Alexandre Lacazette rode to Arsenal’s rescue with the winner from the bench at Brighton and Hove Albion as a 1-0 success made it back-to-back Premier League victories since Christmas.
A seven-game winless run in the league was ended on Boxing Day as the Gunners beat Chelsea, although Mikel Arteta’s men remained in 15th place after a dismal start to the season.Rather than build on that triumph, a further setback appeared likely for a time at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday against Brighton, whose only prior home league win in 2020 had come on Arsenal’s previous visit back in June.But Lacazette, who lost his place in the XI to fit-again captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored 29 seconds after his introduction as a substitute to settle a key clash in the bottom half in Arsenal’s favour.
There was little in the first half to suggest Arsenal had brought forward any momentum from the Chelsea game, with Brighton well on top but themselves missing a cutting edge.Bernd Leno watched Alireza Jahanbakhsh lash the best early chance over with the outside of his right boot, before the goalkeeper was belatedly called into action by the same man with the first shot on target eight minutes before the break.
Arsenal survived a goalmouth scramble within a minute of the restart, but they finally provided a threat on the counter soon after and Robert Sanchez blocked from Aubameyang at point-blank range.An improved spell saw Gabriel Martinelli drive just over and the arrival of Lacazette on 66 minutes prompted the breakthrough.
A storming run down the right from Bukayo Saka created space for Lacazette, who was able to control in the centre with his first touch and fire decisively beyond Sanchez.Only an apparent injury to Saka in the closing stages could put a dampener on a much better Arsenal second half.