Arsenal 2-0 Brighton: Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz on target as Gunners secure dominant win | Football news

Mikel Arteta spoke of Arsenal’s “incredible” performance as they returned to the top of the Premier League table with a dominant 2-0 win over Brighton at the Emirates Stadium.

In a one-sided contest, Gabriel Jesus headed home from a corner shortly after half-time and Kai Havertz added a second off substitute Eddie Nketiah’s pass in the closing stages.

Arsenal spurned a flurry of other chances either side of the goals, registering 26 shots to Brighton’s six, but Havertz’s strike, shortly after Pascal Gross missed a guilty chance at the other end, finally made the scoreline safe.

The win ensured Arsenal bounced back from last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Aston Villa, while capitalizing on Manchester City’s failure to beat Crystal Palace on Saturday. Brighton, meanwhile, slipped to ninth after their Europa League effort on Thursday.

Arteta said: “Outstanding, incredible from start to finish. A big compliment to the players. Against a top team, we had an incredible performance and deservedly won the game.

“We had to be patient but at the same time decisive against this team. Because the moment you have certain doubts, they start opening you up, frustrating you and dominating the ball.

“We didn’t let that happen today. We showed a lot of maturity but also intelligence. This game against them requires you to be really smart, especially in certain areas, and we did that in a really good way.”

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Player ratings

Arsenal: Raya (7), White (7), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Zinchenko (7), Rice (8), Odegor (8), Havertz (8), Saka (8), Martinelli (8), Jesus (8).

subtitles: Nketia (7), Trossard (6), Smith Rowe (6), Nelson (6), Kivior (6).

Brighton: Verbruggen (6), Milner (5), Dunk (7), Van Hecke (6), Veltman (6), Gilmour (6), Gross (6), Lallana (6), Mitoma (6), Adingra (6) , Ferguson (5).

subtitles: Hinschelwood (7), Pedro (7), Buonanotte (6), Julio (6), Welbeck (6).

Player of the match: Bukayo Saka

How Arsenal’s dominance finally told

Brighton were chasing a fourth straight win at the Emirates Stadium, but the first half was a story of total Arsenal dominance, with Bukayo Saka giving left-back James Milner a particularly tough time.

Team news

  • Arsenal fielded the same team as the one beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa last weekend. Jorginho missed out with a leg injury.
  • Brighton made three changes from their 1-1 draw with Burnley last weekend, with Billy Gilmour among the entries.

The Arsenal winger got the better of the veteran on a number of occasions in just the first 15 minutes, producing two dangerous crosses before seeing a low shot saved by Bart Verbruggen.

It wasn’t long before Arsenal were threatening from all angles, with Martin Odegaard shooting wide, Jesus spurning a series of half-chances and defender Gabriel Magalaes heading too close to Verbruggen from Gabriel Martinelli’s cross.



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Arsenal’s Gabriel and Brighton’s Evan Ferguson in action

Martinelli proved to be as dangerous as Saka on Arsenal’s left flank and should have broken the deadlock when he tapped in from his fellow winger’s shot.

The home fans grew increasingly frustrated – but most notably by the decisions of referee Tim Robinson, who mysteriously chose not to show Milner a yellow card for a foul on Saka, before booking manager Arteta after a spirited touchline reaction.

There was still time for another Arsenal chance before the break when Saka fired over, but the Gunners picked up where they left off after the break and the opener finally arrived.



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Gabriel Jesus celebrates his goal for Arsenal

It was an easy goal, with Jan Paul van Hecke only able to fire at Sacca’s corner and Jesus unmarked at the far post to head into the empty net, with Verbruggen deadlocked.

Arsenal continued to pile on the Brighton goal as Lewis Dunk cleared Ben White’s header off the line and Odegaard, Havertz and Saka wasted other chances.

The home side’s profligacy was almost punished when Gross sent Kaoru Mitoma, who curled inches wide of Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya’s near post when he should have scored.



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Havertz scored his fourth goal in seven games for Arsenal

Within minutes, however, Declan Rice forced another save from Verbruggen at the other end, following a powerful strike.

Then, finally, the hosts made the game safe as substitute Nketiah released Havertz and the Germany international kept his cool to score his fourth goal in seven games and spark more celebrations.

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Arteta: We showed maturity

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta described his side’s 2-0 win at Brighton as an incredible performance but said they still have a long way to go in the Premier League title race

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “Outstanding, amazing from start to finish. A big compliment to the players. Against a top team, we had an incredible performance and deservedly won the game.

“I have to praise them because I know how difficult it is and what Brighton do to teams. We didn’t let that happen and for that I’m super happy.

“We had to be patient but at the same time decisive against this team. Because the moment you have certain doubts, they start to open you up, frustrate you and dominate the ball.

“We didn’t let that happen today. We showed a lot of maturity but also intelligence. This game against them requires you to be really smart, especially in certain areas, and we did that in a really good way.

On Martin Odegaard’s performance, he said: “He wanted to celebrate his beautiful birthday in a great way and he did it with a win and a great performance.

“But not only him. Against this team, individually, the way they press, man-to-man, you have to be so good, so accurate, so precise, so smart to do what we did today and they did.”

De Zerbi: Arsenal are the best team in Poland

Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi admitted his side were second best after losing 2-0 to Arsenal and said their opponents are the best team in the Premier League this season

Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi said: “Arsenal played much better than us. They deserved to win the game. We suffered a lot.

“I think Arsenal are one of the best – maybe this season, the best – team in the Premier League. We are not used to suffering like this. We are used to controlling the game.

“But anyway, I’m really proud of the players’ performance. We suffered with the right attitude and the right mentality.

“I think we can find the advantage from this game in other games. We can score with Pascal Gross, p [Jack] Hinshelwood twice but it wouldn’t have been fair if we had scored and finished the game 1-1.”

De Zerby confirmed that Joel Veltman has suffered what appears to be a serious knee injury, adding: “I don’t like to talk about the problems, the injuries.

“We want to turn problems into opportunities, into opportunities for the young players who need to get better and improve.” We are playing with a lot of injuries, but that is not a secret. Everyone knows the number of our injured.

“We could have played better, but we played with the right attitude and mentality. I think this match will be important in the future. We will find that attitude and mentality in the games and we will win in the future.

Arsenal’s Emirates Fortress – Opta Stats

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 13 home games in all competitions (W11 D2), their longest run under Mikel Arteta and longest overall since December 2018 (also 13 games).
  • Kai Havertz has scored four goals in his last seven games for Arsenal in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 40 games at club level combined (4).
  • Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been booked for the fourth time in the Premier League this season – no manager has been booked more often in 2023/24.
  • Brighton failed to score in the Premier League for the first time since February 18, ending a run of 32 consecutive games in which a goal was scored. Indeed, it was only the second time in Roberto De Zerbi’s 24 away appearances in the competition that he has seen his side fail to score.
  • For the first time in 49 Premier League games under Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton failed to produce a single shot in the first half. Meanwhile, Arsenal had 15 shots at the break. They have scored more first-half tries alone in the competition twice before under Mikel Arteta.

What next?

Arsenal head to Anfield next Saturday for a bigger clash against Liverpoolstart 17:30, live Sky Sports.

Brighton travel to Selhurst Park for a derby clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday, December 21, starting at 8:00 p.m., live Sky Sports.

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