Arsenal players spread Christmas cheer in the local community
Arsenal players visited hospitals and community initiatives in the local area to share the Christmas spirit with their supporters.
Bukayo Saka scored after only 66 seconds as ruthless Arsenal beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-2 to go seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Draws for Manchester City and Newcastle United earlier on New Year’s Eve gave the Gunners a chance to stretch their lead at the summit.
Mikel Arteta’s side ended 2022 in style at the Amex Stadium, Saka setting them on their way early on and Martin Odegaard adding a second goal in the first half.
Eddie Nketiah put them three goals up right at the start of the second half and Gabriel Martinelli got in on the act after Kaoru Mitoma pulled one back.
Evan Ferguson’s first Premier League goal was too little, too late as the leaders extended their winning run to five top-flight games despite a late rally from Brighton that saw Mitoma have a goal ruled out.
Saka got Arsenal off to a dream start, taking a great touch before calmly finishing with his left foot from inside the penalty area after Martinelli’s shot deflected into his path.
Odegaard doubled the Gunners’ lead six minutes before the break, drilling a shot into the ground with his left foot and up into the back of the net when Brighton failed to clear Saka’s corner.
The Seagulls were caught out again just under two minutes into the second half, when Robert Sanchez saved Martinelli’s strike from a tight angle but the alert Nketiah was on hand to tuck home from close range.
Mitoma reduced the deficit with a neat right-foot finish after he was picked out by a clever reverse pass from Pascal Gross 64 minutes in, but Martinelli restored Arsenal’s three-goal advantage six minutes later.
Odegaard was the architect, setting the winger clear with a magnificent first-time pass and Martinelli raced away before poking the ball under Sanchez with his right foot.
Ferguson took advantage of some poor defending from William Saliba to nip in and score a second Brighton goal, with Mitoma denied a double when he found the back of the net late on but a VAR check showed he was offside as Arsenal held on.
Saka (2′), Odegaard (39′), Nketiah (47′), Mitoma (65′), Martinelli (71′), Ferguson (77′)