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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Positive #2: Martin Odegaard's magic

Magic is the only word that does justice to Odegaard's deft technique, speed of thought and exquisite distribution in the final third. The classy No. 8 was almost note perfect during the first half, per numbers from Statman Dave.

The key numbers were the 22 passes completed in the final third, four of which qualified as key passes. One of those elicited gasps of astonishment from fans when Odegaard shaved the edge of the ball with the outside of his foot to bend a pinpoint pass ahead of a chasing Saka.

It was just one of many stand-and-applaud moments from Odegaard, but the best number wasn't anything the Norwegian put onto the stat sheet. The more encouraging number is that Arsenal's best playmaker since Cesc Fabregas turned just 25 on Sunday.

World at his feet.

Negative #2: Referees still don't like Mikel Arteta

Even the most diehard Arsenal fan has to admit Arteta's touchline antics are a little grating. Yet, that's no excuse for referees to continue taking a hardline with an over-enthusiastic manager while ignoring consistent fouling of his key players.

Tim Robinson had the whistle for this game and somehow thought it wise not to book James Milner for cynically hacking Saka down. The winger had beaten 37-year-old Milner for what felt the 102nd time in the opening stages of the match.

Milner reacted in kind, but Robinson kept his cards in his pocket, naturally riling up a predictably already over-stimulated Arteta. The Arsenal chief's rage-o-meter soon went up to danger levels after Ben White saw yellow for stopping Kaoru Mitoma in his tracks.

Inevitably, Arteta then joined White in the book, after the manager started directing traffic in response to a foul by Mitoma. As Amy Lawrence of The Athletic pointed out, consistency and proportionality were lacking in the referee's handling of each situation.

Arteta is getting used to living on the wrong side of refs. His recent FA-backed absolution for lamenting THAT goal by Newcastle United in November has seemingly only added fuel to the fire.

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