Composed, controlling, professional, exceptional, dominant...and the list goes on to describe Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford today. The Gunners never really had to get out of second gear to down the Bees and that’s not because the home side were poor. Arsenal were just that good. Mikel Arteta’s side go into the international break deservedly atop the Premier League table.
There really isn’t anything negative or critical to say about Arsenal on the afternoon. It was a complete performance, exactly what you want to see from a side coming off a disappointing result. Last season, Arsenal lost matches in bunches — one loss turned into three on the bounce. It’s a sign of growth that the Gunners were able to back up a bad performance with a masterful one.
Granit Xhaka was imperious at both ends of the pitch. He lofted a gorgeous chip to Gabriel Jesus for the Arsenal second goal and put in critical, last-ditch tackles in the Gunners’ box. William Saliba, who scored the first goal from a near post header on a corner, was magnificent, as we’ve almost come to expect from him. Gabriel Magalhaes was back to his usual, solid self. Ben White was great, and it was his overlapping run that created space for Bukayo Saka to pass to Fabio Vieira for his worldie of a strike for the Arsenal third.
But Ethan Nwaneri’s cameo appearance might steal the headlines for the day, even with how well Arsenal played. At 15 years, 181 days, he became the youngest player in Arsenal, Premier League, and English top flight history. He may only have touched the ball once, blocking it out for a throw-in, but that doesn’t much matter. What an incredible moment for him and for Arsenal.
Arsenal got well-earned revenge for the 2-0 loss at Brentford to start last season. They laid down a marker for the rest of the Premier League that they’re a bonafide contender, probably not for the title, but absolutely for the Top Four, and maybe even for second.
North London Derby up next after the international break. Let’s go.