Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 win over Brentford.
Centre-back William Saliba got the Gunners going early with a header from a Bukayo Saka corner after 17 minutes.
Then 11 minutes later Gabriel Jesus doubled the visitors’ lead with a powerful header from an excellent Granit Xhaka cross. How Xhaka found himself in so much space right on the edge of the Brentford box will remain a mystery.
The home side were woeful in the first half, with the usually boisterous crowd virtually silent throughout.
Arsenal controlled the ball, holding 64% possession, and their defensive shape also denied Brentford their usual attacking patterns.
The Bees did find some joy in behind ersatz right-back Ben White, but goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was never tested.
Brentford’s strike partnership of Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney managed just four touches in the Arsenal box combined.
Any hopes that the home side could regroup after the break were swept away when Fabio Vieira scored Arsenal’s third.
Vieira, making his first start for the club after joining in the summer, hit a sensational long-range strike that dipped and clipped the post on its way past David Raya.
Brentford improved in the final moments, but barely mounted a single attack of consequence in a surprisingly poor performance.
Arsenal head into the international break atop the Premier League, and face rivals Tottenham in their first match back.
TALKING POINT: WHAT HAPPENED TO BRENTFORD?
Arsenal flattened Brentford without ever really needing to get out of third gear. The question is, why were Brentford so poor? The atmosphere in any lunchtime kick-off Premier League match is usually poor, but the crowd were virtually silent throughout. The home side never reached the intensity that has made them a thorn in the side of even top teams in this division.
The passivity of Brentford in this match was remarkable, but did Arsenal make them play like that?
The Gunners kept their shape almost perfectly throughout the match. Brentford’s ability to break at speed through the gaps in a ragged defence was useless in the face of so disciplined a performance. This was also a perfect example of Arteta’s patient possession style in action. The home side almost never had the ball, and when they did they were desperate to get it forward. Their impatience played right into Arsenal’s hands.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: GABRIEL JESUS
Arsenal’s star summer recruit was their best player against Brentford. His constant willingness to drop deep on the left meant that he routinely found himself unmarked between the lines. This gave the Gunners a constant wall pass to keep their strings of possession going. He took his goal well, too, but it was his overall buzzing attacking influence that made his performance special.
His one-twos with Granit Xhaka opened up Brentford’s defence multiple times, and his physicality forced turnovers high up the pitch.
Arsenal are more than getting their money’s worth with Jesus so far.
17’ – GOAL ARSENAL – William Saliba gets up high to meet Saka’s corner at the near post and his attempted flick-on loops over everyone and clips the post on its way in.
27’ – GOAL ARSENAL – Granit Xhaka is inexplicably unmarked on the edge of the Brentford area, and has time to dink a perfect pass over to Gabriel Jesus who heads home powerfully.
29’ – SAKA BLASTS OVER – Brentford are all at sea at the back right now and Arsenal almost profit by plundering a quick third, but Saka can’t keep his shot down.
49’ – GOAL ARSENAL – Fabio Vieira looks up and smashes a dipping shot that clips the upright on its way past David Raya.
70’ – DAMSGAARD DENIED – The substitute races onto a through-ball in the Arsenal box and almost has an instant impact, but Ramsdale gets down well to make the save.
Brentford: Raya 7, Hickey 6, Ajer 6, Jansson 6, Mee 7, Henry 5, Janelt 6, Jensen 6, Dasilva 5, Mbeumo 5, Toney 6. Subs: Wissa 6, Onyeka 6, Damsgaard 7, Baptiste N/A
Arsenal: Ramsdale 7, White 6, Saliba 7, Gabriel 6, Tierney 6, Xhaka 7, Partey 6, Saka 6, Vieira 7, Martinelli 6, Jesus 8. Subs: Tomiyasu N/A, Lokonga N/A, Nwaneri N/A, Marquinhos N/A, Nketiah 7