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Havertz strikes late as Arsenal grab vital win over Brentford to move top of Premier League

Arsenal Havertz
Arsenal moved to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory against Brentford, stretching their remarkable winning league run in 2024 to eight matches.

With fellow title challengers Liverpool and Manchester City meeting at Anfield tomorrow, Arsenal were afforded a golden chance to stake their claim for the Premier League crown.

The Gunners didn’t quite make as fast of a start as they did against Sheffield United on Monday night on their way to a 6-0 victory, but their early pressure eventually told when Ben White’s delivery was glanced home by Declan Rice, who netted his second goal in as many games. That aside, the opening half-hour was a bit of a non-event, with goalmouth action at a premium.

A second goal always seemed unlikely before the break, but if any side was likelier to find it, it was Arsenal, who continually got into promising areas, but their final ball was unusually poor.

And they were made to pay for that on the stroke of half-time in comical circumstances when stand-in keeper Aaron Ramsdale saw his attempted clearance charged down by Yoane Wissa, with the ball agonisingly dropping into the back of the net.

Having already been left red-faced once, Ramsdale was very nearly left with egg on his face shortly after the restart when an impromptu 40-yard half-volley from Ivan Toney almost caught him off his line.

That was a rare foray forward for the Bees though, who had some desperate Vitaly Janelt defending to thank for the fact they hit the hour mark still on level terms, as he heroically cleared Gabriel’s header off the line.

Kai Havertz’s dive in the area was a sign of Arsenal’s growing desperation, and their need almost became greater 20 minutes from time when a stunning Ramsdale save kept out Nathan Collins’ header.

In a game that was fast becoming end-to-end, it was soon the Gunners threatening again through Rice, whose long-range effort crashed back off the crossbar.

It was wave after wave of Arsenal attack towards the end of the game, with Mikel Arteta’s side desperately searching for a late winner. Their pressure eventually told in similar circumstances to the first, as another White cross was headed home, this time by Kai Havertz.