Arsenal beat Brighton fairly comprehensively in the Premier League on the South Coast on Saturday, thanks in part to a stellar performance by Kai Havertz.

The Germany international scored a goal and setup another in his team’s commanding 3-0 victory.

The Gunners entered the weekend sitting second in the Premier League standings. League-leading Liverpool topped the table by just two points over the north London outfit and will not play their weekend fixture until Sunday.

However, reigning English champions Manchester City jumped ahead of Arsenal Saturday morning thanks to a 4-2 win against Crystal Palace. City’s victory tightened the title race and helped the club reach the same point total as the Reds. As a result the Gunners needed to keep pace with a triumph against a tricky Seagulls side.

Visitors take slim lead into halftime after Saka spot kick

Both Arsenal and Brighton, quite predictably, had multiple scoring chances in the early stages of the match. Gabriel nearly, and probably should have, gave the Gunners a lead inside 90 seconds. The defender found himself with a free header near goal after a gorgeous free kick from Martin Odegaard. However, the Brazilian somehow sent the short-range shot wide of the target. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus also could not capitalize on other fantastic opportunities inside the first dozen minutes.

The hosts had two very good chances to go ahead during this timeframe as well. Julio Enciso and Jakub Moder both sent shots just outside David Raya’s goal in the ninth and 10th minute respectively. Enciso’s try, in particular, came after a blistering counter attack by Brighton. Nevertheless, the Paraguayan’s effort zipped over the bar.

Things seemed to settle down a bit following the flurry of shots in the early moments. Arsenal, however, were given a penalty kick in the 31st minute after Tariq Lamptey brought down Jesus inside the box. Brighton players an fans argued that the defender nicked the ball, but replays clearly showed that Jesus was tripped in the area. Saka eventually stepped up and sent Bart Verbruggen the wrong way to give the Gunners the lead.

Gunners grab two more goals to earn all three points

The start of the second half essentially began just as the opening period ended. Both teams looked positive going forward in the first 15 minutes of the latter half. Arsenal, however, undoubtedly had the best chances during this stretch. Jesus and Odegaard both had quality opportunities to add another goal for the visitors.

Nevertheless, Havertz eventually doubled Arsenal’s lead in the 62nd minute. Odegaard initially slipped in Jorginho with a clever through ball down the right flank. The Italian midfielder, although in an unusual attacking spot, then sent a low cross towards Havertz in front of the goal. The versatile attacker cooly finished beyond the keeper from only a couple of yards away. It was the German’s 10th total goal on the campaign.

Second-half substitute Leandro Trossard put the finishing touches on the match with a breakaway goal just a few minutes from the final whistle. The winger raced free on goal from the halfway line as Brighton pushed for a goal. Seagulls supporters previously booed their former player earlier in the game. Trossard would get the final laugh though as he celebrated with his arms stretched out following the strike.

The victory sends Arsenal back atop the Premier League standings by a single point for the moment. Liverpool can, however, jump back ahead with a win against bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday. A draw between the two big teams will keep the Gunners ahead based on a better goal difference.

Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images