From Gtech Community Stadium – Arsenal will head into the September international break as Premier League leaders after a comfortable 3-0 win at Brentford.
The Gunners picked up a hard-earned three points in the absence of injured club captain Martin Odegaard and were dominant in a fixture they looked toothless in last season.
Arsenal carved Brentford open during the opening two minutes with Gabriel Martinelli playing a neat one-two with Granit Xhaka through the Bees’ backline, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked by a sprawling Ben Mee and the ball rolled safely to David Raya.
The hosts began growing into the game largely through the pacy Rico Henry, who had a couple of searching crosses claimed by Aaron Ramsdale.
But the visitors took the lead after 17 minutes when William Saliba’s header from a Bukayo Saka corner looped in off the post.
Arsenal doubled their advantage just before the half-hour mark when a floated cross from Xhaka was headed into the top corner by Gabriel Jesus.
Saka skied a chance for a third shortly after when Pontus Jansson was robbed of possession, with the winger firing over from just inside the penalty area.
Just after half-time, Fabio Vieira scored his first Arsenal goal with a wonderful strike from 20 yards, ricocheting in off the inside of the post and all bu securing the three points.
Ivan Toney, who at this point had been nullified, fired a rehearsed free-kick routine over, with his arcing half-volley landing on top of Aaron Ramsdale’s net.
David Raya denied Arsenal their fourth, keeping Jesus out with his feet from close quarters, while he produced a stretching save to keep Saka out.
Substitute Mikkel Damsgaard then brought Ramsdale into a sprawling save after racing onto a through ball in the penalty area, and Brentford thought they had a penalty when Toney was brought down in the box, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.
Mikel Arteta threw on 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri in stoppage time as he became the youngest player in Premier League history by a considerable distance and Arsenal strolled to the three points.
GK: David Raya – 5/10 – Didn’t get anywhere near any of Arsenal’s goals. Kicking was a bit off for someone of his abilities.
CB: Kristoffer Ajer – 4/10 – Looked understandable timid on his return from injury.
CB: Pontus Jansson (c) – 3/10 – Beaten far too easily by Jesus for Arsenal’s second. One of his worst games in month.
CB: Ben Mee – 5/10 – Made several tackles, blocks and clearances but his efforts were futile in the end.
RM: Aaron Hickey – 5/10 – Slowed Martinelli down but didn’t have a meaningful impact going forward.
CM: Josh Dasilva – 5/10 – Had some joy dancing through the Arsenal midfield, but not a lot of it.
CM: Vitaly Janelt – 4/10 – For all of Janelt’s strengths, he just isn’t the imperious Christian Norgaard.
CM: Mathias Jensen – 4/10 – Sloppy on the ball and his passing was often wayward.
LM: Rico Henry – 5/10 – Brentford’s busiest outlet at both ends, leading attacks and trying to pin down Saka.
CF: Bryan Mbeumo – 4/10 – Would it shock you to learn that he didn’t have much luck beating Gabriel in the air?
CF: Ivan Toney – 4/10 – Completely shut down by Saliba.
Manager: Thomas Frank – 4/10 – Brentford’s game plan failed in all areas.
SUB: Frank Onyeka (63′ for Janelt) – 5/10
SUB: Mikkel Damsgaard (63′ for Dasilva) – 6/10
SUB: Shandon Baptiste (69′ for Jensen) – 5/10
SUB: Yoane Wissa (76′ for Mbeumo) – 5/10
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10 – Didn’t have a lot to do and he didn’t need to pick the lock in possession.
RB: Ben White – 6/10 – Found it hard to keep up with Henry at times but this wasn’t an awful performance by any means.
CB: William Saliba – 9/10 – Grabbed a goal at one end, a clean sheet at the other and kept quiet the man of the moment in Toney.
CB: Gabriel – 7/10 – Not always look happy in his duels with Mbeumo (particularly after straining his calf pre-match) but he got the job done.
LB: Kieran Tierney – 6/10 – A largely quiet afternoon up against his compatriot Hickey.
CM: Thomas Partey – 6/10 – Successful at keeping it simple, not so much when expanding his game.
CM: Granit Xhaka (c) – 9/10 – Battled his way through midfield and led by example.
RM: Bukayo Saka – 7/10 – Worked tirelessly off the ball and while he grabbed an assist from a corner, didn’t offer too much in open play.
AM: Fabio Vieira – 7/10 – A testing first half showed Vieira’s youthful deficiencies, but he responded brilliantly after the break with a cracking goal.
LM: Gabriel Martinelli – 6/10 – Similar to Saka in that his off-ball contributions were more meaningful than those on it.
CF: Gabriel Jesus – 8/10 – Wasn’t as busy as he has been this season but still led the line well.
Manager: Mikel Arteta – 8/10 – Arsenal’s defensive structure was crucial to their display. Arteta said he had plans to minimise Brentford’s chaotic threats and it showed.
SUB: Albert Sambi Lokonga (78′ for Partey) – 5/10
SUB: Eddie Nketiah (78′ for Martinelli) – 5/10
SUB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (86′ for White) – N/A
SUB: Marquinhos (90′ for Saka) – N/A
SUB: Ethan Nwaneri (90′ for Vieira) – ‘He’s got school in the morning’ chanted the jubilant Arsenal fans.