Brighton v Arsenal: Premier League – live | Premier League

Martin Odegaard, the purest of technicians, has only gone and scored with a miskick.

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Buyako Saka scores after 64 seconds!

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My word. Demarai Gray’s spectacular equaliser has given Everton an unlikely draw at the Etihad. It means that, if Arsenal win tonight, they’ll go seven points clear at the top of the Premier League. If they’re not careful, they might win the bloody thing.

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Hello and welcome to live coverage of Brighton v Arsenal at the Amex Stadium. Whatever happens tonight, Arsenal will be top of the table going into 2023, but they’d very much like to restore* their five-point lead over Manchester City.

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Brighton are difficult opponents, who have already won twice at the Emirates this year, so the last Premier League game of the year should be a good one.

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Kick off 5.30pm.

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* Or even extend it, because as I type Everton have just equalised at the Etihad.

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Brighton make two changes from their win at Southampton in the week. Tariq Lamptey and Billy Gilmour replace Joel Veltman, who is on the bench, and Moises Caicedo, who isn’t. He’s suspended.

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Oleksandr Zinchenko replace Kieran Tierney at left-back for Arsenal, the only change from the win over West Ham.

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Brighton (4-2-3-1) Sanchez; Lamptey, Dunk, Colwill, Estupinan; Gilmour, Gross; March, Lallana, Mitoma; Trossard.
Substitutes: Steele, Van Hecke, Veltman, Turns, Moran, Hinshelwood, Sarmiento, Enciso, Ferguson.

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Arsenal (4-1-4-1) Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Xhaka, Martinelli; Nketiah.
Substitutes: Turner, Tierney, Holding, Cedric, Tomiyasu, Vieira, Lokonga, Elneny, Marquinhos.

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Referee Anthony Taylor.

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Key events

45 min Gilmour is booked for a late tackle on Partey.

44 min “Ødegaard just did an Øzil with that knock-it-into-the-ground-first hit,” says Shawn Grant.

Hmm. He’s certainly capable but I’m not sure he meant it then. I might be wrong, and I often am.

42 min “Simon McMahon at 04:35 (AEDST) said this (Brighton-Arsenal) is the last match (and MBM) of the year,” says Anna Campbell. “No it’s not. Wolves-Man U was in progress when the New Year hit Australia, so it doesn’t count. Whichever of Bournemouth-Palace, Fulham-Southampton, City-Everton or Newcastle-Leeds United kicked off first was our first match of 2023. The Guardian has a global readership, tha’ knows.”

To be fair, he also said ‘Some of them will be in 2023 already, I’m sure’. Anyway, happy new year to you all!

41 min The scoreline flatters Arsenal’s touch, and I’m sure their fanbase is devastated about that.

Saka’s corner from the right was headed away to the edge of the area. Odegaard ran onto the ball and mishit a first-time shot into the ground that bounced over everyone, including the Brighton defender on the line. Arsenal are heading* seven points clear at the top of the Premier League!

* Probably

GOAL! Brighton 0-2 Arsenal (Odegaard 39)

Martin Odegaard, the purest of technicians, has only gone and scored with a miskick.

Martin Odegaard doubles Arsenal’s lead. Photograph: Tony Obrien/Reuters

38 min Aaron Ramsdale seems to have a hamstring problem, although he is okay to continue for now.

36 min “Arsenal currently look the best team in the league & play the best football (it’s surreal to type this),” says Andrew Hurley. “Is this unfair? Secondly, Partey is the key to allowing the others to play so well, and they either A) need him to stay fit or B) need to prioritize a backup in January.”

It’s no coincidence that their one defeat, at Old Trafford, was when he was missing. I watched him a few times at Atletico – not often, but often enough – and I couldn’t believe how good he was. I was amazed that more teams weren’t in for him.

35 min A quiet period. It’s a decent game, and Brighton have arguably been the better side in the last 20 minutes, but there haven’t been many clear chances.

31 min “Is it a rule that commentators have to say the whole ‘Solly March’ whenever he does anything?” says Joe Pearson. “Peter Drury must have given us five Solly Marches in a row when he was on that run.”

