Thomas Frank declared Arsenal are contenders for the title after seeing his Brentford side comprehensively beaten by the Premier League leaders on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fábio Vieira ensured the game was in effect over by the 49th minute, meaning Arsenal returned to the summit and bounced back from their defeat at Manchester United. They have won six league matches out of seven and Frank believes they could be equipped to end a 19-year wait for the crown.
“They are top of the table so you cannot argue with that, they have done brilliantly,” he said. “Looking at the quality, they must be title contenders. From what I’ve seen in the seven games, I think they’ve been very good: they’ve won fair and square in six and the other game could have gone either way. [Gabriel] Jesus, wow, what a player … it’s nothing against [Manchester] City but sometimes it clicks in a different environment.
“[Bukayo] Saka and [Martin] Ødegaard are a year older: Ødegaard, what a player. Saliba, he’s going to be a full international player for France, I’m sure. He’ll start for that team and that’s a strong international team.”
Frank said the defeat, which came a month after the Bees had beaten Manchester United 4-0, was evidence that “it’s never as good as it looks and it’s never as bad as it feels”.
Mikel Arteta, whose side face Tottenham and Liverpool at the Emirates after the international break, was predictably coy on talk of the title but more forthcoming on his decision to give Ethan Nwaneri, aged 15 years and 181 days, a record-breaking debut. He became the youngest footballer to play in the Premier League after appearing as a substitute in added time.
‘Gut feeling’: Mikel Arteta on giving 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri debut – video
“It was a pure gut feeling,” Arteta said. “I met the boy and really liked what I saw … he’s trained a couple of times with us. Yesterday he had to come because we have injuries, especially the injury of Martin [Ødegaard], and then I had that feeling that if the opportunity could come I was going to do it.
“It’s another step [for Nwaneri], another experience. In your career all the steps are not going to be forward. After that maybe he needs three backwards to take another forward, but I think he deserved it. It sends a really strong message about who we are as a club as well.”