Arsenal are looking like they mean business this season. They swept past Brentford 3-0 to leapfrog Manchester City to go back on top of the Premier League which now takes a short break.
They started the weekend at the top but dropped to third after City and Tottenham won on Saturday but were composed and comfortable throughout against the Bees and ran out deserved winners.
They could have won by a far more handsome margin such was their dominance in the London derby. They were even able to bring on Ethan Nwaneri who became the youngest ever Premier League player aged 15 years and 181 days. Coach Mikel Arteta sent on the schoolboy midfielder in the closing moments at the Brentford Community Stadium with the result already settled and the travelling fans greeted his appearance by singing, “He’s going to school in the morning!” It was a brilliant chant to go with yet another brilliant performance from Arsenal.
They were sent on their way to three big points from a William Saliba header. The France defender rose highest to meet Bukaya Saka’s cross and the lead was doubled soon after. Brazil forward Jesus headed in superbly from a cross by Granit Xhaka and then early in the second half Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira capped a fine display with a 25 yarder.
Brentford looked strangely off the pace. They had smashed five past Leeds in their last outing and beat Arsenal 2-0 last season but never troubled the visitor’s goal. Arsenal are now on 18 points, one clear of City and Spurs and they face the latter on 1 October once the league resumes from the international break and it will be a thrilling top of the table clash.
Arteta’s side is full of grit, determination and character while Antonio Conte’s Spurs are made of similar stuff. It is going to be a fascinating battle between the two North London giants and whoever comes away with the spoils could go on to win the title. Sure, it is very early days and there are many games to come and many points to play for. But an early marker by either side would do their credentials no harm whatsoever.
Season to remember
Arsenal are looking like a well-oiled machine already and with the likes of Saliba strong at the back, Gabriel Martinelli pulling the strings and Saka cutting a dangerous figure every time he gets on the ball, it could be a season to remember.
At the very least Arsenal should finish in the top four which would guarantee them Champions League football, a competition they have not been in since 2016-17.
There is a long way to go, but these early signs are very promising.