That’s a good observation. It can’t just be a one-syllable-surname thing, surely.

30 min Saka’s cutback from the right is met on the run by Martinelli, whose shot is superbly blocked by the lunging Lamptey.

30 min “Wishing you a very fine new year, Rob,” says Ian Copestake. “Thanks for all the fish.”

Plenty more of those in 2023, buddy.

29 min Brighton worked the ball nicely down the left, but Estupinan’s cross was too close to Ramsdale.

28 min Martinelli tries to tease Lamptey, who wins the ball impressively and is then fouled by Martinelli. Good defending that.

27 min “Getting Everton ’85 vibes off this Arsenal side,” says Gary Naylor. “Lots of young players coming through together with a few old heads to tough out the big moments. Saka is as skilled as Trevor Steven, Xhaka is the Peter Reid figure enjoying an unexpected renaissance, Odegaard is a young captain like Kevin Ratcliffe and, in Arteta, they have an undemonstrative but inspirational fortysomething manager. Nobody expected Kendall’s team to hang on then, but the title was won with five matches still to play. History might yet repeat itself.”

But who’s their Kevin Brock?

25 min March beats Zinchenko but then mishits a cross into the area. It’s cleared only as far as Trossard, whose rising drive from the edge of the area is pushed over by Ramsdale. A comfortable save.

24 min That error from the assistant referee almost led to a second goal for Arsenal. The corner was cleared only as far as Partey, whose left-footed shot from 12 yards deflected just over the bar.

23 min Saliba puts Saka through on goal in the inside-right channel. He drives a cross-shot that is blocked by the sliding Dunk and goes behind for a corner.

I’m not sure it would have counted as Saka looked offside, so the corner is a bonus for Arsenal.

20 min Almost a stunning team goal from Arsenal. Martinelli, Odegaard and Zinchenko passed the ball around near the left edge of the penalty area, until Martinelli suddenly quickened the pace with a short pass to Odegaard. He had two defenders tight to him but somehow improvised a return pass that put Martinelli clear on the left side of the six-yard box. Martinelli tried to slide the ball across to give Saka an open goal and Colwill booted clear. That was a brilliant, dizzying bit of footwork and imagination from Odegaard.

19 min Brighton are playing much better now. Mitoma runs 70 yards down the left, away from Saka, but then overhits him through a pass to Trossard.

19 min “I hope you get a break after this game,” says Jeff Sachs, before getting down to brass tacks. “Hope you cover the next Liverpool game.”

18 min Gross’s inswinging corner from the left was missed by Ramsdale and headed clear by a defender behind him. That might have been going on.

16 min Lamptey’s sharp cutback finds Lallana on the edge of the area. He lays it off for Trossard, who misses a first-time shot that bounces across the goal and is turned around the post by Ramsdale. It was going wide anyway but he took no chances.

Arsenal's goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in action.
Arsenal’s goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in action. Photograph: Tony O’Brien/Reuters

13 min March collects a loose ball 30 yards out and pings a shot that is blocked by Gabriel. That’s a bit better from Brighton.

12 min Lots of Brighton possession in the last few minutes, although it has all been in front of Arsenal.

10 min After a torrid start, Brighton are starting to get a bit of a foothold in the game.

8 min “Mary Waltz’s commitment to watching and supporting Everton despite illness-inducing time differences, her insights into football in general, and her humor (which, let’s face it, has been invaluable when you look at Everton’s 2022) have all been an inspiration,” says Matt Dony. “Today, I am an American soccer fan. Today, I am supporting Everton. (And Brighton.) I hope for her sake Lampard pulls his finger out. Just not in Merseyside derbies.”

7 min After a nice touch from Xhaka, Nketiah shoots wide on the turn from about 12 yards.

Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah shoots at goal.
Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah shoots at goal. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters

7 min “Brighton is definitely our bogey team of late,” writes Zack. “Previously this might narratively have been put out there as ‘a big test of Arsenal’s credentials’ but no one’s even bothering anymore. I am definitely displaying pre-humiliating reverse levels of confidence but I don’t think I can be stopped anymore! We’re back! The Arsenal fans everyone hated the last time we were good! Smuggest fanbase in football, just watch us.”

