Arsenal ease past Brighton to return to top

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Arsenal maintained their Premier League title charge as goals by Bukayo Saka, Kai Havertz and Leandro Trossard secured a masterful 3-0 victory at Brighton and Hove Albion that sent them back to the top of the table on Saturday.

Manchester City’s earlier victory had dropped Arsenal into third place, but they responded in emphatic fashion to clear what had looked like a tricky obstacle in style.

Arsenal’s 10th win in their last 11 league games put them on 71 points from 31 games. Liverpool, who play away at Manchester United on Sunday, are on 70, as are champions Manchester City. Arsenal’s goal difference is also significantly better than that of their two title rivals.

Brighton started strongly but Arsenal soon settled, and Saka converted a penalty in the 33rd minute after Tariq Lamptey was adjudged to have clipped Gabriel Jesus in the area.

Arsenal were a constant threat going forward and the away fans were in full voice after Kai Havertz scored from close range from Jorginho’s cut back in the 62nd minute.

Former Brighton player Trossard, on as a substitute, wrapped up the points late after being played through on goal.

It was Brighton’s first home league defeat since August.

“The attitude and work-rate of the boys is phenomenal and everyone put everything into that game — that is why we are successful right now,” Havertz said.

“To be honest we didn’t speak about (City’s win). We tried to focus on ourselves and win the game, that is more important than looking at the other games right now.

“We must win our matches and see where that brings us. We have to keep on going, we have another big game in the midweek.”

Brighton put the final nail in the coffin of Arsenal’s title hopes last season as the Gunners suffered a late-season collapse. But Mikel Arteta’s side are in relentless form.

They have not conceded in their last five away games, scoring 20 goals in the process, and last weekend showed their character with a gritty 0-0 draw at Man City.

Arsenal’s fans were singing in the south coast rain at the end and while their side still have some tough fixtures ahead, a first title since 2004 now looks within their reach.

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