a 10/10 performance in terms of atmosphere. Constant singing. Amazing. If there was only one man-of-the-match, it’s the fans. I can’t name one of the team, they were all top.”
He was also pleased with the way his team stuck to their principles, playing at pace and taking the game to their big-name rivals.
“I thought we deserved the win. What I liked was how brave we were, pressing high and trying to play,” said the Dane. “The players were amazing, they ran themselves to the ground and played with intensity.
“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.”
It was a long-throw that caused mayhem in the Arsenal defence and allowed Norgaard to head in the killer second goal after 73 minutes.
“The ground was absolutely rocking today. As players it’s what you dream of in the Premier League,” Norgaard said.
“You play the opener of the season against Arsenal at home and you go out as 2-0 winners… it couldn’t have been written any better. It’s a dream come true scoring in the Premier League.”
Canos, who blasted in the opener after 22 minutes, said: “This is amazing, I’ve been dreaming about scoring the first goal in the stadium and these people deserve it, we deserve it.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, who was a ball of fury on the touchline almost from the start, had no real complaints as his side featuring several youngsters struggled to impose themselves.
“We started the season against a good opponent. I don’t think we deserved anything different,” he said. “They scored from a long throw-in and we didn’t have enough presence in the box.
“A lot of young boys were doing everything they can. For some of them it was the first experience in the league – that says a lot.”
The reason for some of them playing was the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who Arteta, seemingly unimpressed, said had been unwell.
He said he did not know when they would be fit to return but they are desperately needed as the club’s next two league games are against Chelsea and Manchester City.
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