Injuries to captain Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko had stretched Mikel Arteta’s squad so much that the 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneric came off the bench late to become the youngest player in Premier League history.
As it happened: Brentford vs Arsenal
However, the Gunners showed no sign of weakness on a ground where they were beaten 2-0 last season to come back one point over Manchester City and Tottenham at the top of the table.
The match had been moved forward two hours to ease police pressure around Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and Britain’s longest-serving monarch was commemorated by a minute’s silence before kick-off.
Once the action got underway it was a 45-minute one-way street as Arsenal returned in style from their only defeat of the season against Manchester United two weeks ago.
🔴 @Arsenal returns to the top of the table 🔴#BREARS https://t.co/gxaCQKJNxq
— Premier League (@premierleague) 1663505663000
Gabriel Martinelli should have opened the scoring within two minutes when he flicked his shot out of Granit Xhaka’s cut-back.
It was only fifteen minutes before Arsenal broke through when Saliba drove in Bukayo Saka’s corner from the far post.
Jesus also used his head to score his fourth goal in seven Premier League games since coming from Manchester City, while netting another tempting delivery from Xhaka.
Saka was then wasteful with a glorious chance from Fabio Vieira’s through ball.
At 15 years and 181 days, Ethan Nwaneri becomes the youngest player in #PL history! 🤩#BREARS | @Arsenal https://t.co/7gepwExUaD
— Premier League (@premierleague) 1663505955000
Odegaard’s absence also gave Vieira his first Premier League start and the Portuguese midfielder impressed with a sumptuous attack from outside the box to allay any doubts about the outcome four minutes into the second half.
Brentford striker Ivan Toney had been given his first England call-up mid-week but was kept in check by Saliba’s towering presence.
The Bees hope this was just a bad day after an impressive start to the season and that Thomas Frank will still be in charge after the international break with the Dane as a potential successor to Brendan Rodgers at Leicester.
But an easy day for Arsenal was rounded off a minute before time when Arteta Nwaneri was able to hand his debut as just 15 years and 181 days, breaking Harvey Elliott’s record as the youngest player in Premier League history when he appeared for Fulham. as 16-years old.