Arsenal secured an important win over Brentford to move level on points with West Ham, with Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard shining.
Arsenal put in a dominant performance at the Emirates to put Brentford to the sword, as goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka helped seal three points. The win took the Gunners level on points with fifth-placed West Ham United, who dropped points earlier at home to Newcastle.
The win takes the Gunners to sixth on the table, although they still have two games in hand over fourth-placed Manchester United, who sit just a point ahead of the north Londoners. The home side put in a solid attacking display and some fans will be disappointed that they could only conjure up two goals.
Arsenal had a few shouts for penalties in a rampant first half overlooked. Arteta’s side had 16 shots in the first half alone, but could open the scoring only in the second through Smith Rowe’s effort. The Gunners managed to limit the visitors to hopeful long balls and kept up the pressure, earning their reward when Thomas Partey found Saka, who lashed home the second goal to kill the game.
Aaron Ramsdale would have been disappointed after conceding an injury-time goal as Christian Norgaard crashed his shot into the empty net. Overall, Arteta would be pleased with the performance of his players and will be hoping they keep this run going.
Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10
Ramsdale took things for granted at times, and his sloppiness on the ball showed the flaws in his game. He was positive with his distribution and showed good command in the box when needed. However, he will be disappointed as an injury-time goal from Norgaard denied him a valuable clean sheet.
Cedric Soares – 7.5/10
Is the Portuguese giving Tomiyasu a run for his money? Cedric put in yet another solid performance at right-back, showing a stunning turnaround in form. His presence and runs from the right flank caused Brentford problems, while there were signs of a flourishing partnership with Saka.
Ben White – 6/10
Ben White was crucial to Arsenal’s attacking play in the first half as he formed a key part of the Gunners’ dominance on the right side of the pitch. He constantly fed balls to Saka and Cedric on his side and played his role in the defence whenever needed. His passing was not up to the mark at times, but he got the job done in the end.
Gabriel – 7/10
Gabriel kept Bryan Mbeumo in his pocket all day and stood tall in the face of whatever was thrown at him. While it was a relatively quiet game for the entire defence, the Brazilian was guilty of gifting a massive chance to the opposition, only for Brentford attackers to miss it. He was otherwise solid throughout.
Kieran Tierney – 7/10
🗣 "Kieran Tierney was next in line, that's why"
Mikel Arteta clears up the Arsenal captaincy situation after it appeared that Granit Xhaka refused the armband after Alexandre Lacazette was subbed off… pic.twitter.com/nLBIpmyefp
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 19, 2022
Tierney put in a tidy performance at left-back, providing a good outlet on his side in attack and defence. While he was involved in some dangerous moments in the final third, his delivery could have been better at times.
Thomas Partey – 7.5/10
There were some sloppy moments while defending, but Partey put in a superb performance to give Arsenal control in the middle of the park. He got an assist for Saka’s goal and yet again proved he is the team’s most important midfielder.
Granit Xhaka – 6/10
Despite Arsenal being rampant in attack, most of it came from the right side of the pitch, meaning Xhaka was not heavily involved. His passing on the day was not at its best, which luckily did not cost the team. Xhaka remains a key part of how this Arsenal side functions and showed that element against Brentford.
Bukayo Saka – 7.5/10
Bukayo Saka has contributed to 10+ goals in a single league campaign for the first time in his career.
👕 23 appearances
⚽️ 7 goals
🅰️ 4 assists
A stand-out performer. 🪄 pic.twitter.com/uE8lX94lWp
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 19, 2022
There was a constant threat from the right side as Saka continued tormenting defenders with his trickery and thoughtful runs. Cedric providing overlapping runs gave the winger more options to weave his magic. However, his goal came after he switched flanks and operated on the left side, finishing brilliantly from a Partey set-up.
Martin Odegaard – 8.5/10
Odegaard ran the attacking show for Arsenal, finding teammates with precision. He rarely gives the ball away in possession, making him a solid player in his position. Although he could add more goals to his game, the Norwegian is slowly becoming the main man at the club.
Emile Smith Rowe – 8.5/10
Arsenal’s best player on the pitch, who was tipped to have a great game in our preview. Smith Rowe looked sharp and attacked the ball with directness, causing all sorts of problems for Brentford. He opened the scoring with a magnificent finish and continues to be Arsenal’s top scorer this season.
Most Premier League goals scored for Arsenal this season:
◉ 9 – Emile Smith Rowe
◉ 7 – Bukayo Saka
Hale end produces again. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/9OeeqgR8sF
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 19, 2022
Alexandre Lacazette – 5/10
Lacazette had yet another underwhelming game, with his decision-making let him down at times. While he did his usual duties with authority, the job of finishing good chances should remain his absolute priority. He still got himself an assist though, his fifth in the last seven games for the club.
Nicolas Pepe – 6/10
Arteta made some interesting comments about Pepe being a different player since returning from the AFCON, and the winger did look sharper than before. He could have scored from a difficult half-chance, but will not be too worried about the miss.
Eddie Nketiah – N/A
Not much of an impact after coming on.