Brentford B were beaten 5-0 by Arsenal Under-23s in Colney on Tuesday afternoon. The scoreline flattered The young Gunners somewhat, as Brentford's play often merited more while their mistakes were clinically punished.
Patrik Gunnarsson, Fredrik Hammar and Jaakko Oksanen returned to the side after spending much of preseason with Thomas Frank and the First Team squad.
The Bees started brightly and got a shot away within the opening three minutes. Cole Dasilva played a neat one-two with Gustav Mogensen and then set the ball back to the edge of the box. Hammar was there to strike it on his left foot, the ball looping up but caught by the Arsenal goalkeeper.
The home side threatened thereafter, keeping possession neatly before springing attacks through the gaps in the Brentford back line.
After 7 minutes, they tried to exploit the space left by Jonny Mitchell on the edge of the box. The Scottish defender closed it quickly and was able to cause enough trouble that the striker's shot was tame and handled by Gunnarsson.
With 10 on the clock, Dasilva might have broken the deadlock. Another inside pass off Mogensen left the ball in the fullback's path. The strike was low but the keeper got his feet to it and conceded only a corner.
Jaden Brissett and Mogensen thought they had cracked it when the former clipped a ball over the top of the defence. But for the agility of the centre-back, the Danish striker would have been one on one.
Arsenal scored their first goal after 18 minutes. Hammar gave away possession with a lazy pass from the centre of midfield. The Gunners countered and when Kane O'Connor was over committed halfway back to goal, Mitchell had a huge task to get back. He did close the gap but some fancy footwork allowed the striker to tuck the ball beyond Gunnarsson into the bottom left corner.
The hosts were relentless in their pressing game, getting every space covered as Brentford struggled to play a way into the final third. After 25 minutes, Nick Tsaroulla was on hand to clear a low driven cross that might have reached an attacker at the far post.
Half an hour in, Jayden Onen won it back on the edge of the box. Dasilva darted down the right for an overlap but the pass to him was slightly overcooked and the linesman's flag confirmed the fullback's cross wouldn't come to anything.
A neat one-two into the box saw huge potential for a second goal emerge after 34 minutes. Gunnarsson did well to stick out his leg when the shot came in and managed to keep the ball out.
At half-time, Arsenal were only one-up but looking slight favourites to finish things off. Mitchell was forced off through injury in the break and was replaced by David Titov.
The introduction of Matej Majka on the wing seemed to galvanise The Bees for the first 15 minutes of the second half. Joe Adams was also proving troublesome on the opposite side.
It was Adams who found Majka in the box in the first few seconds that then saw the Arsenal keeper need to make a good stop low down to avoid a leveller.
Adams then sent a fizzing cross into the danger zone after a minute of play, both Mogensen and Majka missing it by inches as it flew past them.
The Gunners were under severe pressure in the opening exchanges. Unable to break the line without an offside call, and the defence were doing a tiki-taka job of passing the ball around swiftly to clear space to start attacks.
A superb solo effort was stopped at the last after an hour, Oksanen tracking his man all the way to the edge of the box before making an inch-perfect challenge to rob him of the ball.
With 65 minutes gone it was the turn of O'Connor to show class defensive work. This time tracking a runner into his own penalty area, going to ground had to be just right and it was. The ball squirmed away with Gunnarsson able to clear it long.
Another mistake allowed Arsenal their second goal against the run of play on 67 minutes. A pass from Titov was picked off by a red shirt, the ball immediately forwarded. Two against one, O'Connor was passed around before the striker tucked his finish under the oncoming Gunnarsson.
Two minutes later, it was 3-0. Titov tried to find his left-back with a pass but it fell short and then he was beaten to the ball by an attacker. O'Connor was once again left exposed, this time a four-on-one situation ahead of him. Dasilva did well to get back and put of the striker but O'Connor's clearance off the line rebounded off Gunnarsson's back and trickled into the net. An own goal.
Brentford could have done better on their next counter attack, Adams winning it back but Christian Tue Jensen's ball over the top couldn't quite reach Arthur Read lurking on the far side.
Then the referee waved play on despite Adams taking a kick to the stomach as he tried to control the ball in the air. Dasilva needed a talking to from the officials as he protested throughout Arsenal's following attack.
Majka and Dasilva almost worked a fine opening after 77 minutes, a series of two-touch passes down the right wing that lead into the box. Dasilva pulled the trigger a few feet from goal but was not only met by a good save, the assistant also had his flag raised.
Moments later, Brentford thought the officials had gone wrong again when Adams was pulled back faced with a one-on-one in the final third. Instead, play continued only for Read to get brought to the floor as well. The game was only stopped after the assistant called an Arsenal counter back for offside.
A well-worked move on the right had Majka finding Read again in the final 10 minutes, the midfielder's shot stuck under his feet in the end. Red shirts managed to capitalise on the delay and get in the way of his shot.
With five minutes to go, Arsenal scored to make it four. The luckiest of the goals, but also the nicest to look at. A through pass stopped dead after coming off of Titov's feet, only to be hit cleanly into the top corner by the following Arsenal attacker.
With 87 gone, Gunnarsson was penalised for handling the ball outside of his box. The keeper saved the follow-up free-kick as it was clipped just over the wall towards the side-netting.
In the final minute, the home side scored a fifth. A simple cross into the middle evaded O'Connor and found instead the head of an Arsenal forward guiding into the bottom corner.
Brentford B: Gunnarsson; Dasilva, O'Connor, Mitchell (Titov h/t), Tsaroulla (Trialist 60); Onen (Read 60), Oksanen (Carré 60), Hammar (Jensen 60); Trialist (Majka h/t), Mogensen (Trialist 60), Brissett (Adams h/t)
Subs (not used): Andersson