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Arsenal field youngest player in Premier League history

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history when he came on as a substitute for Arsenal as they returned to the top of the Premier League with a comfortable 3-0 win at Brentford on Sunday.

Arsenal’s midfielder Ethan Nwaneri.
Photo: AFP

Goals from William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus gave Mikel Arteta’s side a 2-0 lead at the break before Fabio Vieira completed the win in the 54th minute.

Nwaneri, who is 15 years and 181 days old, came on as a substitute for Vieira in the second minute of stoppage time, the first player under 16 to play in the competition.

The previous youngest player to feature in the league was Harvey Elliott, now of Liverpool, who was 16 years, 38 days old when he made his top flight debut for Fulham.

Arsenal had suffered their first defeat of the season in their last outing, at Manchester United, but never looked in danger, controlling the game from the outset.

Saliba got things under way, heading the visitors in front in the 17th minute, rising to angle a corner from Bukayo Saka in off the far post.

Another header, 11 minutes later, doubled Arsenal’s advantage with Grant Xhaka picking out Gabriel Jesus with a perfectly floated cross from the left which the Brazilian met powerfully.

The game was put beyond Brentford in the fourth minute after the break thanks to a wonderful strike from outside the box by Portuguese midfielder Fabio Vieira, which rattled in off the post.

Arsenal are on 18 points from the opening seven matches of the season with defending champions Manchester City a point behind and North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur also on 17 points.

In the other game on Monday, Neal Maupay scored his first Everton goal to lead the Merseysiders to their first win of the season with a 1-0 defeat of West Ham United that sent relief around Goodison Park.

Maupay, a recent signing from Brighton & Hove Albion, took an excellent touch from Alex Iwobi’s pass and volleyed into the back of the net from the edge of the box in the 53rd minute.

The win ends a run of four successive draws for Everton and moves them up to 13th in the standings, while West Ham remain in the bottom three with one victory from their seven games, this loss their 1000th in the top-flight.

Meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion have appointed Italian Roberto De Zerbi as their new head coach on a four-year contract following the departure of Graham Potter, the club announced on Monday.

De Zerbi, 43, started his managerial career in the Italian lower leagues before he caught the eye of Serie A side Sassuolo, guiding them to eighth place in the 2020-21 season. He was head coach of Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk last season.

De Zerbi takes over from Potter, who left for Chelsea earlier this month after three highly successful seasons in charge.

– Reuters

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