Arsenal got the better of Brighton & Hove Albion this evening, with one of the club’s young stars having shone brightest above all others.
Lacazette on target
Mikel Arteta’s men made the trip to the Amex a short time ago, for their latest Premier League outing.
The Gunners headed into proceedings with their tails up, on the back of a morale boosting 3-point haul versus capital rivals Chelsea at the weekend.
Arsenal were no doubt fully aware, though, that one positive result does not make up for a frankly abysmal campaign to this point, with a 2nd-straight victory this evening having been of the utmost importance.
When the 90 minutes were said and done, though, to their credit, build upon their first win in 8 is precisely what the Gunners managed.
The game’s solitary goal came midway through the 2nd-half, courtesy of Alexandre Lacazette.
Remarkably, just 20 seconds after being introduced to the fray by Mikel Arteta, the Frenchman was picked out by the surging Bukayo Saka, before slotting a confident finish inside the hosts’ near post:
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 29, 2020
The ensuing half-hour saw Arsenal settle into a more defensive setup, forcing Brighton to attempt to break them down.
The weakened Seagulls, however, without the services of the likes Tariq Lamptey and Adam Lallana, toiled in their efforts to do so, eventually resulting in the visitors departing the Amex with all 3 points.
On the back of the final whistle sounding on the South coast a short time ago, a number of members of Mikel Arteta’s squad have since been singled out for praise.
Though Arsenal didn’t actually perform all that well this evening (particularly during the first-half), there were a couple of shining lights.
The most obvious is Alexandre Lacazette, who emerged from the bench to make the game’s telling contribution with his 3rd goal in 3 games.
Another was Emile Smith-Rowe, who, after showcasing his capabilities as a much-needed source of creativity over the weekend, impressed once again at the Amex.
On the back of a first-half during which he, much like the rest of the visitors’ stars, struggled to get into proceedings, the gifted midfielder dazzled following the interval, looking composed and full of invention:
Emile Smith Rowe vs. BHA
89% Pass accuracy
2 Chances created
2/3 Dribbles completed
7/13 Duels won
As far as I’m concerned, Emile’s a starter. Back to back big performances from Arsenal’s 20 year old. He isn’t phased by any of it. pic.twitter.com/VetHcemxgI
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) December 29, 2020
One of Arsenal’s XI, however, stood head and shoulders above the rest versus Graham Potter’s Brighton.
The player in question? Bukayo Saka.
19-year-old Saka is widely regarded as one of European football’s finest young talents, and this evening showcased exactly why.
The English international, above anything else, is just so impressively brave.
Arsenal is a huge football club, boasting a number of experienced, high-profile stars.
When backs are against the wall, however, it so often appears to be Saka, despite his tender years, who is prepared to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, and step up.
Amid a fine all-round performance this evening, this very trait was on show for all to see en route to his side’s opener, as, shortly after teeing up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for what looked certain to be the clash’s opening goal, the teen rinsed Dan Burn, before laying on for goalscorer Lacazette to bag all 3 points.
Bukayo Saka’s game by numbers vs. Brighton:
9 penalty area entries
8 duels won
4 ball recoveries
4 touches in the opp. box
3 chances created
2 take-ons completed
2 tackles made
19 years old. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/08YOQ1lWB6
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 29, 2020
Saka is fast becoming the most crucial member of Mikel Arteta’s squad.
The Gunners youth product can be utilised in almost any position on the pitch, and can be trusted to produce courtesy of a rare combination of talent, intelligence and sheer will.
Whilst Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to struggle, Thomas Partey remains sidelined and Gabriel Magalhaes sits out with Covid-19, Saka this evening again stepped forth in his manager’s hour of need.
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Premier League table
|2||Leicester City FC||16||9||29|
|4||Manchester United FC||14||7||27|
|5||Aston Villa FC||14||14||26|
|7||Tottenham Hotspur FC||15||11||26|
|8||Manchester City FC||14||9||26|
|10||West Ham United FC||15||2||22|
|11||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||15||-5||21|
|13||Crystal Palace FC||16||-9||19|
|14||Newcastle United FC||14||-7||18|
|16||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||15||-6||13|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||15||-19||8|
|20||Sheffield United FC||15||-18||2|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||13|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||11|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||11|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||11|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||10|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||10|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||9|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||8|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||8|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||7|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||6|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||6|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||6|
|Abraham, Tammy||Chelsea FC||6|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||5|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||5|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||5|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City FC||5|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||5|
|El Ghazi, Anwar||Aston Villa FC||5|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||5|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||0||5|
|Cash, Matty||Aston Villa FC||0||5|
|Evans, Jonny||Leicester City FC||0||5|
|Dunk, Lewis||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1||4|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||1||4|
|Milivojevic, Luka||Crystal Palace FC||1||4|
|Egan, John||Sheffield United FC||1||4|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||0||4|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||0||4|
|Klich, Mateusz||Leeds United||0||4|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||0||4|
|Reid, Bobby||Fulham FC||0||4|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||0||4|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa FC||0||3|
|Berge, Sander||Sheffield United FC||0||4|
|Phillips, Kalvin||Leeds United||0||4|
|Gallagher, Conor||West Bromwich Albion||0||4|
|Mendy, Nampalys||Leicester City FC||0||4|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||1||3|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||10|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||7|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||6|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City FC||6|
|Robertson, Andrew||Liverpool FC||5|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||4|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||4|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||4|
|Adams, Che||Southampton FC||4|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||4|
|Chilwell, Benjamin||Chelsea FC||4|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||4|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||4|
|Digne, Lucas||Everton FC||4|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||3|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||3|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||3|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||3|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||3|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||3|