Arsenal beat Brighton 4-2 in an entertaining game at the Amex Stadium on the last day of the year on Saturday night.
The win meant that the Gunners head into the new year with a lead of 7 points at the top of the table over reigning Champions Manchester City who were held by Everton at home earlier in the evening.
Arsenal romp To an early lead
Bukayo Saka put the Gunners ahead in the second minute after controlling the ball in the penalty box with a deft touch and then finishing with aplomb.
Arsenal could have been 3-0 ahead inside the first 7 minutes had Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez not kept out Oleksandr Zinchenko and then Eddie Nketiah shot wide from just 12 yards out.
Brighton did eventually settle into the game with sustained possession but hardly tested Aaron Ramsdale in the opposition goal.
Martin Odegaard gave the visitors a 2-0 lead in the 39th minute despite mis-hitting his kick following a corner but the ball hit the ground and then bounced over everyone in the penalty box to hit the back of the net.
Nketiah made it 3-0 two minutes after the restart as Thomas Partey found Gabriel Martinelli on the left flank who drove in a low cross into the penalty box.
The ball brushed off Sanchez who couldn’t hold on and Nketiah reacted quickest to poke the ball home into an empty net.
Brighton however got their stride in the game and were rewarded with a goal of their own in the 65th minute after Kaoru Mitouma curled a wonderful right footed finish beyond Ramsdale after being setup by Pascal Gross following wonderful interplay among the home side.
However, any hopes of a comeback from the hosts were soon quelled six minutes later as Odegaard played in an astonishing through ball to put Martinelli through on goal and the Brazilian had luck on his side as his shot went straight through Sanchez into the empty Brighton net.
Teenager Evan Ferguson scored his first league goal for the home side to half the deficit and setup a nervy last 10 minutes for Mikle Arteta’s men. Mitoma scored again in the 89th minute but VAR chalked it off after replays showed that the winger’s heel was offside in the buildup to the goal.
Arsenal held on six minutes of added time to grab yet another impressive victory and the London side sit top of the standings with 43 points from 16 games.
The Gunners host third place Newcastle next Tuesday night while Brighton travel to Merseyside to face Everton on the same night.
Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images
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