Arsenal narrowly edged Brentford at home on Saturday 2-1 to go atop the Premier League table for the moment.

It is the first time since Christmas that the north London side has led the league. The Gunners began the day third in a three-horse race for the title.

Liverpool and Manchester City were both narrowly ahead of Arsenal in the standings heading into the weekend. The two top clubs, however, are set to face off against each other on Sunday.

Arsenal grabs opening goal, but blunder evens score ahead of halftime

Despite Arsenal’s dominance from the start in recent games, Brentford kept the powerful offense under control in the early stages on Saturday.

In fact, the Gunners did not manage to register a shot towards Mark Flekken’s goal in the opening 18 minutes. The Bees, on the other hand, attempted two shots during this timeframe.

Nevertheless, Declan Rice put the hosts ahead in the 19th minute with a perfectly placed header into the bottom corner of the net. Arsenal initially wanted a penalty after Martin Odegaard was seemingly pushed over inside the Brentford box. Match referee Robert Jones, however, waved away the claims and play continued.

The Gunners retained possession after the claim and Ben White sent a simple cross over the defense towards Rice. The dynamic midfielder jumped highest to guide the ball beyond a diving Flekken. Rice has certainly enjoyed the more advanced role in the middle of the pitch in recent weeks. The strike was the Englishman’s sixth goal of the current campaign.

As Arsenal looked certain to go into halftime with a lead, Brentford leveled the scoreline thanks to a massive mistake by Aaron Ramsdale. The keeper was only in the game because on-loan David Raya is ineligible to face his parent club. As Ramsdale held on to possession too long, Yoane Wissa blocked the eventual clearance and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Havertz gives Arsenal lead with header late in game

Arsenal collected 72% possession of the ball in the opening period and continued this trend into the latter half. As a result of the extra possession, the hosts had a series of chances to retake the lead in the first 20 minutes of the period.

Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel all had shots during this timeframe. The center back’s header was the closest of the bunch, as it was cleared off of the line by a Brentford defender. Nevertheless, the game remained level heading into the home stretch of the game.

Ramsdale also kept the match even with two massive saves in the second half as well. The England international made a pair of sprawling stops on both Ivan Toney and Nathan Collins. The latter block was particularly impressive considered how close the Bees defender was to goal.

Kai Havertz, however, would finally grab the second breakthrough for Arsenal late the match. White, once again, supplied the assist on the goal with another beautiful cross into the box. The defender found Havertz somehow unmarked right in front of the goalkeeper. Flekken managed to get fingertips on the ball, but there was too much power on shot.

The late goal gave Arsenal all three points and puts added pressure on the massive match between Liverpool and City on Sunday. Arsenal can remain on top of the English top flight table beyond the weekend with a draw tomorrow.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Uk Sports Pics Ltd