LONDON – Walking off the field at Brentford’s small stadium in west London had a very different feel for Arsenal this time.
A straight 3-0 win at the 17,000-seat Gatwick Community Stadium on Sunday kept Arsenal top of the Premier League table and made it six wins in seven games for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Contrast that with a year ago, when Arsenal opened the season with a stunning 2-0 defeat at Brentford – who were playing their first top-flight game in 74 years – and went on to make their worst start in the next two games. lost Campaign in 67 years.
“A lot of people called that day embarrassing but I saw it as a character-building day,” Arteta said. “You have to learn from these moments and then days like today happen. We enjoy our football.”
And there’s plenty to enjoy, especially from the team’s newcomers.
Defender William Saliba – who has spent the last three seasons on loan – underlined his status as the team’s new fan favorite with his second goal of the season, while summer signings Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira also Scored goals.
Everton finally have something to enjoy: their first win of the campaign.
Frank Lampard’s team-mates beat struggling West Ham 1-0 at home in a game with few chances for either team. Only two matches were played on Sunday as Chelsea-Liverpool and Manchester United-Leeds were both postponed due to limited police resources ahead of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.
All Premier League games this weekend observed a minute’s silence before kick-off followed by the playing of the national anthem. In celebration of the Queen’s 70-year reign, there was also a minute’s applause after 70 minutes of each match.
At Brentford, Saliba headed in a corner in the 17th minute, before Issa scored his fourth goal of the campaign with another header midway through the first half. Vieira then marked his first league start by scoring with a long-range effort early in the second period.
Vieira started in place of the injured Martin Odegaard and made a strong case for more playing time after spending most of the season on the bench so far.
“We know his potential and why we signed him and what he can bring to the team,” Arteta said. “He is a creative player, he has to play with his instincts and we need to create as many scenarios as possible for him. The goal here and the way she went into the foul part of the game, I was really impressed.
Arteta even had the luxury of sending off 15-year-old Ethan Navarri for the last few minutes, making him the youngest player to feature in a Premier League game.
Arsenal now go into the international break one point ahead of defending champions Manchester City and Tottenham. Their next game will be the best measure of the team’s title credentials, as Arsenal host Tottenham in the north London derby on October 1.
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Everton’s early season struggles were largely due to a lack of attacking threat in the absence of injured striker Dominic Calvert-Levein, with the team scoring just four goals in their first six games.
Summer signing Neil Maupai finally scored his first goal for Everton against West Ham, and it was enough for a much-needed win for Lampard’s side.
It was a well-taken goal, too, as the Frenchman collected a pass from Alex Iwobi on the edge of the area and got his first touch to volley inside the near post in the 53rd minute.
“It’s a win that’s been a long time coming,” Lampard said. “We’ve been hard to break down recently but we haven’t had a clinical edge in front of goal but we had that today.”
The win moved Everton up to 13th with seven points, while West Ham – who have scored just three league goals this season – are 18th with four points.