Arsenal dealt with Brentford with ease, returning to the top of the Premier League table after a 3-0 win at the Gtech Community Stadium on Sunday.
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The Gunners took the lead in the 17th minute when Bukayo Saka headed from a corner to defender William Saliba far from the post. Then, 11 minutes later, the advantage doubled when Granit Xhaka fired a cross into the box, and Gabriel Jesus headed in decisively second.
Shortly after the break, Fabio Vieira made it 3-0 on his full Premier League debut with a 25-yard strike. Mikkel Damsgaard’s low shot was saved by Aaron Ramsdale but Brentford offered little as Arsenal returned to the top of the table, one point clear of Man City and Tottenham.
1. Arsenal took a walk in the park
It was a tweet that manager Mikel Arteta used as motivation for this match last season when the teams last met in February.
“Good game with the boys,” striker Ivan Toni tweeted after Brentford’s 2-0 victory in August 2021, and a recent Amazon documentary shows Arteta using a screenshot of that comment in his pre-match conversation with the team seven months later which helped inspire a 2-1 win at home.
Sunday’s 3-0 win at Gtech Community Stadium may be more satisfying for the Gunners, given that they dominated from the start, never fearing danger after William Saliba put them ahead in the 17th minute.
All three goals were superb in their design and execution. Gabriel Jesus headed in a Granite Xhaka cross 11 minutes later before Fabio Vieira destroyed any chance of a Brentford comeback with a goal in the fourth minute of the second half.
Tony, who this week celebrated his first international call-up and became the first Brentford player to be named to the England squad since Les Smith in 1939, has hardly practiced all day. How late the Arsenal fans sang: “Ivan Toni, a walk in the park.”
2. Vieira debuts in full force
On paper, it looked like a challenging full Premier League debut for Vieira. With Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Roe out due to injury, Arteta turned to his £34m summer contract with Porto to play at eighth right in Arsenal’s 4–3–3 system.
Brentford’s furious pressing and physical prowess seemed like a big test for Vieira, who isn’t the biggest player in terms of height, and centre-back Ben Mee was keen to give the Portugal under-21 international a feel for what was in store for him, with a major test that had him crashing on the pitch .
However, the 22-year-old blended into the competition, tying the game up well and helping Arsenal maintain a near-total level of control throughout the match. The highlight was a 25-yard clean-kick that brushed against the left post of Brentford goaltender David Rye en route to completing a promising individual performance. Vieira is the first player to score on his Arsenal debut from outside the box during the Premier League era.
3. Arsenal will stay at the top until October
One of the questions regarding this Arsenal team is their ability to bounce back from adversity. The loss to Manchester United last time was their first loss of the season, but it was a decisive response, showing a level of control that showed the punishment experience at Old Trafford is far in the memory.
With Chelsea, Liverpool and United not playing this weekend, Arsenal had a chance to further extend the distance between themselves and their traditional top four rivals. These are very early days – and these teams obviously have a game in hand – but it will do a lot for the confidence of a group often blamed for instability to see them eight points ahead of Chelsea and nine points ahead of Liverpool. .
They even felt comfortable enough to bring in Ethan Nwaneri, who at 15 years and 181 days is Arsenal and the Premier League’s youngest ever player. In fact, he couldn’t change with the rest of his teammates because he’s still underage.
The international break means Arsenal will be first next month, but on the first day of play, Arsenal will take on third-placed Tottenham in north London. They can attack this huge task from a position of strength.
– Report: Brentford-Arsenal | Premier League table | Upcoming matches
brentford: Raya 7, Hickey 6, Ajer 6, Jansson 6, Mi 6, Henry 6, Dasilva 6, Janelt 5, Jensen 5, Mbeumo 5, Tony 5.
Subs: Onyeka 6, Damsgaard 6, Baptiste 6, Wassa 6.
Arsenal: Ramsdale 7, White 7, Saliba 8, Gabriel 7, Tierney 7, Party 8, Xhaka 8, Saka 8, Scallop 8, Martinelli 7, Jesus 8.
