Sergi Canós has said he was nervous before Brentford’s Premier League opener against Arsenal on Friday and was in disbelief when his shot give the promoted side the lead.
Brentford christened their new ground, a year after it opened in lockdown, as a full house roared them to a 2-0 victory. The former Liverpool youngster scored their first goal in the Premier League and Christian Nørgaard headed the second on a memorable evening in west London.
“It was a fantastic night and the fans deserve it so much after the year we’ve had with the pandemic. We all deserve this,” Canós told the club’s website.
It was the 24-year-old’s second top-flight appearance, five years after coming on as a substitute in Liverpool’s final game of the 2015-16 season. “I felt nervous, I’m not going to lie,” he said. “It was the first game in the Premier League for a lot of players.
“We were playing Arsenal and we have so much respect for them. But we showed we are here in the Premier League because we deserve it.
“It was a tough game. They are a great team and they pushed in the second half. But the second goal made us a little calm.
“I hope this is going to be our fortress this season. I hope the fans do this every week because we need them. We are all one as a club. It’s going to be a hard league so we need their support.”
Brentford’s last match in the top flight was also against Arsenal, a 1-0 home defeat in May 1947. The spotlight is already on the visitors, for whom Ben White, the £50m signing from Brighton, endured a difficult debut, while his fellow defender Pablo Marí put in an error-strewn display.
Arsenal were missing their captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and his fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette through illness. With Chelsea and Manchester City next up in the league, though, they could well find themselves bottom come the first international break.
Arteta said: “My focus is with the players that we have to try to make them play as best as possible, to get the best out of the team and try to find a way to win football matches. It’s the same with the next one.”