Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Arsenal 1 – Lacazette’s lone goal takes Arsenal further away from relegation zone.
2020-21 English Premier League report: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Arsenal – Tuesday, 29th December 2020
Brighton and Hove Albion 0 Arsenal 1 – Amex Stadium
Arsenal, fresh on the heels of a 3-1 win over Chelsea, beat Brighton 0-1 away at the Amex stadium to move four places away from relegation territory on Tuesday night.
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The Gunners got off the blocks in confident fashion but weren’t able to do much despite having more of the ball in the initial stages with scoring talisman Pierre Aubameyang cutting a sorry figure.
The hosts with less than 48 hours to recover from the 2-2 draw to West Ham on Sunday night saw coach Graham Potter effect six changes to his team.
The changes may have worked as the Seagulls shook off the visitors’ early dominance to end the first-half on a stronger note.
The best of the chances fell Brighton’s way but Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Mac Allister squandered golden opportunities as they fired over, spurning easy targets even as Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny was seen losing possession of the ball near his own box on both occasions.
Bernd Leno denied Jahanbakhsh from a low shot towards goal from a diagonal angle as half-time arrived with Brighton having had eight shots to Arsenal’s one. The Gunners, lucky to be have been let off in the first-half, came fired up post the interval after some tough team talk by Mikel Arteta.
Aubameyang who was listless before the interval was into some rare action as he received a ball from the very impressive Bukayo Saka, but his half-volley from six yards was well met by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
Gabriel Martinelli came close to scoring next as he fired narrowly over the bar following some skillful work from Emile Smith Rowe. Smith Rowe was in action again as he essayed a lovely ball to Aubameyang, but the Gabonese striker curled his shot wide.
Alexander Lacazette was introduced in place of Martinelli just past the hour mark and the impact was instantaneous. Lacazette had to wait just 21 seconds for his goal as a mercurial Saka, speeding down the left flank, delivered him a ball with the Frenchman finding enough time and space to finish for his third successive goal in as many games. 0-1 to Arsenal in the 66th minute.
Brighton tried rallying towards the closing stages but they never came close to threatening Leno – their only effort in the second-half coming from Joel Veltman who blasted high and wide with only 7 minutes of play left.
For Arsenal, the Amex stadium win was not as convincing as the one over Chelsea, but it was an important one nonetheless as they attempted to turn things around after one of the worst starts to a season in 50 years. The only worry for Arteta was an injury to the brilliant Saka, who hobbled off to be replaced by Dani Ceballos in the 81st minute.
Arsenal after Tuesday night’s win moved two places up to the 13th spot and 9 points away from relegation while Brighton find themselves struggling just a place away from that zone and only 2 points above 18th placed Fulham.
Arsenal starting XI: Leno (goal), Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney, Elneny, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli, Saka, Aubameyang.
Subs: Lacazette, Ceballos, Maitland-Niles.
Brighton starting XI: Sanchez (goal), Veltman, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Bernardo, Bissouma, Gross, Propper, Mac Allister, Jahanbakhsh.
Subs: Maupay, March, Trossard.
Man of the Match: Bukayo Saka.
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