12152017

Wenger marks 21-year anniversary with win over Brighton

Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi scored the sixth goal of his Arsenal career against Brighton

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger celebrated the 21st anniversary of his arrival at the club with a routine victory over Brighton.

Nacho Monreal put the Gunners ahead early on when he shot through a crowded penalty area after Brighton had failed to clear a free-kick.

A well worked Brighton free-kick resulted in Solly March striking the post from 20 yards shortly afterwards.

But Arsenal added a second goal after half-time when a slick passing move on the counter-attack was emphatically finished off by Alex Iwobi.

The win ensures Wenger’s side are a point behind north London rivals Tottenham in the chasing pack behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

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It was important to get three points – Wenger

Momentum builds under marathon man Wenger

Brighton became the 45th different club that Wenger has defeated in the Premier League – more than any other manager in the competition’s history.

There was criticism for Wenger earlier in the season and he remains a divisive figure among Arsenal supporters, but their season now appears to be on an upward trajectory.

After an impressive September, in which the Gunners went unbeaten with five victories and a draw in all competitions, they began the month of October with a dominant victory and performance.

For the first time in Wenger’s Arsenal tenure he has had to juggle the different challenges posed by the Europa League but the erudite Frenchman appears to have got a handle on the requirements of playing on Thursday and Sunday.

Indeed, against newly promoted Brighton the Gunners looked something akin to the flat-track bullies of old. While not at their brilliant best, it was a display with the swagger and fluid football which has become Wenger’s trademark.

This was epitomised by Arsenal’s stylish second goal 11 minutes after half-time, which was a thing of beauty; a swift interchange of passes involving Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette left Brighton’s players in a spin before Iwobi fired home.

The acid test for Arsenal will come against their rivals for the top four, but there at least appears to be growing momentum and belief about Wenger’s side.

Arsenal goal pitch map<!–

The intricate passing move, particularly on the edge of the penalty area, which led to Alex Iwobi scoring Arsenal’s second goal is emphasised by this Opta graphic

Hughton should trust his promotion players

The Brighton players were out on the Emirates turf an hour and a half before kick-off taking pictures, giving the impression they were treating the game like a cup final.

The reality when the game kicked off was that Arsenal simply possessed too much quality for the visitors and the margin of victory could easily have been greater.

Brighton have strengthened their squad for the challenge of Premier League survival with the likes of club record signing Jose Izquierdo, handed his first start against the Gunners.

But the Seagulls actually looked more purposeful when Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert – two mainstays of their promotion-winning side – came on as second-half substitutes.

It shows Brighton boss Chris Hughton can still put his faith in the tried and tested players who delivered for him last season.

Man of the match – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)

Alexis Sanchez<!–

Even when he is not at his brilliant best, Alexis Sanchez still manages to appear head and shoulders above his contemporaries. Sanchez created twice as many chances (six) and had twice as many shots (eight) as any other Arsenal player. Arsenal fans will be desperate he stays in January.

‘Football changed a lot in 21 years’ – what they said

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “In this job you only look for the next game. When you look back you see the distance you have made. Overall, football changed a lot in this 21 years.

“We kept the clean sheet and of course got three points. We have played more fluent than today but playing Monday, Thursday and today, it was important to get three points. We eased off in concentration and decision-making and then it becomes a bit harder.

“The question mark is there when you change so many players, can you keep cohesion? It was a difficult week because the game at BATE was a difficult game. I am pleased.”

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Many positives in Arsenal defeat – Hughton

Brighton boss Chris Hughton: “It was a spirited performance. I can’t accuse the lads of not giving everything.

“It is always going to be difficult here, levels of concentration have to be for 90 minutes.

“The only disappointment in the game is that we could have shown a little more on the ball and been a little more adventurous on the ball. You have to look at the positives.”

Four successive clean sheets for Arsenal – the stats

  • Arsenal have now won their last 11 games at the Emirates in all competitions, their second longest ever run at the ground (12 between May and November 2009).
  • Brighton have never won an away match against Arsenal in all competitions, drawing once, losing six times and scoring just one goal.
  • Alexis Sanchez has had a hand in 35 Premier League goals since the start of last season (24 goals, 11 assists), more than double any other Arsenal player in that time (Mesut Ozil, 17).
  • Nacho Monreal scored his fourth goal for Arsenal in all competitions, with each coming at a different ground.
  • The Gunners have kept four successive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since May 2014.
  • Brighton have scored just one goal in their four Premier League away games so far this season.

What’s next?

Arsenal face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday, 14 October in the day’s late kick-off (17:30 BST), while Brighton return to the home comforts of the Amex on Sunday, 15 October where they host Everton in a lunchtime fixture (13:30 BST).

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Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from very close range is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Davy Pröpper (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Pascal Groß.

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Mat Ryan tries a through ball, but Glenn Murray is caught offside.

Offside, Arsenal. Rob Holding tries a through ball, but Theo Walcott is caught offside.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Shkodran Mustafi.

Attempt blocked. Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ezequiel Schelotto with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Pascal Groß.

Foul by Olivier Giroud (Arsenal).

Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Pascal Groß with a cross.

Substitution, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny replaces Granit Xhaka.

Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Glenn Murray replaces Isaiah Brown.

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Anthony Knockaert replaces José Izquierdo.

Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Isaiah Brown.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Gaëtan Bong.

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Ezequiel Schelotto replaces Solly March.

Substitution, Arsenal. Theo Walcott replaces Alex Iwobi.

Substitution, Arsenal. Olivier Giroud replaces Alexandre Lacazette.

Attempt blocked. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alex Iwobi.

Offside, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka tries a through ball, but Alexandre Lacazette is caught offside.

Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal).

Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nacho Monreal.

Attempt blocked. Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Granit Xhaka with a cross.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Lewis Dunk.

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sead Kolasinac.

Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal).

Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Shkodran Mustafi.

Goal! Arsenal 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 0. Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a through ball.

Attempt saved. Lewis Dunk (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

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