Brighton 0 Arsenal 3: Clinical Saka, devilish Havertz and the charge of the title in shameless health

Brighton 0 Arsenal 3: Clinical Saka, devilish Havertz and the charge of the title in shameless health

Arsenal's title run shows no signs of slowing down, as Mikel Arteta's side extended their unbeaten run to 11 Premier League matches with a dominant 3-0 win over Brighton.

Bukayo Saka's first-half penalty took Arsenal to the Amex Stadium before Kai Havertz and former Brighton man Leandro Trossard rounded things off to take North London to the top of the league after Manchester City's earlier 4-2 win over Crystal Palace.

Liverpool could return to the top of the league after their match against Manchester United on Sunday, but Arsenal's title ambitions remain in poor health.

Art de Roche breaks down the key talking points from Amex.


Saka continues to deliver when it matters

Bukayo Saka's cruelty continues to reach new heights.

The winger has reached 30 appearances for Arsenal this season in all competitions by placing They took the lead against Brighton with their fifth Premier League penalty of the season, leaving any doubts about his penalty-taking credentials further in the rear-view mirror.

Arsenal started the season by exchanging players. Saka, Martin Odegaard and Kai Havertz all took penalties before the New Year, but the England international has been the only player to take penalties in the league since then, scoring all three.

The 22-year-old's last two games (against Brighton today and in the penalty shootout win over Porto) have epitomized his ruthlessness. Both were dug in to the goalkeeper's right, leaving neither Diogo Costa nor Bart Verbruggen any chance to make a save.

Saka had some great moments in the game – shooting wide in the first half and creating a chance for Gabriel Jesus – but was still finding his rhythm upon his return to Arsenal's starting line-up. Similar to what happened earlier this season, his production got his team through a difficult moment.

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He has now equaled his best season in the Premier League (14 goals, a record set last season). With seven Games remaining, he is likely to break that and will remain vital to Arsenal's title hopes.

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal


Bukayo Saka opens the scoring with a penalty kick (Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Havertz, Jesus and the importance of off-ball movement

Kai Havertz gave Arsenal a two-goal lead with his tenth goal of the season in all competitions that calmed nerves, but the importance of his and some of his teammates' off-the-ball movements cannot be underestimated.

Brighton's early confidence meant that Arsenal's attack was not initially smooth, and it was the German's runs at the back that helped disrupt things. This led to a cross from Havertz to Jesus in the first half, but the Brazilian missed the header.

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The dynamic of Havertz in the middle with Jesus on the left is still a bit new. Both players have played in these positions this season, but this was only the second time they have started in these positions together, with last week's goalless draw with Manchester City being the first.

Havertz's desire to expand the line has worked well. As for Jesus, apart from an early shot save on the edge of the box and when he crossed the ball before winning a penalty for Arsenal, he often touched the ball too much to move it. This allowed Brighton to return to defensive shape and restored the importance of off-the-ball movement – which returned in the unexpected form of Jorginho.

As Saka fell to the ground, Jorginho weighed in on Odegaard's decision. He had to play Which passes. Havertz's double move to find space in the six-yard box was also beneficial for Jorginho, resulting in an easy finish for Arsenal in complete control. The finish also means the 24-year-old German has scored his 1,000th goal of the season in the Premier League.

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With Leandro Trossard's late cross, Havertz now has five goals and four assists in his last seven games.


Havertz celebrates with Jorginho after scoring (Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

If the defense wins titles, Arsenal has every chance

Arsenal's clean sheet again means this is only the second time they have kept five successive clean sheets in the Premier League era. Alongside this, David Raya became the first Spanish goalkeeper to keep five clean sheets in as many away matches in the Premier League – and only the ninth goalkeeper to do so overall.

It was Arsenal's seventh clean sheet in 11 league games in 2024, an even more impressive feat given Arteta's recent selection tweaks.

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Arteta's confidence in his team's players could make Arsenal stronger

Oleksandr Zinchenko's start against Brighton was somewhat surprising. The left-back needs more rhythm ahead of the end-of-season tour – and this match could have helped build that – but Jakob Kjøyor's recent impact with his physical attributes may make him a better fit at the Amex.

This is not just because of Zinchenko but because of how the entire left wing works. With Jesus ahead of him on the left wing, the striker occasionally created space for Brighton to attack Zinchenko. In the first half, for example, this occurred when Jesus stepped forward to press or failed to check his shoulder, leaving space at the back which was exploited by Tariq Lamptey who passed the free ball to an Arsenal defender.

Brighton also succeeded in isolating Zinchenko with direct balls into his channel, but Arsenal weathered those storms well.

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How this defensive partnership develops on the left – especially with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Martinelli returning from injury – could be interesting to watch over the coming weeks.

Once they had a two-goal lead and then a three-goal lead, the Arsenal players' collective effort to keep a clean sheet was exemplified by Gabriel's late save from Joao Pedro's shot. But if he hadn't gotten there, surely someone else would have. The team celebration showed just how dominant this team wants to be.


What did Mikel Arteta say?

“Really happy, really proud of the boys. I thought they put in a fantastic performance to beat Brighton. They haven't lost (at home in the league) since August; that tells you the difficulty of the task we have today. The boys were really good.

“This is a really tough place to come and win, but also the way and the format we've done it. Hopefully, yeah, we can keep doing what we're doing.”

“I think we're in a really good moment. We have a healthy team with really good energy and a lot of confidence both individually and as a team. We just have to keep doing what we're doing.”


What's next for Arsenal?

Tuesday 9 April: Bayern Munich (home), Champions League, 8pm UK, 3pm ET

Sunday 14 April: Aston Villa (H), Premier League, 4.30pm UK time, 11.30am ET


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(Top image: Stuart Macfarlane/Arsenal via Getty Images)

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