By Rob Kelly
Our final match of pre-season ended in defeat as we were beaten on the road by Tottenham in the Mind Series on Sunday afternoon.
With the start of the new campaign less than a week away, there was much intrigue about our starting XI and what it would say about how we plan to line up at Brentford.
Mikel Arteta named a strong side for this derby clash with Ben White making his first start for us and Albert Sambi Lokonga named in midfield.
The new signings both impressed during a tight first half, Lokonga neat and tidy in midfield with a controlled performance that belied his years, while White didn’t put a foot wrong at the back and always looked ready to push forward out of the backline.
We saw a lot of the ball during the opening 45 minutes, with Alex Lacazette going closest for us with a shot from the edge of the area that kissed the outside of the post.
But it was the hosts who had the two best opportunities of the first half, with Bernd Leno denying Son Heung-min with a brilliant, brave save early on, before Dele Alli struck the woodwork from close range just before the interval.
The Tottenham midfielder repeated the trick, this time from even closer range, just before the hour mark after meeting a free kick at the far post, while Sergio Reguilon fizzed another shot just wide moments later.
The home side eventually scored the only goal of the game when Son fired in from close range, and while we had half chances for Balogun and Bukayo Saka before the end, we couldn’t find a way back into the game.
With pre-season done and dusted, we’re primed to kick off the 2021/22 Premier League season with a trip to new boys Brentford on Friday night.
The last time we faced the Bees was in the Carabao Cup back in September 2018, with Danny Welbeck scoring a brace and Alex Lacazette also on target in a 3-1 win.
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