Arsenal beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 at home on Sunday with second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz, as the north London side provisionally moved back to the top of the Premier League standings.
Victory moved Arsenal a point clear of Aston Villa, who moved up to second on 38 points. Third-placed Liverpool are a point further behind ahead of their game against rivals Manchester United later on Sunday.
Brighton had won on their last three trips to The Emirates Stadium in all competitions, but the majority of action was in their box as Arsenal became the first team to keep a clean sheet against Roberto De Zerbi’s team this season.
The Seagulls, who dropped to ninth, did not have a single shot in the first half as they weathered wave after wave of Arsenal attacks, with keeper Bart Verbruggen standing firm.
“It’s a great team, they play very nice football. It’s tough to play against them. We knew we’re strong at our house here. Today it went quite well,” Havertz said.
Arsenal were also guilty of not taking their chances, with Gabriel Martinelli coming closest with a shot that went just over as the two teams went into the break at 0-0.
But Brighton’s resistance ended eight minutes into the second half when defender Jan Paul van Hecke accidentally flicked a corner kick into the path of the unmarked Jesus at the far post, and the Brazilian striker headed home.
Arsenal were not content to sit on a one-goal lead and continued to pepper the Brighton goal with shots. Skipper Martin Odegaard, playing on his 25th birthday, had a shot palmed away while Havertz saw his header fly over.
Brighton had looked passive all game but they did have a golden chance to equalise in the 82nd minute when Kaoru Mitoma slipped past his marker and crossed the ball into the box, only for Pascal Gross to shoot wide.
The Gunners sealed the three points with a counterattack in the 87th minute when substitute Eddie Nketiah put Havertz through on goal and the German forward rifled into the bottom corner.
After a difficult start to his Arsenal career when goals were in short supply, Havertz has now netted four in his last seven games.
“I’m happy as an offensive player, it’s always nice to score or assist,” he added. “The first one or two months were difficult but I tried to get the best out of myself every day.”