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Brighton 2-4 Arsenal: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

A brace from Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli was supported by an early strike from Bukayo Saka and a masterclass performance by Martin Ødegaard to see Arsenal pounce on Manchester City’s frustrating result

Premier League pace-setters Arsenal have closed out the 2022 calendar year in style after a 4-2 win on the south coast against Brighton at the American Express Community Stadium, solidifying their position at the top of the table in what is proving to be an incredible season under Mikel Arteta.

After watching Manchester City drop valuable points at home against Everton earlier today, a young Gunners outfit had all the fuel they needed to keep the engines running to bookend the first half of the season, and once again it was familiar young faces that proved decisive when it has mattered most.

The Gunners should not have wished for a better start against one of their traditional bogey opponents of late after England starlet Bukayo Saka fired Arteta’s men into an early 1-0 lead after just 66-seconds when his effort found its way past Robert Sánchez after Arsenal recovered possession in Brighton’s third of the pitch only for Gabriel Martinelli’s cross to deflect off Lewis Dunk to gift Saka with a guilt-edged chance.

Despite the early one-goal deficit, Roberto De Zerbi’s men gradually worked themselves back into proceedings and enjoyed passages of play that seemed to offer enough evidence to suggest that the Seagulls could level matters on the scoresheet, particularly with Brighton boasting over 60% possession after 20-plus-minutes of action.

But Arsenal still knew how to turn the screws as they have done all season long under Arteta, with Martin Ødegaard the standout figure once again as he regularly found both Martinelli and Saka in dangerous spaces in the final third at will.

The Norwegian’s artistry saw him turn goalscorer six minutes from time when Brighton’s poor clearance from an Arsenal corner found its way to Ødegaard just inside the edge of the area before his effort would end up rippling past Sánchez for his seventh goal of the season, with the Gunners now coasting to early New Years Eve celebrations.

Brighton did find a consolation goal through Japanese international winger Kaoru Mitoma in the 65th minute after a perfectly-weighted pass from Pascal Groß found the youngster 12-yards from goal and in between Gabriel Magalhães and William Saliba in enough space to dispatch his effort into the bottom corner past Aaron Ramsdale.

Martinelli bagged his brace in the 71st minute to restore Arsenal’s three-goal advantage courtesy of an outrageous pass from Ødegaard which put the Brazilain free and clear of Tariq Lamptey before slotting through Sánchez’s legs, but Brighton once more battled back through second-half substitute Evan Ferguson when the Irish striker out-paced William Saliba into space before cutting the deficit back to two.

De Zerbi’s Seagulls nearly pulled within one goal through Mitoma on the back of a lovely low finish to beat Ramsdale at his far post again only for the pacy wide man to have been judged to have been offside after VAR intervened, with Arsenal reaching Anthony Taylor’s final whistle with a 4-2 win to ring in the new year as Premier League leaders by a seven-point margin.

Brighton Player Ratings

  • GK: Robert Sánchez – 6
  • RB: Tariq Lamptey – 6.5
  • CB: Lewis Dunk – 6
  • CB: Levi Colwill – 6
  • LB: Pervis Estupiñán – 6
  • CM: Billy Gilmour – 5.5
  • CM: Pascal Groß – 6.5
  • CAM: Adam Lallana – 5.5
  • RW: Solly March – 6
  • LW: Kaoru Mitoma – 7.5
  • CF: Leandro Trossard – 6
  • Sub: Jeremy Sarmiento – 7
  • Sub: Evan Ferguson – 7
  • Sub: Julio Enciso – 6

Arsenal Player Ratings

  • GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 6.5
  • RB: Ben White – 7
  • CB: William Saliba – 5.5
  • CB: Gabriel Magalhães – 6
  • LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7
  • CM: Thomas Partey – 7
  • CM: Granit Xhaka – 7
  • CAM: Martin Ødegaard – 9
  • RW: Bukayo Saka – 8
  • LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 8
  • CF: Eddie Nketiah – 7
  • Sub: Kieran Tierney – 6.5
  • Sub: Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6
  • Sub: Mohamed Elneny – 6
  • Sub: Rob Holding – N/A

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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