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HomeSPORTSFootballArsenal play 15yr old as they maintain EPL lead

Arsenal play 15yr old as they maintain EPL lead

Arsenal are a point clear going into the international break with an impressive result against Brentford away.

So, Arsenal establishing a commanding 2-0 lead by half-time was impressive. Fabio Vieira, on his first Premier League start, then put the outcome beyond doubt just three minutes into the second-half.

Bukayo Saka slipped the ball inside to him and the young Portuguese midfielder – recruited from Porto this summer – hit a shot that defeated goalkeeper David Raya and went in off the inside of a post.

It was also the signal for some mockery for Ivan Toney whose commentary on social media the last time this fixture was played is still recalled in north London.

Brentford won 2-0 that day, the first game of the 2021-22 season, and Toney implied it had been easy. ‘Nice kickabout with the boys,’ he tweeted.

And the margin could have been greater. Gabriel Jesus went on a fine run only for his shot to be saved by Raya after 57 minutes, while a lovely passing move involving Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus, ended with Saka forcing an excellent stop from Raya on 66 minutes.

Yet forget the notion that this was a straightforward game for Arsenal, who last league result was the 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.

All eyes were on them here and victory was no foregone conclusion. Brentford can be difficult as Manchester United and Leeds have found here and Arsenal, beaten and second best last time, were now without captain Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko, a revelation at full-back since his move from Manchester City.

Not to worry. Arsenal are made of sterner stuff these days. They were far better at Old Trafford than the scoreline suggested and this was an impressive riposte, the perfect bounce back.

For Arsenal, though, it just kept getting better. As four minutes injury time was signalled, Mikel Arteta introduced Ethan Nwaneri for Vieira, at 15 years and 181 days the youngest player in Premier League history, taking the mantle claimed by Harvey Elliott – 16 years and 30 days – for Liverpool against Fulham in 2019.

To put this into perspective, Nwaneri wasn’t born when the club left Highbury.

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