Goals from Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi stretched Arsenal’s unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions in a 2-0 win over Brighton.
Monreal’s first goal since March 2013 and Iwobi’s first of the season helped Arsenal on their way and although Chris Hughton’s side put in a spirited performance, with Solly March and Davy Propper coming close in the first half, Arsenal’s quality showed in a dominant display.
Three points for Arsenal means they jump up to fifth in the Premier League table, while Brighton remain in 14th.
Arsenal: Cech (6), Holding (6), Mustafi (6), Monreal (7), Bellerin (6), Xhaka (6), Ramsey (7), Kolasinac (6), Iwobi (7), Sanchez (8), Lacazette (7)
Subs: Walcott (5), Giroud (5), El Neny (4)
Brighton: Ryan (7), Bruno (6), Dunk (7), Duffy (8), Bong (6), Izquierdo (6), Stephens (6), Propper (6), , March (6), Gross (6), Brown (4)
Subs: Knockaert (5), Schelotto (5), Murray (6)
Man of the match: Alexis Sanchez
Arsenal started firmly on the front foot as Alexandre Lacazette’s strike hit the post and evaded Alexis Sanchez just minutes before Mat Ryan was called into action in the 13th minute to get down and save Iwobi’s first-time effort.
But Arsene Wenger’s side did break the deadlock on 16 through Monreal, who placed his attempt into the bottom corner after the ball bounced around the penalty area following three blocked Arsenal shots.
Brighton responded brightly after going a goal down. March’s 20-yard shot smacked the post before Lewis Dunk fired the rebound wide. Ten minutes later and Lacazette broke through following a sloppy back-pass miscontrolled by Dunk, but the France international’s shot was too timid to really trouble Ryan.
Rob Holding and Alex Iwobi came into the Arsenal lineup. Laurent Koscielny misses out and Mohamed Elneny drops to the bench. Nine changes overall.
Chris Hughton made three changes. Izzy Brown cames in for the suspended Tomer Hemed up top, club-record signing Jose Izquierdo makes his first Premier League start of the season and Gaeten Bong is drafted in to the starting line-up. Anthony Knockaert and Markus Suttner drop to the bench.
The Australian goalkeeper was called into action once again shortly before half-time as he smartly used his feet to clear Aaron Ramsey’s low strike following a rapid counter-attack. At the other end, Propper curled his effort just wide of Petr Cech’s goal from a tight angle.
Arsenal began the second half in dominant fashion and Iwobi slotted home in the 56th minute as he latched onto a stunning backheel from Sanchez. The Chile international almost piled on the misery moments later but his shot was cleared off the line by Dunk, who then smothered Lacazette’s shot with a perfectly-timed block in the 67th minute.
Brighton rallied late on with substitute Glenn Murray making an impact off the bench as his vicious header hit the side netting five minutes from time, but Arsenal held on to secure a crucial victory.
The Chile international put in a fine display against Brighton as he set the tempo for the majority of their attacks.
His fine backheel for Iwobi’s goal highlighted the quality Arsenal’s star winger has, while he was unlucky not to have a goal of his own following Dunk’s excellent block off the line.
Arsenal travel to take on high-flying Watford for an evening kick-off on October 14 after the international break. Brighton, meanwhile, face Everton on Super Sunday on October 15.