English Premier League: Arsenal move to top of standings after late Kai Havertz heroics against Brentford

Kai Havertz celebrates his game winner.
Kai Havertz celebrates his game winner. Photo credit: Getty Images

Arsenal have moved top of the English Premier League when a late goal by Kai Havertz earned them a 1-0 victory at Brentford.

Manchester City's earlier draw with Liverpool meant Mikel Arteta's side would leapfrog both clubs with a win but that did not look likely for most of the game.

Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale, recalled to the side, got away with a huge mistake in the first half, while the visitors had a goal by Leandro Trossard ruled out for offside.

The game appeared to be drifting towards a draw but Havertz, who came on as a substitute, eventually broke the deadlock with a close-range header in the 89th minute.

Declan Rice.
Declan Rice. Photo credit: Getty Images

Arsenal moved up to first place with 30 points from 13 games, one ahead of City and two ahead of Liverpool.

Ramsdale had not featured for Arsenal in the Premier League since September, having lost his place to David Raya who was signed on loan from Brentford in the summer.

His reappearance almost got off to the worse possible start when he hesitated on the ball in his area and then slipped, with the ball eventually reaching Brentford striker Bryan Mbeumo whose shot was cleared off the line by Declan Rice.

Ramsdale was puffing out his cheeks in relief later in the half with a botched throw-out that luckily for him did not result in a Brentford chance.

At the other end, Gabriel Jesus, also back in the starting line-up after injury, forced a sharp save by Brentford keeper Mark Flekken with a deflected shot.

Arsenal thought they had taken the lead in the 41st minute when Bukayo Saka's superb ball into the area was met by Jesus. When Flekken could only parry the ball into the air, Trossard bundled in the rebound.

His celebrations were cut short though as a VAR check showed he had been marginally in front of Jesus in the build-up.

Brentford looked dangerous at times after the break with Mbeumo having an effort off target and then Neal Maupay having a shot blocked on the line by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arsenal dug deep though and Saka unlocked Brentford's defence with a superb ball into the area which found Havertz who stooped to head into the gaping goal.