ARSENAL were beaten 3-2 by Brentford just days before their crunch restart clash with Manchester City.
Gunners fans had been buoyed by the way their side ripped Charlton apart in a 6-0 friendly win at the weekend, with youngster Eddie Nketiah blasting a hat-trick.
The loss could really put a dent players’ morale ahead of next week’s huge Man City game – with Arsenal still facing a real battle to secure a European spot.
The Gunners restart their 2019-20 campaign on Wednesday June 17 against second-placed City.
Arsenal currently sit down in ninth in the standings after a torrid season, full of sub-par performances on the pitch and controversy off it, including then-captain Granit Xhaka’s X-rated rant at his own fans.
Arteta fielded a strong team for the game at the Emirates, with Joe Willock and Alexandre Lacazette getting on the scoresheet.
First-teamers including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David Luiz, Hector Bellerin, Matteo Guendouzi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos all played.
The Gunners held a 1-0 lead at half-time as Willock fired home after Bellerin’s charging run.
But the Gunners’ defensive frailties came to the fore again as David Luiz was punished for attempting a needless flick in midfield, allowing Tariqe Fosu to level.
Lacazette put Arteta’s side ahead again with a smart turn and finish.
But late goals from Halil Dervisoglu and Shandon Baptiste sealed the win for the Bees.
Willock and Lacazette both also scored in the win over Charlton, with fans keen to get the midfielder into the team for next week’s game against Man City.
One fan tweeted: “Joe Willock 2 goals in 2 games perfect time to play him against City and send Ozil on the bench.”
Another wrote: “Willock angling for Mesut’s spot against City. Might be a good call considering he offers more pace on the break.”
A third added: “Lacazette and Willock score again… that’s something I guess.”