Arteta masterstroke typifies Arsenal revival to secure Brighton victory

Date published: Tuesday 29th December 2020 7:51 - Steve Pearson


Alexandre Lacazette’s immediate impact from the bench summed up a vibrant second-half performance as Arsenal secured all three points versus Brighton.

Arsenal talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to the line-up, with fans’ hopes high of a lethal link-up between he and Gabriel Martinelli.

The duo were peripheral figures in the early going, however, as both sides appeared content to retain possession and build their way into the contest.

The first piece of goalmouth action fell the way of the hosts, but Seagulls winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh blazed over after Mohamed Elneny had surrendered possession cheaply.

Chances two and three were both crafted by Brighton, but clear sights on goal were proving difficult to come by with the defences firmly in command.

Yves Bissouma played the role of arch-disruptor to Arsenal’s attacks. As the half-hour mark approached, Mikel Arteta’s men hadn’t fashioned a single effort on goal.

The Gunners finally unleashed an effort in anger, but Granit Xhaka’s free-kick failed to draw a save from Brighton stopper Robert Sanchez.

Elneny again handed the hosts a chance to counter after sloppy work i the middle, but the match’s familiar lack of cutting edge reared its ugly head once more as Alexis Mac Allister’s powerful drive started high and continued to rise.

Brighton finished the half on top, but couldn’t capitalise as the side’s went into the break locked at 0-0.

Arsenal emerged the brighter of the two sides, and should’ve opened the scoring after superb work from the in-form Bukayo Saka.

The versatile youngster broke free down the left flank before firing low towards Aubameyang.

The striker’s connection from close-range was sweet, but Sanchez was in the right place to flip the ball over the bar with a magnificent reflex save.

Martinelli went close after a moment of magic from Emile Smith-Rowe, while a poor decision to shoot from Saka with Aubameyang open ensured the stalemate remained.

With Arteta’s team talk still seemingly ringing in their ears, Arsenal continued to press for the opener and soon found their reward after Alexandre Lacazette’s introduction from the bench.

Saka this time opted for the right option and picked out the Frenchman mere seconds after his arrival. One touch to settle himself was followed by an accurate curling effort inside the near post to hand Arsenal a 1-0 lead.

Amid their resurgence, Arsenal were handed a scare when the vibrant Saka appeared to injure his ankle.

After a lengthy period of treatment, the youngster gritted his teeth and carried on, but eventually succumbed to the pain and was replaced by Dani Ceballos.

Graham Potter rung the changes in the hopes of capitalising on the visitor’s frayed nerves. But Arsenal defended manfully in the closing stages to hold to secure a vital 1-0 victory.


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