A late Kai Havertz header consigned Brentford to a cruel defeat against Arsenal at Gtech Community Stadium.

The Bees had efforts cleared on the line in both halves, but just couldn’t find their way through the Gunners' defence, who went top of the Premier League table with the victory.

Rice rescues Arsenal; Trossard goal ruled out by VAR

Thomas Frank was without some key players for the London derby, with Nathan Collins, Mathias Jensen and Mads Roerslev missing out. In came Frank Onyeka, Yehor Yarmoliuk and Saman Ghoddos.

As for Arsenal, they named Gabriel Jesus and Martin Ødegaard in their line-up for the first time in five weeks.

Mikel Arteta was also without on-loan goalkeeper David Raya against his parent club, so Aaron Ramsdale started between the sticks.

It was a half of quality chances rather than quantity, the first of which fell Brentford’s way.

It came from a Ramsdale slip inside 15 minutes. The keeper received the ball back from Gabriel from a goal kick, and Wissa was kick to pounce on it.

The forward picked up the ball inside the six-yard box and unselfishly and cleverly laid it back to Mbeumo, who was in slightly more space just behind him.

Mbeumo had the goal at his mercy, or so it seemed, but his powerful, close-range effort was superbly stopped on the line by the recovering Declan Rice. The rebound fell to Wissa again, but he could only poke wide.

It was Arsenal’s turn to have an attempt on goal 10 minutes later, as Oleksandr Zinchenko picked up the ball on the left side and whipped a dangerous cross into the box from a deep position. It made its way to Trossard - the forward having found some space inside the box - but his header flew over the bar from 10 yards out.

Another half-chance followed for the visitors five minutes before the break. Gabriel Martinelli ran into the penalty area, turned back, and laid the ball off to Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian fired towards goal from 20 yards and, despite a deflection, Mark Flekken did well to palm over the bar.

After a few sighters on the Bees goal, Arsenal had the ball in the back of the net. Another cross came into the box and, this time, it was Jesus who headed towards the target.

Flekken got a hand to it but could only palm the ball up in the air. Trossard reacted quickest and, just under the crossbar, jumped above the keeper and scrambled the ball over the line.

However, after the Gunners’ celebrations, VAR took a look and decided that Trossard was ahead of the ball when Jesus took his original shot.

Brentford cruelly denied a point by Havertz’s late header

There was an Arsenal chance 60 seconds after the restart, when Pinnock’s headed clearance fell to Martinelli, who immediately switched the ball to Bukayo Saka.

The winger twisted and turned before crossing to Ødegaard, but the midfielder wasn’t set properly, the ball hit him and landed on the roof of the net.

Five minutes later and the Bees had their first chance of the half. Yarmoliuk flicked a header on to Wissa, who, first time, superbly lifted a clever ball around the corner to his team-mate Mbeumo. One on one with Gabriel, the forward cuts inside but his effort, which was aimed at the near post, crept just wide.

71 minutes on the clock and Brentford nearly completed a move that started inside their own six-yard box. Flekken turned Eddie Nketiah almost on his own goal line and fed the ball to Saman Ghoddos.

The Iranian drove forward and cut back to Yarmoliuk, but the midfielder’s effort from the edge of the box was comfortably caught by Ramsdale.

And the hosts were inches away from netting with 15 minutes to go. Some great feet from Kristoffer Ajer drove them into the box and Maupay’s header - connecting with Mbeumo’s lifted cross - looked destined for the bottom corner. But an incredible goal-line clearance from Zinchenko kept the ball out, before Maupay got his follow-up attempt all wrong.

Arsenal took the lead on 89 minutes. Saka's in-swinging cross to the back post was met by Havertz, who stooped low to power a header through the legs of Flekken.

Brentford: Flekken, Mee, Pinnock, Ajer, Janelt, Onyeka (Zanka 90), Nørgaard, Yarmoliuk (Baptiste 71), Ghoddos (Lewis-Potter 90), Mbeumo, Wissa (Maupay 71)

Subs not used: Strakosha, Goode, Peart-Harris, Brierley, Olakigbe

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, Tomiyasu, Rice, Ødegaard (Jorginho 90+2), Martinelli (Havertz 79), Trossard, Saka (White 90+2), Jesus (Nketiah 66)

Subs not used: Hein, Cédric, Kiwior, Elneny, Nelson

Attendance: 17,201

Frank proud of performance

Head coach Thomas Frank was keen to highlight another impressive display from his side, despite Kai Havertz’s late header consigning the Bees to a defeat.

“There were two chances for both teams; they took one of theirs and we didn’t,” he said.

“It’s tough to take when they score in the last minute of the game, but we made it very difficult for Arsenal.

“It was almost the perfect defensive performance in so many ways against a very, very good offensive team.”

Frank continued: “There are a lot of positives to take from the game. In the moment it is frustrating to take, but we need to focus on the performances.

“This is game 13 and we have had 12 good or very good performances. We just need to keep doing that, keep moving forward and keep believing.”

Yarmoliuk discusses first Premier League start

Brentford midfielder Yehor Yarmoliuk has described how it felt to make his first Premier League start at the Gtech on Saturday.

The Ukrainian, who has impressed in numerous substitute appearances this season, said he was nervous when he found out he’d be starting, but revealed that he was just told to go and play his natural game. 

“Of course, it was an unbelievable feeling for me, but we wanted to get some points from this game,” he said.

“Playing against Arsenal, one of the biggest clubs in the division, is why I came to the club.” 

He added: “I found out I was starting yesterday before training, Thomas told me about this and I was a little bit surprised about it - and a bit nervous too!

“Thomas just asked me to play and be myself, just be the best version of myself. 

“[The more experienced players] supported me so much and helped me to fit into the team.”