Post-Match Report

Report: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-4 Arsenal

Gabriel Martinelli scores against Brighton

Brighton -

Amex Stadium
Premier League
Premier League
              Mitoma (65)
               Ferguson (77)
Mitoma (65) Ferguson (77)
2 4
                  Saka (1)
                   Odegaard (38)
                   Nketiah (47)
                   Martinelli (71)
Saka (1)
Odegaard (38)
Nketiah (47)
Martinelli (71)

On a New Year’s Eve to remember, we ended 2022 by beating Brighton & Hove Albion in a thrilling encounter to move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Just 66 seconds had passed when Bukayo Saka put us ahead, and Martin Odegaard’s seventh of the season handed us a two-goal advantage at the break, which was quickly added to by Eddie Nketiah after the restart.

However Robert De Zerbi’s team fought back and Kaoru Mitoma pulled one back, which was cancelled out just six minutes later through Gabriel Martinelli. Evan Ferguson’s effort made it game on again going into the final stages, but we held on to ensure plenty of New Year’s cheer for Gooners celebrating around the world.

Dream start via Saka

We had been handed a huge opportunity to extend our lead over Manchester City at the top after they drew with Everton earlier in the day, and it was one we didn’t hesitate to take advantage of.

In just the second minute, Thomas Partey dispossessed Tariq Lamptey in a dangerous area, and Oleksandr Zinchenko fed Martinelli. The Brazilian saw a shot deflect off Lewis Dunk and into Saka’s path, who tucked home his sixth league goal of the campaign.

Two minutes later we nearly bagged a second when Zinchenko snuck in behind the Seagulls’ backline but Robert Sanchez narrowed the angle quickly to block, but the visitors began to show why they were sitting in seventh place and Aaron Ramsdale - on his 50th appearance - was forced to tip away a couple of awkward Leandro Trossard shots.

Gunners on fire

But with the game finely balanced, on 39 minutes we crucially managed to double our advantage and halt the home team’s momentum. Saka swung in a dangerous corner that was only headed away to the edge of the box where Odegaard was on hand to drive a shot goalwards, and our captain saw it spin off the wet turf and nestle into the back of the net.

That all-important second gave us a cushion going into the interval, and once again we were quick out of the traps after the restart and took less than two minutes to virtually put the game to bed. 

We worked the ball well through midfield and a fine pass from Partey once again found Martinelli in a threatening position, who pulled the trigger and forced Sanchez into a low save, but the ball spun invitingly into the path of Nketiah who tapped home from close-range.

Brighton fight back

We looked to be sailing towards victory, and only a good Sanchez save from Gabriel following a free-kick kept it at 3-0, but on 65 minutes and with their first real sight of goal in the second half, the Seagulls managed to give themselves hope. 

Pascal Gross found himself in space in the final third and slid the ball into Mitoma who managed to stay marginally onside and neatly slip the ball past Ramsdale. That injected some belief into the home crowd, but it was quickly extinguished as we grabbed our fourth of the night. 

A dangerous ball across our own box was dealt with by Gabriel, and the ball found its way to Odegaard via Granit Xhaka. The skipper whipped a delicious pass into space for Martinelli to race onto, hold off Lamptey and fire between Sanchez’s legs to score a superb goal and send the travelling Gooners wild.

But Brighton wouldn’t go away and with 14 minutes remaining, they managed to make it 4-2. A long ball forward saw Ferguson nip in ahead of William Saliba and squeeze the ball past the onrushing Ramsdale and over the line.

And nerves were jangling when with two minutes remaining, Mitoma thought he’d added his second when he found the net from just inside the box again, but VAR ruled it out for offside in the build-up, as we held on to secure the all-important victory and end the year in perfect fashion.

Facts and stats

We are just the fifth side in English top-flight history to pick up as many as 43 points from the first 16 games in a season (3 pts for a win) after Tottenham (46 pts in 1960/61), Chelsea (43 pts in 2005/06), Man City (46 pts in 2017/18) and Liverpool (46 pts in 2019/20).

Brighton have lost three of their last five Premier League home games (W1 D1), having gone unbeaten in their previous seven before this run.

We scored in the opening two minutes of both halves in a single Premier League game for the first time since December 2013 vs Hull.

After just 66 seconds, Bukayo Saka scored our earliest away goal in the Premier League since May 2013, when Theo Walcott netted after just 20 seconds against QPR.

Martin Odegaard has been involved in 12 goals in his last 13 Premier League appearances (7 goals, 5 assists). Indeed, he’s had a hand in more league goals this season (12 in 15 apps) than in the entirety of 2021/22 (11 in 36 apps).

Eddie Nketiah has scored 10 goals in his last 16 starts in all competitions, netting in each of his last three starts.

Two of Kaoru Mitoma’s three goals for Brighton in all competitions have come against us, while he’s scored two goals in his last three Premier League games, having failed to find the back of the net in any of his first eight appearances in the competition.

At 18 years and 73 days, Evan Ferguson became Brighton’s youngest-ever Premier League goalscorer.

What's next

We kick off 2023 when we face Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in a 7.45pm kick-off, before our FA Cup campaign starts with a trip to Oxford United on Monday, January 9. Following that, we head across north London for our second derby day of the campaign against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, January 15.

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