Pundits warn fearsome Arsenal only getting better, with ‘unbelievable’ new threat appearing at right time

Fabio Vieira, Granit Xhaka, William Saliba, September 2022

Jamie Redknapp and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink lauded Arsenal for their 3-0 win over Brentford, which saw them respond with “class” to defeat to Manchester United.

The Gunners returned to the top of the Premier League with a clean sheet and handsome victory over the Bees. Manchester City had risen to the summit following their 3-0 win at Wolves on Saturday, but Arsenal responded in kind.

Centre-back William Saliba opened the scoring after 17 minutes, before Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 just before the half-hour mark.

The third goal in the game was therefore going to prove crucial. And young midfielder Fabio Vieira put Brentford out of sight with a long-range goal for 3-0.

Speaking to Sky Sports (1.56pm, 18/09) after the match, Redknapp praised Mikel Arteta’s visitors as “aggressive”, adding they had several “good moments” to score even more.

Asked about striker Jesus, Hasselbaink said: “I like him when he plays deeper, when he plays high, he is a lot in the box, his stance is so good.

“This is a great goal with his head in the second half, he kept on going and getting more chances.

“This, here, is what he will be remembered for, the header, [at the] end of the season we will see how many he will get. He needs to get into those positions more.”

Pundits laud Fabio Vieira for Arsenal

Commenting on replays of Vieira’s goal, Hasselbaink lauded the strike as “unbelievable”.

The Portuguese summer signing from Porto was only making his third Arsenal appearance. It was also only his first Premier League start after previous contributions against Man Utd and FC Zurich.

“Great start from Saliba, playing into midfield and then this boy [Vieira]. We’ve been talking about him, he gets the ball and gives the goalkeeper the eyes,” Hasselbaink said.

“Left foot, Vieira, unbelievable goal. The goalkeeper thinks he’s going to go to his right, as a normal left-footer will do. If you see here, he makes a step to his left and he’s too late.

“And if you hit it really well with your left foot, inside corner, the goalkeeper can’t get there.”

And Hasselbaink concluded that Arsenal’s 3-0 win has put Arteta’s side firmly back on track.

“Arsenal needed a response after the Man Utd game and that’s what they’ve done,” the former Chelsea and Leeds United man said.

“They’ve done it with class, controlled the whole game, didn’t have a moment really when they were under pressure.

“Going top of the league, now two weeks off, brilliant for them. That will give them confidence and hopefully they can get the players that are going to the their countries back healthy and they can go again.”

Gunners showing improvement but questions remain

There is no doubt Arsenal look like they have improved from last season as they seek a top-four Premier League finish.

There is a suitable direct comparison available between Sunday’s win over Brentford and their trip to the Bees last term.

The Gunners lost 2-0 that day – the opening day of the last campaign – and they look a much better team.

However, the key concern remains over matches against their top-six rivals.

Yes, they can only play what is in front of them and Arsenal have only played Man Utd in that regard, facing teams they would expect to beat in their other games.

Still, the defeat to United means there is still a question mark over their form against their direct rivals.

Stern tests against Tottenham and Liverpool are up next for Arsenal after the international break. Their 3-0 defeat to Spurs at the back end of last season was a major factor in the top-four race.

As such, a win for Arsenal this time round would do a lot to prove their credentials for a top-four finish.

READ MORE: Saliba cites ‘mistakes’ when breaking silence on frustrating Gunners wait