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Kai Havertz winner sends Arsenal top with win against Brentford

Arsenal moved into first place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Brentford, thanks to a late winner from Kai Havertz at the Emirates Stadium.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off on Sunday, any victory for Arsenal would have been enough to take them to the summit for the first time in 2024.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining to secure victory.

Mikel Arteta has seen his team sweep aside all comers in recent weeks but this was another face to Arsenal, an attritional display that will see them remain as league leaders if Liverpool and City share the spoils at Anfield.

Ramsdale has not played since the return game at Brentford in November after losing the battle for the Arsenal number one spot to David Raya - who is on loan from the Bees and therefore ineligible against his parent club - and this could yet be his final outing for the Gunners.

Ivan Toney, linked with Arsenal throughout January, cleared an inswinging Rice corner off the line early on but unlike recent games away from home Arsenal did not have everything their own way in the opening stages.

They would, however, still break the deadlock as Ben White crossed for Rice to head home like an accomplished Premier League striker as he enjoys the best goalscoring season of his career with six goals.

From that point on, Arsenal looked in control - that was until deep into first-half stoppage time when Ramsdale collected a routine back-pass from Gabriel Magalhaes but dallied in possession and, as he attempted to clear, was closed down by Wissa.

The block could have gone anywhere but looped into the back of Ramsdale's net to take the teams in level at the break.

Brentford smelled blood and after the interval Toney attempted an audacious effort with Ramsdale off his line - but this time he made a good stop to turn the goal-bound strike behind.

Arsenal were still the more dangerous side and Gabriel almost headed home a Bukayo Saka corner only for Vitaly Janelt to block into the grateful hands of goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

The hosts were getting more and more frustrated with referee Robert Jones as they felt a number of penalty claims went against them, although Havertz was lucky to escape a second booking after seemingly diving inside the box just after the hour.

Brentford were still threatening and Ramsdale was now providing the rearguard protection, brilliantly tipping over a Nathan Collins header as the second half drew on.

The game was opening up into an end-to-end contest as Rice rattled the crossbar with a bending effort from outside the box, with nerves creeping in around the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal, though, manfully stuck to the task at hand and ultimately found a way through as White once again provided the cross, Havertz this time diverting a header past Flekken for his fourth goal in four league games.

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