Arsenal swatted Brentford aside with a resounding victory on Sunday afternoon to leapfrog Manchester City into top spot in the Premier League table.
William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus were on the scoresheet but Fabio Vieira will steal the headlines after a sublime strike on his full league debut to put the game to bed in the 49th minute. The Portuguese formed the midfield three alongside Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, with the latter another standout performer for the visitors at the Gtech Community Stadium.
The Gunners were just as dominant in defence as they were in the centre of the park, proving just why Mikel Arteta continues to stick with Benjamin White ahead of one of his teammates at right-back.
Here are the winners and losers from Arsenal’s comfortable victory over Brentford.
Coming into the line up in place of injured captain Martin Odegaard for the trip to Brentford, Fabio Vieira still remained somewhat of an unknown factor following his £34million summer transfer from Porto.
Well, fans know just what he’s about now after he collected the ball just outside the area and picked out the bottom corner to put Arsenal 3-0 up early in the second half. It was a promising performance from the 22-year-old, who lost out in some of his early midfield duels but grew into the match.
Due to his slight frame, some may suspect he is not suited to the rigours of the Premier League, but with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey alongside him, Mikel Arteta struck a fine balance in midfield.
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This was as good a performance from the Swiss international as fans have been treated to for many years.
Xhaka was at his dominant best against Brentford, tackling, leading, intercepting, driving and assisting to set the tone for the convincing victory. His name was quite rightly the one being belted out by the away fans at the full-time whistle as they showed their appreciation for the man wearing the armband in Martin Odegaard’s absence.
Xhaka is flourishing in the No. 8 role on the left of midfield and set up the Gunners’ second goal with a delicate first-time cross to pick out Gabriel Jesus. It was the complete midfield performance – and Mikel Arteta will be counting on the 29-year-old to continue setting the tone for his young teammates throughout the season.
Although this article is focussed on Arsenal’s players, it would be amiss not to mention the latest call-up to the England squad.
Toney came into the match in fine form with five goals to his name but the Arsenal defence managed to nullify his threat with remarkable ease. Gabriel excelled in his early battles with the Brentford striker and William Saliba was equally resilient when the new Three Lions star attempted to pick on him.
On the bright side for Toney, there is no shame in failing to excel against this Gunners defence, which is statistically up there with the best in the Premier League at this early stage of the season. That being said, he will be even more determined to remind fans of his quality as England take on Italy and Germany in the Nations League over the international break.
Takehiro Tomiyasu has hardly put a foot wrong when making any of his six Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season.
However, the problem is that all of those appearances have come as a substitute because Benjamin White is also in a rich vein of form. The Englishman helped the Gunners keep their third clean sheet of the campaign with another assured display on the right of defence, where he continues to look comfortable despite being a natural centre-back.
He may not offer much going forward, but that does not hinder Arsenal thanks to their glut of creative talent in the more advanced roles, evidenced by right-winger Bukayo Saka’s return of two assists at the Gtech Community Stadium. All of this means that Mikel Arteta appears quite settled on his starting options on the right, which is a frustrating reality for Tomiyasu to stomach.