Brentford 0-3 Arsenal: a nice kick about with the boys

Arsenal exorcized the 2-0 defeat they suffered in the opening game of last season with a comfortable and complete 3-0 win. Goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus, and Fabio Vieira and a commanding defensive performance from William Saliba (man of the match) saw the Gunners return to the top of the table.

It tooks just 16 minutes for Saliba to open the Arsenal account with a wonderful flicked header from a corner, their 5th goal from a set play this season. Ten minutes later Jesus piled more pain on the Bees with a delicious headed goal from a Xhaka cross. And Fabio Vieira hit an incredible long-range shot off the post to finish the game 3-0. Some good defending by Saliba was required at the end of the match to keep the clean sheet and erase the memories of last season.

At no point in this game did Arsenal struggle and the only blot on the copy book was that Xhaka got a yellow card for ridiculously fouling the Brentford keeper when he was trying to play the ball in and Jesus picking up his 4th yellow of the season for his only foul in this game. There may be a few moments of concern in terms of fitness as both Ramsdale and Gabriel went down looking for treatment while rubbing various muscles in their legs.

Arteta fired up a virtual cigar in the 90th minute when he brought on 15 year old Ethan Nwaneri. Nwaneri is not only the youngest ever Arsenal player (beating Cesc Fabregas by over a year) – at 15 years and 181 days he is the youngest ever player to play in the Premier League beating previous record holder Harvey Elliot. Nwaneri recorded 1 touch according to Opta (at the time of publication). The match also marked the full Premier League debut for Fabio Vieira and his debutant goal. Eddie Nketiah also hit a landmark, making his 100th appearance for Arsenal.

The crowd was mostly quiet and polite allowing Arsenal supporters to sing their full repertoire of songs, though the Brentford supporters did boo every touch by Thomas Partey and booed him off the pitch when he was subbed.

Arsenal’s next match is October 1st after the international break. They face Tottenham Hotspurs who ran rampant over the passive Leicester City on Saturday.



  1. I’m enjoying watching this team immensely. Bursting with talent, youth and enthusiasm and having truly forged a bond with supporters, it’s been a fantastic few weeks.

    Yes, we are flat track bullies right now with all but one of our victories coming from bottom half teams and we lost at Old Trafford, as we usually have done for the last decade-and-half. But we’re beating the teams we are expected to beat and that a huge difference from last year.

    What we need now is to pull an upset or two. We do that, and we can really achieve some things in this fractured and odd season.

  2. We played with real authority. Barely missed Ode, our string puller in chief. Great to have Partey back. He purred like highly tuned racecar, as usual. Saka looked refreshed by the break. Super hit from Vieira, who I’ve really been looking forward to seeing. And hey, we could even afford to blood a 15 year old.

    Notwithstanding his obligatory stupid yellow, Xhaka was superb again. said it before, and I’ll say it again. Mikel’s transformation of the player in the Arsenal setup is — for me — his best piece of work as a tactician.

    We needed a response and we got one. The delay may have helped. Top of the table, baby!

    p.s. Spurs look scary solid. They’re a top 3 side this season, I reckon. #2 and #4 will be interesting.

  3. I have mixed feelings seeing Xhaka lead Arsenal out. He’s balling out of his skin, and clearly has the respect of the dressing room. Safe to say though that no other player would have survived the tantrum, let alone come back as captain. Reminder… we were behind an a game, his number came up, and he was dawdling off the field. Players practically jog off to help their team. He obviously wasnt pleased about being subbed, and made it about him, rather than the needs of the team. Some in the crowd jeered.

    That’s when he tossed away the armband, yelled “f*** you” at the fans, yanked off his shirt and tossed it away, ignored Emery’s hand and marched off down the tunnel. Worse — he was captain then — he drove away from the ground without sitting on the bench in solidarity with the rest of his team.

    So as much as I’ve warmed to Xhaka asa player and even as a person, I will retch at the sight of him wearing the captain’s armband for Arsenal Football Club. And it shows double standards. Late coming is a reason to go nuclear on one captain; Xhaka’s actions — worse actions, in my view — are deemed redeemable. But hey, it is what it is. He led us to a win, so Im happy.

    1. A year ago I would agree with you 100%. However, the renaissance of Xhaka is my favourite thing about this lovely team of young, exciting players. He was done, he lost all his respect among the fans, yet he understood his mistake, made a great effort, improved his game and now he is a real leader of the team – we can see it now on the pitch, not only hear from the manager or other players. I love the story and that he found a way back to our hearts and deserves fully to hear his name sung from the stands. He makes other players around him better, he is fully commited and one of the reasons Arsenal dominates matches so nicely this season.

      His story is a story of my love to the team. Tired during Emery’s era, disconnected from the players, now I fully enjoy this group and I bloody love to watch them.

      1. Fair points. And good points too.

        I think that he not only that crossed the line, but went way, way over it. To me, the worst thing about his actions was not giving a f*** about how the game turned out… a game from which we desperately needed points. That’s not leadership. A good leader makes it about the team, not himself. As I said I’ve warmed to him, but not to the extent of watching him reclaim the armband he tossed away. I’ve kept the 2 things separate, but it is what it. If his leading the team correlates with on-field success, then it likely won’t be an issue for me for long.

        But hey, he was excellent today, and Im enjoying his tactical renaissance. Im enjoying this team’s play as well. What a difference a year makes. For that reason, loved Tim’s tongue in cheek headline.

