Arsenal’s Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest ever Premier League player aged 15 years and 181 days as the Gunners defeated Brentford to return to the top of the table. Mikel Arteta sent on the schoolboy midfielder in the closing moments with his side leading 3-0. Arsenal’s travelling fans greeted Nwaneri’s appearance by singing: “He’s going to school in the morning.” William Saliba set Arsenal on their way to a sixth win in seven top-flight games this season after the France defender climbed high to head Bukayo Saka’s corner in off the post.
It was 2-0 inside the opening half an hour as Brazil forward Jesus, a £45m signing from Manchester City in July, headed Granit Xhaka’s measured chip past David Raya. Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira capped a dominant Arsenal display by marking his first Premier League start since joining from Porto with a goal from 25 yards. Brentford were unbeaten in their previous three games and could have climbed to fifth in the table with a win, but they rarely threatened as forward Ivan Toney, who has been called up by England for the first time, struggled for service.
Arsenal had started the weekend top of the table but dropped to third after Manchester City and Tottenham won on Saturday. Arsenal were bullied in the corresponding fixture last season and tamely went down 2-0 against newly promoted Brentford on the opening day of the 2021-22 campaign. After that game, Brentford striker Toney made a slight dig at the Gunners by tweeting ‘nice kick about with the boys’, something Arsenal defender Gabriel was quick to revisit after Sunday’s win. This win, however, put the Gunners on 18 points, one more than their nearest rivals before their next match against Spurs in the north London derby at Emirates Stadium on 1 October.