Arsenal 1-0 Brentford (Nov 25, 2023) Game Analysis

Arsenal moved top of the Premier League when a late goal by Kai Havertz earned them a 1-0 victory at Brentford on Saturday.

Manchester City’s earlier draw with Liverpool meant Mikel Arteta’s side would leapfrog both clubs with a win but that did not look likely for most of the game.

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Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale, recalled to the side for the first time since September, had a couple of nervy moments in the first-half, while the visitors had a goal by Leandro Trossard ruled out for offside.

The game appeared to be drifting towards a draw but Havertz, who came on as a substitute, eventually broke the deadlock with a close-range header in the 89th minute.

Kai Havertz’s goal against Brentford was his first from open play for Arsenal.

Arsenal moved up to first place with 30 points from 13 games, one ahead of City and two ahead of Liverpool.

Ramsdale had not featured for Arsenal in the Premier League since their win over Manchester United at the start of September, having lost his place to David Raya who was signed on loan from Brentford in the summer.

The England keeper started poorly, when he hesitated on the ball in his area and then slipped, with the ball eventually reaching Brentford striker Bryan Mbeumo whose shot was cleared off the line by Declan Rice.

Ramsdale was puffing out his cheeks in relief later in the half with a botched throw-out that luckily for him did not result in a Brentford chance.

At the other end, Gabriel Jesus, also back in the starting line-up after injury, forced a sharp save by Brentford keeper Mark Flekken with a deflected shot.

Arsenal thought they had taken the lead in the 41st minute when Bukayo Saka’s superb ball into the area was met by Jesus. When Flekken could only parry the ball into the air, Trossard bundled in the rebound.

His celebrations were cut short though as a VAR check showed he had been marginally in front of Jesus in the build-up.

Brentford looked dangerous at times after the break with Mbeumo having an effort off target and then Neal Maupay having a shot blocked on the line by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arsenal dug deep though and Saka unlocked Brentford’s defence with a superb ball into the area which found Havertz who stooped to head into the gaping goal.

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