Arsenal followed up last week’s 2-0 win over West Brom with another 2-0 win in Sunday’s early kick off at the Emirates.
Yes, the storm clouds that descended at the Emirate after the humbling at Liverpool have passed – and Arsenal are now back into the top six for the first time since the beginning of the season – but are they truely closer to mounting a Premier League title challenge?
New signing Alexandre Lacazette came close to scoring in the opening stages of the encounter when his long-range effort struck the post in the second minute. The home fans didn’t have to wait long for a goal after Arsenal Defender Nacho Monreal swept home 16 minutes into the game.
Arsenal’s goal seemed almost to have a liberating effect on Brighton as they soon began to attack with more purpose and soon almost equalised. A free-kick 30 yards from goal was rolled into the path of Solly March, whose powerful shot went past Petr Cech but cannoned off the post.
It was a reminder that Brighton’s best chance lay in trying to test Arsenal’s still very suspect defence rather than simply trying to soak the pressure from Arsenal’s attackers but they were soon again forced to absorb considerable pressure. Iwobi and Lacazette both got themselves into goalscoring positions but failed to produce the final touch before the lead was almost doubled with a brilliant counter-attacking move. The break started with Alexis who fed Hector Bellerin before the ball was played wide to Sead Kolasinac he then slotted a pass to Aaron Ramsey who was making a run into the penalty area but Ryan denied him what would have been a classic team goal with his outstretched leg.
Arsenal repeatedly had chance to extend their lead in the first half but the failed to convert their chances. It was no surprise that Alexis Sanchez had a hand in the second goal. He dribbled past two defenders before his tidy backheel set up a nice Alex Iwobi finish.
The Chilean forward ignored his team-mates for most past of the second half as he wanted to get a goal himself and adopted a ‘shoot on sight’ policy which did not bear fruit but the Gunners held on for the win to move level on points with Chelsea.
After a somewhat volatile start to the season that saw fan protests after disappointment away to Stoke and a hammering at Anfield, Arsenal are on a winning run and are unbeaten since the beginning of September. Although those early problems have not completely disappeared but fans should not deny themselves a little optimism.
With Arsenal clearly dominant in terms of attempts and possession, Iwobi was very influential here against a Brighton team that should thank Lewis Dunk for keeping the scoreline decent.
Iwobi’s performance also underlined how Mesut Ozil remains barely missed amid a knee injury that is now said to be almost healed. Of greater significance for Wenger was the unavailability of Laurent Koscielny due to his ongoing Achilles tendon problem as the Arsenal Defense where threatened in one or two occasions which could have led to a goal.
Arsenal had nine changes from the team that won in Belarus against BATE Borisov on Thursday night, with Alexis Sanchez and Iwobi selected in behind Lacazette despite Theo Walcott’s recent run of three goals in two games.