Elation and eruption were the two words to describe Brentford’s atmosphere during their debut Premier League game at the Brentford Community Stadium.
For a stadium with a capacity of just over 17,000, the raucous jubilation at the final whistle of the Bees 2-0 win over Arsenal felt more like that of a 60,000 seater ground.
The noise in the ground was deafening as Bees’ fans came to the new stadium in their droves with the anticipation of history being made in an already historic season.
The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ was the soundtrack on a scintillating night in West London that saw little Brentford dismantle the Gunners in their new fortress.
Despite being in brand-new and untouched territory both on and off the pitch, Brentford bullied Arsenal from the first whistle, sending out a message that they are more than at home among the rest of English football’s elite.
Previously derided as ‘Just a bus stop in Hounslow’ by near-neighbours QPR, it is Brentford’s time to shine as Thomas Frank’s side did anything but park the bus, oozing attacking impetus and high-intensity pressing throughout.
Sergi Canos’ 22nd minute strike continued to set the tone in what felt throughout as inevitable, even when the abject Arsenal tried to rally in vain at the start of the second-half.
Although Arsenal dominated possession, they only managed to have four shots on target out of a possible 22 – one less than Brentford’s total of three out of eight attempts on goal.
Brentford were ruthless and clinical and their second goal showed guile as Christian Norgaard headed home from a long throw straight out of a training ground routine.
The 3-5-2 formation enabled Thomas Frank’s side to conjure magic through a concoction of long balls into the front two as well as playing the ball out from the back and taking the game to their bewildered opponents.
Individually, Brentford’s players were not overawed by the historic occasion, holding their nerve and coolly standing up to every test that came their way – albeit from a lacklustre opposition.
The backline of Ethan Pinnock, Pontus Jansson and Kristoffer Ajer stood their ground and although the latter was forced off injured mid-way through the second half, Mads Bech Sorensen slotted in like a glove.
Summer signing Frank Onyeka, affectionately nicknamed ‘Frank the Tank’, put in the hard yards in the middle of the field which helped to offset the long-term absence of the injured Josh Dasilva while upfront Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney continually ripped Pablo Mari and Ben White apart.
Mbeumo’s constant runs in behind the Arsenal defence wreaked havoc whilst Toney’s sheer strength and defensive work in his aerial and ground battles saw him win an astounding twelve duels with six of them being in the air.
Of course, the win over Arsenal is just the start of Brentford’s Premier League journey and Thomas Frank will not be naive in thinking the campaign will be anything but gruelling with plenty of bumps in the road.
Tougher tests will lie ahead but the sense of the unknown in Brentford’s style of play will definitely catch a lot of teams by surprise along the way.
With Mads Roerslev being the only recognised right-back at the club, expect at least another foray into the transfer market before the window shuts at the end of the month to alleviate any potential burden on the 22-year-old’s shoulders.
Nevertheless, Brentford Football Club and its fans should savour the moment and the weekend and not think about the future.
A new chapter has begun in what feels like a dream-like fairytale for the club – one that Friday night’s showing suggests Brentford are not ready to wake up from any time soon.