Gary Neville has called out Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for not doing enough work without the ball. Both players were absent from the Gunners team which faced London rivals Brentford.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta cited that his two forwards were not in the squad because of illness.
But Neville reckons the Gunners may be brighter without two of their leading figures.
“I think the most excited I was last year when I watched Arsenal was when three Brazilians and Martinelli came in,” Neville said.
“I feel more optimistic seeing that team [without key players] the energy Brentford and this crowd has will need to be matched.
“We know that Aubameyang and Lacazette are world-class players but their work without the ball isn’t as good as it should be.
“I’m optimistic about Arsenal, I feel more excited the fact that they’re not playing because I’ve seen them before as good as they are.”
Explaining Lacazette and Aubameyang’s absence, Arteta said: “[Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette] feel unwell, that’s all I can say.
“Instead of thinking of excuses, we think of solutions so that’s what we will do today.
“It is a really young [Arsenal] team, full of excitement and energy and that’s what I want to see on the pitch.
“To have that record that’s a great credit to the manager, it doesn’t feel like there’s a buzz going into this season, maybe the transfer business.
“There are a few things to be optimistic about the defensive record, it’ll be interesting to see if they can take it into this game.”