Brentford boss Thomas Frank enjoyed a “crazy” introduction to the Premier League after they shocked Arsenal in the season’s opener.
The Bees announced their arrival in the top flight in style as goals from Sergi Canos and Christian Norgaard secured a memorable 2-0 win.
A below-par Gunners side missing captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette were deservedly beaten.
The Bees, promoted via the play-offs last season, have finally come full circle as their last match in the top flight, in May 1947, was a 1-0 home defeat against Arsenal.
Seventy four years is a long time to wait to get your own back and the Community Stadium – which opened a year ago amidst lockdown – was rocking as 16,479 fans, most of whom were not able to witness their promotion, finally got the chance to party.
Frank, who led his side around the pitch afterwards in a belated promotion celebration, said: “It’s a historic evening and it’s crazy that we’re opening the Premier League season by beating Arsenal.
“A full house, a top performance. Incredible. Nobody who was here will ever forget that. And I’m proud to be a part of that.
“I have such belief in this group of players, so even though I knew we were going to face Arsenal, a massive club with unbelievable players, I had a feeling I would be disappointed if we didn’t beat them.
“Maybe I could have have had a reality check, but it’s one game. The fans were electric.
“Maybe before this we had 100 fans outside west London. Maybe now we have a few more.”
Arsenal’s day started badly when Aubameyang and Lacazette went down with illness, and with Thomas Partey and Gabriel also absent, it was a far more callow Gunners side than boss Mikel Arteta had probably envisaged starting the season with.
Brentford did not have to wait long to open their Premier League account. When Calum Chambers hacked the ball off the byline, it came back via Ethan Pinnock to Canos, who cut inside the defender and buried a low shot inside Bernd Leno’s near post.
They doubled their lead with 15 minutes remaining, but it was a dreadful goal for Arsenal to concede.
They criminally allowed a long throw from Mads Bech Sorensen to bounce in the six-yard box and Norgaard arrived at the far post to head into an empty net.
The stadium went wild, the Brentford fans’ usual self-deprecating song ‘we’re just a bus stop in Hounslow’ now being interspersed with ‘we’re top of the league’.
They might not stay there for long, but Brentford have already shown they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal and Arteta have plenty to ponder, however. The Spaniard said: “We are really disappointed the way we started the season. Were they soft goals? Yes.
“I don’t want to use excuses. We had a team out there good enough to achieve a different result.
“We know we have to improve. We have big games coming up and we need a different performance to get a better result.”
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