Brentford 0 Arsenal 3: Fabio Vieira nets debut goal as Mikel Arteta’s men secure comfortable win at Bees
MIKEL ARTETA once again leapfrogged above his old boss at the top of the Premier League table.
Quite how long Arsenal can continue this unexpected battle with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City remains to be seen.
But Arteta, a former assistant to Guardiola at City, will be absolutely delighted at the way Arsenal swatted away Brentford with such complete ease.
Particularly as it came after that first defeat of the season, a 3-1 loss at Manchester United, two weeks earlier.
William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and new signing Fabio Vieira scored the goals in a thoroughly convincing win which came despite playmaker Martin Odegaard having to withdraw after suffering an injury in the warm-up.
And so the next fortnight will remain terrific viewing for Arsenal fans.
At lunchtime on Saturday October 1, Arteta’s team will be at home to Spurs and it has been some time since the north London derby has featured both teams in the top three.
If Arsenal did win the League, it would be second only to Leicester’s title success in terms of a Premier League shock.
But what we do know is that we now have to take Arsenal as serious contenders for the top four.
Arsenal’s win here in west London came at the acne of their embarrassing 2-0 loss 13 months ago.
On that occasion, the squad had been hit by Covid and here, the squad’s lack of major strength was proved by the arrival of Ethan Nwaneri as a late replacement for Vieira. At the grand age of 15 years and 180 days, he broke the Premier League record .
If you need anything to feel particularly old today, take into account he was born in 2007 so was not even alive when Arsenal moved to the Emirates.
Arsenal’s fans sang: “he’s only 15, he’s only 15, how s**t must you be, he’s only 15.”
But what a terrific experience for a player who under Uefa rules, would not even be allowed to play in the Europa League.
After a scrappy start, defender Saliba got in front of Ivan Toney to deliver a glancing header from Buyako Saka’s cross via the far post.
Referee David Coote checked his watch to see that the goal-line technology had sparked into life to indicate the ball had crossed the line, despite a frantic effort by keeper David Raya to claw it away.
In previous years, Arsenal would then shoot themselves in the foot and concede a stupid goal.
On this occasion, they remained organised at the back and then produced a terrific move to score a second.
Kieran Tierney did well down the left but it was all about a brilliant ball over the top from Grantil Xhaka with Gabriel Jesus peeling off Pontus Jansson to score an unstoppable header.
Jesus then pretended to polish the boots of Xhaka but that was only after he copied Vinicius Junior’s dancing goal celebration at Real Madrid.
It was in support of the Brazilian who had received racial abuse over the goal celebration from Pedro Bravo, President of the Spanish Agents association.
And it was not long into the second half when Arsenal were able to salute another goal, this time Vieira whose took one touch to control a pass from Saka before unleashing an unstoppable shot from outside the area
A £30million arrival from Porto in the summer, it was a decent first start for Vieria. Unsurprisingly, Arsenal’s fans use the song they once sang for Patrick Vieira and it is the first time since that era in the mid noughties that Arsenal play with such belief and style.
Brentford keeper Raya produced two decent saves from Jesus and one from Saka to stop his team from getting properly hammered.
And Brentford could not have complained had they lost this game by four or five as they were never in it.
Bees manager Thomas Frank has a lot to ponder as this was a very un-Brentford type of performance, lacking energy.
It was also a disappointing game for Toney who was unable to make any sort of impact following his call-up to the England squad.
After Brentford’s win last season, Toney wrote on social media : “nice kickabout with the boys.”
In west London, all of Arsenal’s players could have tweeted exactly the same thing.