Arsenal ease past Brighton to return to top of Premier League


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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 that sent them back to the top of the table on Saturday.

Manchester City's victory earlier on Saturday had seen Arsenal drop into third place, but they responded in emphatic fashion to clear what had looked like a tricky obstacle in style.

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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 their two 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 on with a dinked finish.

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

Kai Havertz scored Arsenal's second goal at Brighton on Saturday.

"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 North London side 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.

Arteta's side withstood early Brighton pressure but oozed confidence as they then dismantled Roberto de Zerbi's side.

Gabriel missed a great chance when he headed wide and Jesus was denied by a superb save by Bart Verbruggen.

But when Lamptey fouled Jesus and a VAR check confirmed the penalty award, Saka, who had been an injury doubt, was as cool as a cucumber as he sent his penalty past Verbruggen for his 14th league goal of the season.

Havertz, playing an increasingly influential role for Arsenal, gave Arsenal breathing space with a tap-in and Trossard put the icing on the cake in the 86th minute.

Arsenal's mood was encapsulated in stoppage time when Gabriel made a goal-saving block and celebrated with his team mates as if he had scored despite the points already in the bag.

Saka said Arsenal have learned a lot from last season's failed attempt to stop City.

"This year we are more comfortable and I think the team is better. I feel like we are ready for each game to win," he said.