With a seven-point hole on Manchester City, 2023 guarantees such a lot to Arsenal. If the World Cup loomed over their early season and taken with it substantial collateral injury, Mikel Arteta’s workforce have now not but misplaced their step.
They have vulnerability, and Brighton scored two second-half targets to forestall this corresponding to a New Year’s parade. But in Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli, all 4 of them goalscorers, lies the cause of Arsenal’s present primacy.
Until one thing or any person else past Gabriel Jesus breaks it, Arteta will probably be sticking to the similar method that introduced pre-World Cup luck. The sole trade from beating West Ham 3-1 on Boxing Day was once changing Kieran Tierney at left-back with Oleksandr Zinchenko, the Ukraine world no downgrade and with title-chasing enjoy.
For Brighton, no signal of Alexis MacAllister, nonetheless lacking regardless that presumed sobered up from Argentina’s celebrations. He won heat applause within the fit’s preamble just for the stadium announcer to invite – probably in jest – if somebody had the midfielder’s quantity.
Mac Allister will have changed Moisés Caicedo, suspended after being booked within the 3-1 victory in opposition to Southampton. Billy Gilmour, a vintage Scottish ballplayer but to reside as much as his undoubted skill, was once partnering Pascal Gross. With each Mac Allister and Caicedo topping sought after lists for the Premier League elite, Roberto De Zerbi, and the membership’s CEO, Paul Barber, freshly adorned within the new yr honours, would possibly quickly require extra everlasting midfield answers.
Brighton had been no pushover for Arsenal, dropping best 3 of 10 earlier Premier League encounters, nevertheless it took best 70 seconds for them to concede. Gabriel Martinelli picked up the ball after Ødegaard’s surging run thru that improvised Brighton midfield, and the ball sooner or later deflected for Saka to complete.
It would possibly quickly had been two in a while after, Robert Sánchez smothering when Zinchenko had escaped down the left, the place Tariq Lamptey was once suffering with Martinelli’s effervescence. The Ghanaian’s strengths lie in attacking and from his overlap Leandro Trossard, Brighton’s false No 9, had a shot deflected.
His brogues and trouser legs muddying as he paced, Arteta lower an anguished determine as Brighton slowly took a foothold, cursing when Trossard pressured Aaron Ramsdale right into a prime save. His workforce nonetheless appeared a ways much more likely to attain, Nketiah’s linkage with Saka and Martinelli provided a satisfactory impact of the lamented Jesus. Brighton’s perennial drawback of a loss of leading edge supposed they produced little risk with that expanding proportion of ownership.
Ødegaard, a captain who leads through instance of excellence moderately than chest-beating, quickly put a grin again on his supervisor’s face. First to a moment ball after a Saka nook, the Norwegian’s function owed a lot more to fortune than impeccable methodology, the ball squirting off the bottom and past a helpless Sánchez.
In scoring throughout the opening mins of the second one 1/2, virtually as temporarily as their first function, Arsenal had the sport and that aching merit over City all however wrapped up. This time, Saka began it and Nketiah swept in after Sánchez may best parry Martinelli’s shot. Nketiah had now not began a Premier League recreation till Jesus’ World Cup damage however has scored two targets in two begins since. While Arteta would possibly call for January switch industry, an understudy becoming in so neatly suggests his workforce’s coherence and efficiency didn’t totally leisure with Jesus main the road.
Arteta selected to take off Zinchenko and Ben White, Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu approaching, protective key avid gamers forward of demanding situations to return. When Kaoru Mitoma lower in from the distance Tomiyasu left vacant to attain a function dominated simply onside through VAR, it was once a reminder of the way reliant Arteta has been on his first XI, his squad thinner than Arsenal’s chasers.
Within the ones naked bones lies the standard of Ødegaard, whose outrageous passes arrange Martinelli. Though teen Evan Ferguson’s first ever Premier League function arrange a last length during which Brighton rippled with risk. When Mitoma had the ball within the web a moment time, a miraculous comeback appeared on, just for era to intrude. Arteta referred to as for a peaceful his frenzied expression didn’t fit however he was once sooner or later in a position to respire and glance down on City from a better peak.