        1. I get your point. I agree he crossed the line and as for a consumed professional it was unacceptable. Yet, showing these emotions was really human too. We often can’t hold emotions in our relations, even at work. These guys are often random guys who are talented and lucky to perform on the biggest stages of the football world. Not robots, but human beings. I feel like he has matured a lot over the last two years. That he understands his mistakes and wants to evolve.

          As for the armband, get your point. It should be an impeccable leader, a role model, a Roger Federer type of the sportsman to have such a privilege at such a great club. Xhaka has scars of the past in him but giving him an armband leaves for me another message – that if you really care and commit 100% to the Arsenal, you can make a mistake and still find your redemption and a place back in this great community. I don’t know if it may attract players, but I would look at his example and think this is a place I can make my football career and belong.

    2. Guess you are missing the part where Arteta said everybody started with a clean slate when he came in. Also, the online harassment his family had been receiving and the dysfunctional working environment in and outside the dressing room that was going on contributed. I actually respected him when he refused to apologize and if my memory serves me right, when he issued a statement it wasn’t contrite. Showed balls and belief.
      So he had a bad moment as you have stated and for me it was redeemable. It wasn’t like it was rape or racist stuff or (insert crimes).

    3. On the double standards point: Artera mentioned multiple times that the start of his tenure is a clean slate for the players. What they’ve done before is gone, what they do from now on is what matters. Xhaka’s transgression happened before Arteta was coach, Auba’s happened after. That’s the difference.

      1. ehhh… not 100% true. Arteta kept a list of Auba’s previous transgressions and the club briefed their insider reporters on them when they took the decision to pay Auba to go score goals for Barcelona and then make money for Barcelona in the transfer window.

        1. Have to disagree with this. “Previous transgressions” are the operative words. For Auba, this was a repeated pattern of actions demonstrating lack of discipline. He had been late over and over. For an NLD, for god’s sake. There are probably lots of things on the list we don’t know about. The team identified the issue with Auba and gave him chances to fix it. He didn’t. Arteta decided to draw a line. Maybe not the line you or I would draw, but he believed it was important for the team to have professionalism and discipline. With so many young players, having someone flout the rules and expectations was in opposition to the culture Arteta wanted. Xhaka had one serious emotional outburst. Those things are miles apart.

          I’ve been very critical of Xhaka, but I believe in his rehabilitation. The armband still rubs me the wrong way with him to be honest, but I like the redemption arc as a message to the team and fans.

    4. I totally disagree with the implication of your conclusion. In other words, you are saying that what Auba did was less egregious than what Xhaka did. I totally disagree.
      Xhaka behavior clearly came from emotions. Emotions that obviously include his love for the club and his wish that the club succeeds. Auba’s behavior, is clearly the opposite. It’s a clear manifestation of his disrespect for the club and his not willing to sacrifice for the club.
      The effect of both behavior with the other players is also telling. One will leave the players feeling like he really cares while the other is a terrible example of how to care about the club’s values.

  4. That was sexy. sexy football today. This team is going places and Xhaka is a Master Gunner. His development this season has been a revelation – clearly you can teach old dogs new tricks. Today’s captaincy and superb performance at both ends of the pitch marks his full redemption. It’s surely high time to forgive his trespass.

  5. It was good to see Xhaka back as captain again if only until Odegaard returns. He’s been inspirational this season and apparently is unofficial team leader on & off the pitch (notice how he leads the pre match huddle). His decent under Emery was very sad and I think if I was being constantly booed by my own supporters I might feel inclined to tell them to fcuk off also.
    Anyway, his performance today was maybe his best ever for Arsenal and this new role of his could be key to a successful season.

  6. Great result yesterday. The games we play these days seem so controlled. Even against Manchester United the control was there… Although we still lost.
    The Coach is really impressing himself on the team and they are expressing his traits on the pitch.
    I really hope the team and the coach learn from the ‘upset’ at old Trafford. It will help in the games to come.
    Upward and forward….. COYG!!!!

  7. great performance from the boys. brentford are incredibly fast and powerful up front but our central defenders dealt with them much better than pablo mari and ben white did last season in this match.

    nice to see all three goals come from three new guys. you can’t blame the keeper for any of the goals arsenal scored; top quality. particularly the gabriel jesus goal. as soon as that ball left xhaka’s foot, i was yelling at my tv; what a ball in!

    speaking of xhaka, he had a human moment with the whole “f*ck off” to the fans. like mikolaj says, these players are human beings who just happen to be better at football than the average guy. you have to allow players to be human. if xhaka did that all the time, it would be different.

  8. i have been critical of xhaka in the past but my tone has continually changed throughout his time at the club. i appreciated that he was learning to play more within himself instead of trying to make plays he couldn’t make. while i understood stripping the captaincy, i never wanted him to leave the club. arteta didn’t either.

    in fact, i thought arteta was brilliant convincing him to stay until the end of that season when he was set to go back to germany. when i saw the price arsenal set for xhaka to go to roma, i knew that the italians wouldn’t meet it. they thought after the falling out with fans and xhaka stating a will to go to roma, they would be looking to get him for cheap. where roma got it wrong is that, despite agreeing to let xhaka leave, arteta never wanted him to leave in the first place, so why would he budge on the price point?

    i know many in gunnerdom were upset that he was still at the club when the transfer window closed after the euros but i wasn’t one of them. i was certainly in the minority when i said i was glad he stayed. if he’d left, we’d look like a bunch of mugs right now as he’d be playing incredible football in rome.

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