Brighton – Arsenal: The Gunners have back-to-back Premier League victories for just the second time this season (games no. 1 and 2) after grinding out a 1-0 result at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Alexandre Lacazette scored the game’s only goal in the 66th minute, securing three points which push Arsenal up to 13th in the Premier League table as a result. Brighton, on the other hand, tumble into 17th.
3 things we learned: Brighton – Arsenal
1. 45 minutes of… nothing from Arsenal: Perhaps you watched Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Saturday and thought to yourself, “Finally, Arteta has unlocked the attack.” Yeah, no. How about one shot in 45 minutes from the Gunners, compared to eight for Brighton? Order well and truly restored.
2. A different team after halftime: Perhaps it was an earth-scorching team talk from Arteta, or a minor tactical tweak from something observed in the first half — whatever it was, Arsenal had done a complete 180 by the time they re-emerged for the second half. Rather than conceding the middle third of the field and allowing Brighton passage into the final third, Arsenal pressured the ball higher up the field and, lo and behold, won it higher up the field. Starting their counter-attacking 20 or 30 yards closer to the opposition goal proved an effective strategy.
3. Superstar Saka: Arsenal appear to have another homegrown superstar-in-the-making on their hands, as Bukayo Saka continues to perform at a very high level at just 19 years of age. Virtually everything the Gunners created on Tuesday had his fingerprints all over it. Unfortunately for the youngster, he was forced off with an injury in the 81st minute, though the move did appear to be more cautionary than anything.
The first half was all Brighton, in the sense that they had the only halfway decent look at goal. The Seagulls found a bit of joy down the left wing in the 36th minute, as Bernardo picked out Alireza Jahanbakhsh 12 yards from goal. Jahanbakhsh unleashed a low strike toward goal, but Bernd Leno was quick to get down to his right and make the stop.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
At long last, Arsenal created a point-blank scoring chance and forced Robert Sanchez into a difficult save in the 50th minute. Saka raced down the right flank and crossed for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the near post, where the Gabonese international redirected the ball toward goal, only to be denied by a fantastic reaction save.
Lacazette proved the difference maker mere seconds after entering the game, but again it was Saka from which the danger started. Saka sped down the right flank again and picked out Lacazette near the penalty spot. The Frenchman’s first touch (of the game and the move) was immaculate, and the finish was just as good under pressure.