English Premier League

Brentford 0-1 Arsenal

Brentford 0-1 Arsenal. Substitute Kai Havertz’s late header took Arsenal to the top of the Premier League with a dramatic win at Brentford.

In Mikel Arteta’s 200th game in charge of the Gunners, Havertz’s 89th-minute goal rescued a largely forgettable display in west London.

After Manchester City and Liverpool drew earlier on Saturday, this win moves the Gunners one point clear at the summit.

Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard had a goal ruled out in the first half by the video assistant referee (VAR) but defeat was harsh on Brentford who were only denied goals of their own by exceptional clearances off the line from Declan Rice and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arteta has won more matches in his first 200 in charge than any of the other nine Arsenal managers to reach that milestone – and his bold team selection here showed he was determined to take three points.

However, the return of Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus from injury did not really bear fruit in a mostly ponderous display.

They upped the tempo in the second half but waves of attacks were repelled by Thomas Frank’s well-drilled defence.

That was the case until a moment of magic from Bukayo Saka finally unlocked the door and Havertz produced his most significant contribution in an Arsenal shirt to head home at the back post.

Brentford stay 11th in the table after their second successive defeat.

It has been an inauspicious start to life in north London for £65m signing Havertz, with just one goal and one assist before Saturday since his arrival from Chelsea.

While Arteta has continued to back him publicly, he was left out to accommodate the return of Odegaard and had to watch as his team-mates failed to fire for much of the game.

Summoned from the bench with 12 minutes to go, he had the defining say when he squeezed his header over the line from a tight angle.

It could be a huge moment in the context of his Arsenal career.

Before Havertz’s arrival, the only real sub-plot was whether Aaron Ramsdale could make the most of his first Premier League start since September, given on-loan keeper David Raya was ineligible against his parent club.

Arsenal have the best defensive record in the Premier League and have kept six clean sheets in their 13 games so far
The home fans revelled in a shaky first half from the England man, who was indebted to Rice for a brilliant block on the line.

However, as he composed himself, the game drifted into dull stalemate between two sides who usually do not lose London derbies.

When the Gunners finally found a spark, Trossard’s close-range header after Mark Flekken saved from Jesus was ruled out after a VAR review.

In truth, Jesus should have buried the header himself from eight yards out before the offside decision.

If Havertz can now find his goalscoring touch, that might ease the burden on the Brazil striker who looked leggy after playing in South America during the international break.

source – BBC

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