3 positives & negatives from Arsenal's 2-0 win over Brighton

  • Gabriel Jesus got on the scoresheet, while Martin Odegaard played liquid football, but Arsenal almost rued missed chances against Brighton

Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages
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Arsenal did just enough to see off bogey team Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium, thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz.

Jesus was lively and strong, while Martin Odegaard had the crowd purring at some cute passes, but Mikel Arteta won't have been happy about how many chances the Gunners spurned without making the game more comfortable.

There were other positives and negatives of note, particularly how Brighton approached containing Arsenal's inverted full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko. Meanwhile, yet more rough treatment for Bukayo Saka showed Premier League referees are still taking a hard line with Arteta and his team.


Positive #1: Gabriel Jesus on the scoresheet

Gabriel Jesus
Jesus opened the scoring on Sunday / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

He'd only found the net once in his last five league matches, but Jesus didn't look short of confidence in front of goal against the Seagulls. Instead, Arsenal's No. 9 was all industry and flair even before he made the most of some good fortune to score his goal.

It came when goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen flapped at a corner that flicked off the head of defender Jan Paul van Hecke and fell invitingly for Jesus to nod over the line. He deserved a slice of luck for the way he strong-armed the Brighton back line and linked well with Odegaard, Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.

Jesus often seems like a prime candidate to be replaced by Arteta's inevitable next big transfer. Links to Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke and Brentford frontman Ivan Toney, per Alex Wood of the Daily Star, only seem to weaken Jesus' position.

Yet, for all the transfer links, Jesus makes Arsenal a better team when he's in the starting XI. His mix of energy and intuition makes Arteta's system work, but another key component of those tactics is becoming a target for opposing teams.

Negative #1: Oleksandr Zinchenko getting the wrong kind of attention

Zinchenko usually gets noticed for his quality in possession, but that same quality is drawing a different kind of attention. Namely, Zinchenko is becoming a focus for other teams' defensive strategies.

Brighton made Arsenal's left-back in name only a marked man from the start. Simon Adingra got the nod to track Zinchenko wherever he went, according to Sam Dean of the Daily Telegraph.

So much of how Arsenal link possession between the lines depends on Zinchenko's passing. So much of Arsenal's ability to create midfield overloads on the ball depends on Zinchenko's positioning.

Teams are beginning to crack that code, so Arteta will needs to come up with something new if Zinchenko continues to draw a shadow each and every week.

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