Leandro Trossard’s first Arsenal goal was not enough to earn all three points as Brentford hit back to claim a draw at the Emirates.
The Belgian winter signing, who had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes, converted a low Bukayo Saka cross at the far post after a goalless first half.
But we failed to hold onto the advantage, and Ivan Toney grabbed an equaliser from close range.
It means we extend our lead at the top of the league to six points, at least until Manchester City’s game on Sunday.
Early let offs
The first chance fell to the visitors, and it was a golden opportunity in truth. A cross from the right fell to Rico Henry who had got forward well. With the goal at his mercy though, he made poor contact inside the six-yard box and the ball bobbled well wide.
Oleksandr Zinchenko had our first sighter at goal. A half-cleared corner fell invitingly for the Ukrainian, but he blazed his shot well over from 15 yards out.
Brentford were remaining compact and organised in defence though, while possessing the threat of Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney on the break.
The two of them so nearly combined to break the deadlock midway through the half. Mbeumo cut the ball back for Toney who sidefooted against the bar. It was a let-off after we afforded the Bees' top scorer too much space inside the box.
Ben Mee had a header from a corner blocked as they continued to grow in confidence.
The west Londoners are unbeaten in their past nine Premier League games, and on this evidence you could see why.
Toney underlined their confidence with a swirling shot from 25 yards that Aaron Ramsdale had to bat away.
As half-time approached our best move of the game to that point resulted in Gabriel Martinelli volleying just over from Granit Xhaka’s laid-off header.
We came out with renewed energy after the break. Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard both had shots comfortably saved by David Raya.
On the hour mark Mikel Arteta turned to his bench, bringing on Trossard. Within five minutes the Belgian had his first Gunners goal.
Saka shrugged off his marker on the right, sent a low cross into the far post where Trossard tucked into the net. A vital breakthrough and the crowd erupted.
Our lead lasted less than ten minutes though. We failed to deal with a free kick into the box, and after the ball pinged around, it fell to Toney, who couldn’t miss. The goal was eventually given after a lengthy VAR check, despite an apparent offside in the build-up.
We were back to square one, and had to try to break down the Brentford defensive block once again.
Despite speculative efforts from Zinchenko and Thomas Partey, we couldn’t find a way through, and had to make do with just a point from a hard-fought encounter – only the second time we’ve dropped points at home this season.
What it means
Facts and stats
This was the first time we failed to win a Premier League home game in which we scored first since January 2022, and a 2-1 defeat to Man City. We'd won 10 in a row at the Emirates when opening the scoring before today.
Brentford have scored 15 goals from set-piece situations in the Premier League this season, with no side netting more (including penalties).
Each of the last three Premier League goals we have conceded have come from headers – none of our first 15 against in the competition this term beforehand had been headed.
Leandro Trossard scored his first Premier League goal for us, just the second Belgian to score for the Gunners in the competition after Thomas Vermaelen.
Only Harry Kane (9) has netted more away goals in the Premier League this season than Ivan Toney (7).
Bukayo Saka provided his eighth Premier League assist of the season. It's his best return in a single campaign, and second only to Kevin De Bruyne (11) overall in the competition this term.
We’re back at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night for the big showdown with second-placed Manchester City. It’s our first meeting with Pep Guardiola’s side in the league this season, and we follow it up with a trip to Aston Villa next Saturday.
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