Subs: Lokonga 6, Nketiah 6, White 6, Marquinhos 6, Nwaneri 6.
Best and Worst Performers
BEST: Xhaka Granite. Used the ball wisely – for example, by setting up Jesus to be Arsenal’s cornerman – and reveled in the greater freedom of attack afforded him in a slightly modified midfield role.
THE WORST: Matthias Jansen. Failed to help Brentford get a foothold in the game as Xhaka and Thomas Partey led the away ball in midfield.
Highlights and Notable Moments
Nwaneri set the record on his debut.
Ethan Nwaneri, 15 years and 180 days, is on the bench for Arsenal in Brentford today! Well done with him! Where were you when you were 15??? pic.twitter.com/Y0DeWv4mgJ
— Julien Lawrence (@LaurensJulien) September 18, 2022
After Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr was criticized for dancing last week, Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus showed solidarity with his Brazil teammate by scoring the second goal.
Gabriel Jesus had a Vinicius-style dance party after his goal 🕺🔥 pic.twitter.com/H4DNnGaz5E
— Sportzshala FC (@SportzshalaFC) September 18, 2022
The Gunners were in complete control of the situation, and Fabio Vieira’s stunning strike made it 3-0 shortly after the break.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) September 18, 2022
After the match: what the players/managers said
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on Nwaneri game: “It was a pure gut feeling. I met a boy (and) I really liked what I saw. Per Mertesacker and the academy staff give me really useful information, Ed too. Yesterday he had to come because we have injuries, especially Martin (Odegaard) injury, and then I had this feeling since yesterday that if the opportunity presented itself, I was going to do it, and I just did it. step, another experience. In your career, all the steps will not go forward. After that, he may need three backs to go one more forward, but I think he deserved it. It sends a really strong message about who we are as a club as well.”
Xhaka told Sky Sports: “We have a different mentality this season. We have continued to work and train the way we play and we have a class with players who can make a difference. You have class ahead of you, and they matter. More than happy that we are on a good journey, but a long journey.”
Jesus told Sky Sports: “From the very beginning, we showed what we want to do in the game, create chances and score. I believe this is what we have done. He found me for a goal and I am so happy to play with him, he is a smart and quality player. The holiday was for my boyfriend Vinicius Jr, he needs to be stopped and it was for him.”
Brentford boss Thomas Frank: “We lost 3-0 to number one in the Premier League. I already said that they are the best team. I think we did quite well, not 10/10, but if you want to win or get something from the In-flight team, you can’t miss the first from the standard, and then the second … We lost, I hate to lose, they are the leaders of the tournament tables, you can’t argue with that, they played brilliantly. Looking at the quality, they should be contenders for the title.”
Basic statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information)
– By using Squokka: Arsenal’s previous 10 Premier League goals were scored with a left foot, with Saliba breaking the streak with a header.
– By using to choose: Saka has been directly involved in 37 Premier League goals for Arsenal (18 goals, 19 assists), he currently ranks second among all club players aged 21 and under, overtaking Nicolas Anelka (35) and only behind to him. Cesc Fabregas (63 years old)
– Mikkel Damsgaard gave Brentford his second shot on goal in the 72nd minute and the first in the 5th minute.
– Brentford made all four substitutions by the 76th minute and Arsenal didn’t make any until the 78th.
– It was Arsenal’s 6th win by 3+ goals since 2020/21. This is equal to the total number of such wins for the team in the previous 7 seasons.
– For the first time since April-May 2021, there have been four wins in a five-game away stretch (all competitions) in a single season.
– Nwaneri, born on 21 March 2007 (one year after the Emirates Stadium was built), became the youngest Arsenal and Premier League player at the age of 15 years, five months and 23 days.
Brentford: The Bees arrive on the south coast on October 1 for the match against Bournemouth starting at 10:00 ET before heading back to Newcastle next weekend.
Arsenal: The Gunners return home after the international break to host Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby at the Emirates on Saturday, October 1st starting at 7:30am ET. Then Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League ahead of the arrival of Liverpool on 9 October.