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Wasteful Arsenal finally breaks down Brighton to earn win

Arsenal's Kai Havertz Arsenal's Kai Havertz - The Canadian Press

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal finally wore down Brighton's resistance despite a multitude of wasted chances to secure a 2-0 win on Sunday that sent the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table on Sunday.

Kai Havertz only made the game safe in the 87th by finishing off a quick counterattack to double Arsenal's lead with a rare clinical finish on an afternoon when the hosts were guilty of widespread profligacy.

Havertz's goal came from Arsenal's 25th shot of the game — compared to just two for Brighton — and eighth on target although all but one of goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen’s previous saves had been fairly routine.

Arsenal had 15 shots to zero for Brighton in the first half alone but the breakthrough didn't come until the 53rd. Brighton defender Jan Paul van Hecke attempted to head clear a corner from Saka but the ball only found Gabriel Jesus, who was on hand to head it back into an empty net.

That goal forced Brighton to become more ambitious and Jack Hinshelwood finally forced a save from David Raya in the 64th, but it was a weak header straight at the Arsenal goalkeeper.

Arsenal kept coming close at the other end and Lewis Dunk had to clear off the line after another corner in the 68th, while Martin Odegaard drew the only quality save from Verbruggen when he drove into the area and unleashed a fierce shot that needed a one-handed stop.

Havertz headed high from six yards out after the ensuing corner, while Brighton came closest to an equalizer in the 83rd when Pascal Gross met a cross from Kaoru Mitoma but sent his shot just wide of the near post.

Just as it looked like Arsenal might be made to pay for all those misses, substitute Eddie Nketiah released Havertz on a counter and the Germany forward beat Verbruggen with a left-foot shot inside the far post.

“It was an incredible performance. It was a joy to watch from the start to the end,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “The way we played against a phenomenal Brighton side was incredible. We were patient, kept going, kept believing and got what we deserved.”

The win means Arsenal leapfrogged Liverpool atop the standings after Jurgen Klopp's team was held to a 0-0 draw by Manchester United later Sunday. Liverpool and Aston Villa are both a point behind Arsenal, which is now five points ahead of Manchester City after the defending champion was held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace on Saturday.


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