Ethan Nwaneri becomes youngest Premier League player – 5 things we learned

Brentford v Arsenal – Premier League – Gtech Community Stadium
(Image credit: John Walton)

Arsenal’s Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest ever Premier League player at 15 years and 181 days as the Gunners defeated Brentford to return to the top of the table.

Here, the PA news agency picks out five things we learned from this weekend’s Premier League action.

Rodgers backed into a corner by leaky defence

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Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers is odds-on to be the next Premier League manager to be sacked following his side’s 6-2 thrashing at Tottenham, where Son Heung-min came off the bench to score a 13-minute hat-trick. The Foxes are bottom of the table with just one point from their first seven games, a point which came when they squandered a 2-0 lead at home to Brentford on the opening day. Since the start of the 2021-22 season Leicester have conceded 19 goals from corners and have a goal difference of minus 12 already this season.

Form is temporary, class is permanent

Son Heung-min

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min (right) shakes hands with Leicester’s Timothy Castagne at the end of the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (John Walton/PA)

A frustrated Son Heung-min was dropped to the bench after failing to score in his first eight matches in all competitions this season, but last season’s joint-top goalscorer in the Premier League responded in the ideal manner with his hat-trick against Leicester. After watching Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Rodrigo Bentancur net during the opening 47 minutes, Son got the chance to get in on the act and produced two stunning strikes – one with either foot – before completing his hat-trick with a shot that goalkeeper Danny Ward will think he should have saved.

O’Neil making his case for permanent Bournemouth role

Gary O'Neil

Bournemouth interim head coach Gary O’Neil is enjoying an impressive spell in charge (Mike Egerton/PA)

Bournemouth may not have played any of the biggest teams since Scott Parker was sacked following the 9-0 hammering at Liverpool, but interim boss Gary O’Neil has nevertheless enjoyed an impressive spell in charge. A 0-0 home draw with Wolves within hours of Parker’s sacking steadied the ship and was followed by a spirited 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest after being 2-0 down. O’Neil insisted after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at big-spending Newcastle he still had “no thoughts” about the permanent job, and that may be wise if ownership of the club changes hands, but more good results after the international break would strengthen his case.

Arsenal setting records as they continue to impress

Ethan Nwaneri

Arsenal’s Ethan Nwaneri (right) comes on to replace Fabio Vieira against Brentford and become the Premier League’s youngest player (John Walton/PA)

Victories for Manchester City and Tottenham on Saturday meant Arsenal dropped to third in the table before Sunday’s fixture with Brentford, but Mikel Arteta’s side cruised back to the top of the standings with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira. Vieira was replaced in the closing moments by Nwaneri, who became the youngest ever Premier League player at 15 years and 181 days. Nwaneri beat the previous record held by Harvey Elliott, who was 16 years and 30 days old when he played for Fulham in 2019, but Northern Irish schoolboy Christopher Atherton holds the record for the youngest senior footballer in the United Kingdom after his recent appearance for Glenavon aged 13 years and 329 days.

Time at a premium for Forest

Harrison Reed

Fulham’s Harrison Reed celebrates scoring his side’s third goal in their 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest (Tim Goode/PA)

Forest overhauled their squad for the Premier League with 22 summer signings, including big transfer fees for Morgan Gibbs-White, Emmanuel Dennis and Neco Williams and bringing Jesse Lingard in on a free. But, as they have discovered, new blood does not guarantee success and for the the second game in a row, they squandered a half-time lead to lose 3-2 against Fulham. Forest boss Steve Cooper alluded to his side’s lack of cohesion but knows they cannot let games pass them by trying to establish it. Sitting second bottom of the table, the main aim now is finding a way to get points on the board.

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