6 min Martinelli has a shot blocked. Arsenal are all over Brighton like a cheap cliche.

4 min: Good save by Sanchez! This is some start from Arsenal. Martinelli threads a little pass into the area for Zinchenko, the left-back by the way, who turns smoothly between Dunk and Colwill (I think) before hitting a close-range shot that is very well blocked by Sanchez.

Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko is denied by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko is denied by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters

2 min “The last fixture, and MBM, of the year,” says Simon McMahon. “What am I going to do until, eh, tomorrow? A Happy New Year when it comes to you and all MBM’ers, wherever they are. Some of them will be in 2023 already, I’m sure. Here’s to another year of great sports. Plus some Scottish football as well, of course.”

Partey won the ball off Lamptey high up the field, with Zinchenko then finding Martinelli on the left side of the area. His shot took two deflections before reaching Saka, who controlled the ball deftly and swept it past Sanchez on the half-volley. That’s a quietly superb finish.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka scores their first goal.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scores their first goal. Photograph: Tony Obrien/Reuters

GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Arsenal (Saka 2)

Buyako Saka scores after 64 seconds!

Arsenal's English midfielder Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka celebrates after opening the scoring. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

1 min Peep peep! After a slight delay due to a problem with the fourth official’s technology, Arsenal got the match under way.

The players have gathered around the center circle to pay tribute to Pele, football’s first all-time great.

Report: Man City 1-1 Everton

Who knew Arsenal would finish 2022 with a debt of gratitude to Frank Lampard.

“Dear Rob,” writes Manoah Jones, before providing one of the best typos of the year. “Long-suffering goober from Kenya.” Seeing the City result I want to hope… But history Rob. History. Trust Arsenal to Arsenal it.”

They haven’t Arsenaled it that often, have they? 1986-87, 2002-03 and 2013-14 are the obvious ones in my lifetime, plus maybe one or two seasons under Wenger towards the end of the 2000s. Until about 25 minutes ago, I thought this brilliant run was just setting them up for heartbreak; now I’m not so sure.

“2022 has been a dismal year for Everton fans,” writes Mary Waltz, although she didn’t actually say ‘dismal’. “But at the death of this year a miracle has happened. Not a child, but Everton gets a point at Etihad. Ulcer-inducing but we hung on!

Full time: Manchester City 1-1 Everton

My word. Demarai Gray’s spectacular equalizer has given Everton an unlikely draw at the Etihad. It means that, if Arsenal win tonight, they’ll go seven clear points at the top of the Premier League. If they’re not careful, they might win the bloody thing.

Half-term reports

Team news

Brighton make two changes from their win at Southampton in the week. Tariq Lamptey and Billy Gilmour replace Joel Veltman, who is on the bench, and Moises Caicedo, who isn’t. He’s suspended.

Oleksandr Zinchenko replace Kieran Tierney at left-back for Arsenal, the only change from the win over West Ham.

Brighton (4-2-3-1) Sánchez; Lamptey, Dunk, Colwill, Estupinan; Gilmour, Gross; March, Lallana, Mitoma; Trossard.
Substitutes: Steele, Van Hecke, Veltman, Turns, Moran, Hinshelwood, Sarmiento, Enciso, Ferguson.

Arsenal (4-1-4-1) Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Party; Saka, Odegaard, Xhaka, Martinelli; Nketiah.
Substitutes: Turner, Tierney, Holding, Cedric, Tomiyasu, Vieira, Lokonga, Elneny, Marquinhos.

Referee Anthony Taylor.

Preamble

Hello and welcome to live coverage of Brighton v Arsenal at the Amex Stadium. Whatever happens tonight, Arsenal will be top of the table going into 2023, but they’d very much like to restore* their five-point lead over Manchester City.

Brighton are difficult opponents, who have already won twice at the Emirates this year, so the last Premier League game of the year should be a good one.

Kick off 5.30 pm.

* Or even extend it, because as I type Everton have just equalized at the Etihad.

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