Arsenal move seven points clear as Mikel Arteta hails ‘big win’ at Brighton

With a seven-point hole on Manchester City, 2023 promises a lot for Arsenal. If the World Cup loomed over early season and taken with it large collateral harm, Mikel Arteta’s crew are yet to lose their step.

There are vulnerabilities. Brighton scored overdue 2d-half desires, every other dominated out by using VAR, to prevent this becoming a new 12 months’s parade. There may be in addition nerves to stand down, beginning with Newcastle on Tuesday and Arteta may soon must find some method to hide his non-public fears.At times, he reduce a tortured figure however in Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli, every of them goalscorers, Ødegaard delivering a brilliantly innovative overall performance, there’s a lot greater to them than Gabriel Jesus. “A large win, I’m definitely happy, they made it hard for us,” stated Arteta. “Every sport is a big take a look at.”Brighton had lost simplest three of 10 preceding Premier League encounters with Arsenal and would in the end play their element, but it took simplest 70 seconds for them to concede. Martinelli picked up the ball after Ødegaard’s surge, and the ball subsequently deflected for Saka to complete.

It might quickly had been , Robert Sánchez smothering whilst Oleksandr Zinchenko had escaped down the left, wherein Tariq Lamptey struggled with Martinelli’s effervescence. The Ghanaian’s strengths lie in attacking, and from his overlap Leandro Trossard, Brighton’s false No nine, had a shot deflected. His brogues and trouser legs muddying as he paced, Arteta cursed while Trossard compelled Aaron Ramsdale right into a excessive store.

Ødegaard, leading through the instance of excellence in place of chest-beating, positioned a grin again on his manager’s face just earlier than the wreck. First to a 2d ball after a Saka nook, the Norwegian’s shanked intention much owed extra to fortune than his otherwise impeccable approach. “I assume it become a terrific aim,” he said. “Three factors turned into the entirety nowadays.”

“He’s doing what we want him to do, to decide soccer suits,” stated Arteta of his captain. “All 4 front players scoring these days, that’s outstanding information.”For Brighton, there was no sign of Alexis Mac Allister, nevertheless missing although presumed sobered up from Argentina’s celebrations. He received heat applause in the fit’s preamble most effective for the stadium announcer to invite – presumably in jest – if every person had the midfielder’s number.

The Argentinian should have replaced Moises Caicedo, suspended after being booked inside the three-1 defeat of Southampton. Billy Gilmour, partnering Pascal Gross, struggled in midfield. With both Mac Allister and Caicedo topping January switch wishlists, Roberto de Zerbi, and the membership’s CEO Paul Barber, freshly honoured within the King’s New Year’s Honours, might also quickly require greater everlasting midfield solutions. “I can say nothing greater than Mac Allister is in my Brighton group, I can let you know not anything extra,” stated De Zerbi.Three goals up, Arteta took off Zinchenko and Ben White for Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu, to protect key players. When Kaoru Mitoma reduce in from the distance his lax Japanese compatriot had left to attain, it become a reminder of ways reliant Arteta has been on his first XI, his squad a long way thinner than their chasers.

Within those naked bones is the satisfactory of Ødegaard, whose outrageous raking bypass installation Martinelli’s goal earlier than teen Evan Ferguson’s first Premier League intention installation a climax wherein Brighton showed a risk their first half had lacked.

“Maybe we need to govern the game a piece better,” admitted Ødegaard. “We allow them to in more than one instances, however they’re a good crew, proper at the ball.”

When Mitoma had the ball inside the net a second time, a stunning comeback seemed on, most effective for generation to intrude. “The ultimate goal of Martinelli, it closed the sport,” shrugged De Zerbi afterwards.

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