Arsenal open up considerable lead at Manchester City in Premier League

Capitalising on Manchester City’s stumble at Everton, Arsenal went into the game aiming to extend their lead at the top when they face Brighton in their last Premier League match of 2022.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Brighton played the match with two changes to the starting line-up from the team that beat Southampton. Italian manager De Zerbi has gambled on Lamptey and Gilmour. Meanwhile, Alexis Mac Allister continues to enjoy time off after winning the World Cup.

Elsewhere, Mikel Arteta has executed only one change to Arsenal from last Monday’s turnaround over West Ham, with Zinchenko coming on in place of Tierney in the left-back position.

Despite Brighton’s competitive momentum during the current season, Arsenal needed just two minutes to open the scoring through youngster Bukayo Aaka, taking advantage of Partey’s interception to start another fine collective move, with Partey and Martinelli featuring.

Brighton grew in possession for the remainder of the first half, but failed to offer any real danger to their opponents. Arsenal, on the other hand, accumulated several chances on counter-attacks and found the second goal in the 39th minute, with Odegaard executing a half volley in front of the markers.

After the break, the Gunners again needed just two minutes to score another goal. On another counter-attack, Martinelli surged down the left with quality and crossed low for Nketiah to finish.

Had the match ended in 3-0 scoreline, Arsenal would have received nothing but praise, but the complications of De Zerbi’s new-found approach exposed defensive frailties in the final third.

As a result, Brighton accumulated dangerous chances and the Gunners were too exposed to the counter-attacks. In the 65th minute, Mitoma hit the opposing goalkeeper’s corner and scored the first. Gabriel Martinelli scored Arsenal’s fourth in the 71st minute and looked to have set up the duel again after attacking the penalty area on Odegaard’s assist.

Brighton again reduced the deficit through Ferguson, recovering the ball after a partial cutback. Mitoma came close to scoring the third goal in the 89th minute, but offside flagged via VAR gave Arsenal the final respite.

At the most demanding moment, Arsenal’s defence failed to live up to expectations. However, the result should be extolled above all this late 2022, with manager Mikel Arteta closing out the year seven points above Pep Guardiola in the Premier League table.

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