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  • By Yann Tear at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal have just too much as Brentford's struggles continue

Arsenal (0) 2 Smith Rowe 48 Saka 79

Brentford (0) 1 Norgaard 90

Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka both claimed their 10th goals of the season with the smartest of finishes, as the Gunners gained revenge for their opening weekend defeat to the Bees.

Arsenal were always in control and worthy winners. Brentford – again missing the injured Ivan Toney – hardly featured as an attacking force.

Victory keeps Mikel Arteta’s men in the thick of the battle for the top four but the worry of a relegation fight continues to nag at Thomas Frank’s side, for whom this was a seventh defeat in their past eight outings.

Impending home matches against Newcastle and Burnley, with a trip to Norwich in between, are starting to take on a vital importance.

The Bees faced a testing early examination of their defensive capabilities as Saka threatened to run amok down the right flank.

Alexandre Lacazette put away a cross from Kieran Tierney but a linesman’s flag rescued the visitors. Thomas Partey flashed a low shot just wide.

The fruits of a quick-press came when Mathias Jensen lost possession in the centre circle. Within seconds Lacazette had worked himself into a shooting position and fired another off-target shot a David Raya and then Martin Odegaard had a goalbound shot deflected aside by Pontus Jansson.

Raya had to get behind another effort from Ben White and there was a heart-in-the-mouth moment when Yoane Wissa blocked a shot with a raised arm – prompting Arsenal players to surround referee Jon Moss in calling for a VAR check.

Arsenal were crying out for a finisher in the post-Aubameyang era.

Or at least they were until the start of the second half, when Smith Rowe received a pass from Lacazette and cut in from the left, outfoxing Kristoffer Ajer before arrowing a low shot inside the far corner.

It was only the third goal the Gunners have scored in 2022.

It needed a fine stretch at the far post from Christian Norgaard to deny Nicolas Pepe a simple tap-in after Raya had pushed aside a shot from Odegaard but a second goal always looked likely.

The Bees did their best to rally but just as they were starting to commit more men in attack, looking for an equaliser, they were left exposed on the break and after Partey had fed Saka on the left, the England man tore in on goal and fired across Raya to make it 2-0.

There was late consolation for the Bees when Norgaard fired in from close range after Arsenal failed to clear a free-kick. Initially flagged as offside, the goal stood after a VAR check but it made no difference to the outcome.

Gunners: (4-3-3) Ramsdale – Cedric Soares, White, Gabriel, Tierney – Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka – Saka, Lacazette (Nketiah 83), Smith Rowe (Pepe 75). Subs not used: Leno, Holding, Tomiyasu, Tavares, Sambi Lokonga, Elneny, Hutchinson

Bees: (3-5-2) Rata – Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock – Canos (Ghoddos 83), Jensen (Janelt 44), Norgaard, Dasilva (Baptiste 68), Henry – Mbeumo, Wissa. Subs not used: Onyeka, Bech Sorensen, Roerslev, Stevens, Fernandez, Young-Coombes


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