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Smith Rowe and Saka score as Arsenal beats Brentford 2-1

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, left, and Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Brentford at the Emirates Stadium, London, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)
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LONDON (AP) — Second-half goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka helped Arsenal beat Brentford 2-1 on Saturday to strengthen its bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Smith Rowe’s solo effort in the 48th minute broke the deadlock and Saka doubled the lead in the 79th before Christian Norgaard scored in stoppage time for the visitors at Emirates Stadium.

The victory put Arsenal level on points with West Ham in fifth place and one point behind Manchester United, which currently occupies the final Champions League spot. Arsenal has two games in hand on United and three on West Ham.

Brentford, again without top-scorer Ivan Toney and new recruit Christian Eriksen, has now lost six of its last seven league games. The west London team hasn’t won a league game since beating Aston Villa 2-1 on Jan. 2 and is six points clear of the relegation zone.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal had 16 shots in a dominant first half though registered just two efforts on target. Alexandre Lacazette thought he had broken the deadlock but his effort was ruled out by a narrow offside call.

Arsenal hosts Wolverhampton on Thursday in one of their rescheduled games.