Arsenal return to winning ways with Brighton rout

Arsenal put in a dominant display to return to winning ways as they saw off Brighton at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners were well-beaten by Roberto De Zerbi’s men in the corresponding fixture last season, all-but ending their Premier League title charge in the process.

This victory in an entertaining contest – coming after defeat at Aston Villa eight days ago – would have helped banish some of the ghosts of that defeat while keeping Mikel Arteta’s side very much in the mix at the top of the table.

Gabriel Jesus’ all-round game was exceptional throughout but it was his back-post header from close-range that broke the deadlock, before a cool Kai Havertz finish wrapped up the three points for Arsenal – who also become the first team to prevent Brighton scoring in a league game this season.

The Seagulls’ Europa League exerts arguably caught up with them as they were largely toothless throughout, managing just one shot on target.

Bukayo Saka, up against the experienced James Milner in a mismatch for pace down Arsenal’s right, had a couple of early efforts blocked, while Martin Odegaard curled a shot just wide of the post.

Gabriel Martinelli fired over when he should have done better as Arsenal dominated the chances in a very watchable first half, although Arteta will not want to see replays of his booking from referee Tim Robinson – his fourth of the season having only returned to the touchline after being banned at Aston Villa.

David Raya had enjoyed a quiet first half in the Arsenal goal but would have had his heart in his mouth as he failed to catch a routine Simon Adingra cross before claiming at the second attempt.

Saka missed the target with a great chance on the stroke of half-time while Odegaard should have opened the scoring soon after the restart.

Bart Verbruggen gifted possession to Declan Rice, who in turned played in Saka to roll in the Arsenal skipper, who opted to take a touch in front of goal, allowing Jan Paul van Hecke to make a crucial block.

It counted for little, however, as Arsenal hit the front from the resulting corner, van Hecke inadvertently flicking the ball on into the path of Jesus, who had the simple task of nodding into an empty net.

Saka then hit the side-netting before Brighton captain Lewis Dunk brilliantly cleared Ben White’s flicked header from under his own crossbar.

Odegaard was once again kept out by Verbruggen before Havertz headed a very presentable chance over the bar.

Brighton’s best chance of the afternoon fell to Pascal Gross with eight minutes to go and but he could only turn Kaoru Mitoma’s low centre wide.

Soon after and the points were secured by Havertz, the Germany international finishing with aplomb after being slipped in by substitute Eddie Nketiah as Arsenal eased through the remaining minutes to secure victory.