Arsenal bypassed Brentford to remain at the top of the Premier League table ahead of the international break.
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Goals by William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus put them in the way in the first half and Fabio Vieira claimed a stunning win, as Mikel Arteta’s side responded superbly after their first defeat of the season last time out at Manchester United.
The win means Arsenal have won six of their first seven matches this season and are in the lead with 19 points, one point behind second-placed Manchester City. Brentford has nine points and coach Thomas Frank’s team did not race on Sunday.
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What we learned from the Brentford-Arsenal match
This win confirms Arsenal’s progressTheir shocking defeat at Brentford at the start of last season highlighted all the problems Arsenal faced. Just over 12 months later, this convincing win confirmed the progress they had made. Clear gameplay with a hungry, hard-recruited young side. Even with Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko out, Kieran Tierney and Vieira got off to a smooth run as Arteta’s side dominated from start to finish. They play with confidence throughout the team and after a few years of building, that’s what Arsenal wanted to become. The only problem was the fact that their squad looked so weak as a few injuries accumulated with two teenagers on the bench and 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest Premier League player in history when he turned up late in the game. With the start of the Europa League and League Cup looming in the weeks following the international break, Arteta hopes his side can stay healthy to make the most of all this positive momentum.
Energy levels in Brentford are unusually low: It was a real day for the Bees as they suffered their biggest home defeat since promotion to the Premier League. Thomas Frank’s team hasn’t been into this as it usually is about pushing high, forcing teams to make mistakes and pouncing on loose balls. None of that on Sunday was on a dim show with Evan Toni and Brian Mboimo cut out for large parts of this match. Usually Brentford
Xhaka, Barty give the Gunners a solid foundationA lot will be done about the movement and class of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Jesus and Vieira, and rightly so. But the solid foundation provided by Xhaka and Thomas Partey is not to be overlooked. Coming back from injury, Barty got the ball back again and again and Xhaka kept things going well and was always an option for Martinelli and Tierney in the inner left channel. With Odegaard out, Arsenal’s deeper midfielders needed to step up and dictated the tempo of this match and gave Arsenal’s talented strikers the platform to wreak havoc.
Arsenal were allowed to have a lot of the ball and that was probably Brentford’s biggest mistake. The Bees are fine at letting opponents out from behind and then pressing high to get the ball back but Arsenal often played straight with an initial pass forward and then put their stars on the ball very quickly. Getting over that pressure on Brentford is no easy feat, but Arsenal make it very clear.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
William SalibaHe scored with a header and kept Evan Toni cool and made some excellent interceptions when he played Brentford directly. What a start to the season.
Granite Shaka: Nice pass for Jesus’ decisive second goal and to wear the captain’s armband in Odegaard’s absence, he did all the little things so well.
Gabriel JesusBrilliant header, Brentford’s defense ran all over the place and Arsenal’s entire attack appeared when he’s on the ball.
Brentford travel to Bournemouth on Saturday, 1 October, while Arsenal host Tottenham on the same day in a massive north London derby.
How to watch Brentford vs Arsenal live, broadcast link and start time
Departure: 7 a.m. ET on Sunday
TV channel: USA Network
Connected: Stream via NBCSports.com
Winning the Europa League away from Zurich was a very good sign, but a win away to Brentford would be a great indication that Arsenal’s mentality has not been affected by their loss to Manchester United. And how would Arsenal react if it “behind” Manchester City or Tottenham before kick-off?
Meanwhile, Brentford played very good football, but Evan Toni and co want to assert themselves as one of the best teams in the Premier League and could see them keeping their serve against Arsenal by just three points behind Arsenal.
Players in shape you should keep an eye on
The attacking players have rightly gotten a lot of Arsenal love, but let’s focus on Albert Sambi Lukunga and Gabriel, who have become a mainstay for the Gunners and will be key to keeping the fortress if Thomas Partey can’t go.
The Bees is all about the concept of the team, but Evan Toni is already starting to seize his chance to become an elite striker in the Premier League. It is the complete package.
Brentford team news, injuries, squad
Sergey Canos is back in the team. Ethan Pinnock (knee) and Christian Norgaard (tendinitis) are still out, while Christopher Agger is back as well as Josh DaSilva.
Arsenal Team news, injuries and squad
Thomas Partey returns for this one, but Reiss Nelson (groin), Mohamed Elneny (groin), Martin Odegaard (hit), Oleksandr Zinchenko (hit) and Emil Smith-Roe (thigh) are all out. 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri on the bench with Arsenal.
Brentford-Arsenal match: Arsenal stay on top of the standings Originally appeared NBCSports.com