We observed three things as Arsenal beat Brentford 3-0 to stay top of the Premier League table this weekend. The atmosphere was quiet before kick-off with supporters observing a minute’s silence in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The news of Thomas Partey’s return to full fitness was tempered by the absence of Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko, both of whom picked up injuries in training this week. Kieran Tierney started at left-back while Fabio Vieira replaced Odegaard.
The Gunners didn’t have to wait too long to score, with William Saliba heading in from Bukayo Saka’s corner to put the visitors ahead. Their second goal came from a familiar source, with Gabriel Jesus netting for the fourth time this season as he headed in Granit Xhaka’s delivery.
Brentford looked out of the game pretty early and the contest ended after half-time when Vieira found some space outside the opposition box and unleashed a powerful strike that deflected off the post into the goal to put Arsenal 3-0 ahead.
The North London side even had time to make Premier League history in stoppage time as Mikel Arteta sent on academy player Ethan Nwaneri, who is only 15, to become the youngest-ever player to feature in the English top-flight.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 18, 2022
1. Arsenal Look A Much Better Outfit Overall This Season
Arsenal lost consecutive matches on far too many occasions last season to mid-table teams like Southampton, Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, which ultimately saw their Champions League qualification hopes go away. However, this time against the Bees, the Gunners were right on it from the first whistle despite losing to Manchester United in their previous league outing.
Mikel Arteta’s side head into the international break sitting at the top of the table. Many feel that the signings Arsenal have made in the summer bolstered the squad depth available to the Spaniard. However, it is still not to the level Arteta will ideally want and he will look to strengthen further in the January transfer window.
2. Fabio Vieira Announces Himself To Arsenal Fans Against Brentford
Fabio Vieira, making his first Premier League start replacing the injured Martin Odegaard, crashed home a sensational third soon after the interval to open his account at his new club. The £34 million summer signing from FC Porto has had a slow start to his Gunners career after suffering an injury in pre-season.
The Portuguese midfielder told Arsenal.com:
“I’m really happy, of course, to score my first goal with this club. We’ve started this season really well and we need to keep doing this. Everybody plays, everybody knows what they have to do on the pitch and we need to keep doing this.”
3. Xhaka Redemption As Box-to-Box Midfielder
Granit Xhaka has almost completed the full circle with Arsenal supporters. Perhaps, there will always be haters who do not want him in the side. But the Swiss midfielder is doing all he can to prove them wrong.
Martin Odegaard’s absence meant he took the armband in west London, almost three years after he was stripped of the captaincy by Unai Emery. Xhaka is thriving in his new role as a left-sided No 8. He provided an assist for Gabriel Jesus’ goal. Former manager Arsene Wenger always said Xhaka was better as a box-to-box midfielder and that looks clear now.
📲 "What happened today… singing the song for me, it's a very, very special day. Thank you!"
We ❤️ this, Granit 😊 pic.twitter.com/QnwUnSLyCa
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 18, 2022
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Arsenal go back to the top of the table, easing past Brentford without really playing that well and they look a proper outfit for the title challenge. The Gunners’ last visit to the Gtech Community Stadium ended in a dismal 2-0 defeat on the opening day of the Premier League campaign last season.
However, on this occasion Arsenal were totally dominant, the victory underlining their recent improvement and sending them a point clear of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the Premier League table. Arsenal host city rivals Tottenham in North London Derby up next.
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