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Arsenal brush Brighton aside to go 7-point clear, Man City held by Everton

Arsenal head into 2023 with a formidable seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League after a 4-2 win at Brighton, while Manchester City’s…

Arsenal head into 2023 with a formidable seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League after a 4-2 win at Brighton, while Manchester City’s title defence suffered a major setback as Everton snatched a 1-1 draw against the champions on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta’s side powered to a fifth successive league victory thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli on New Year’s Eve at the Amex Stadium.

The Gunners stormed into the lead after just two minutes when Martinelli’s deflected effort reached England forward Saka, who took a deft touch before slotting past Brighton keeper Robert Sanchez.

Arsenal were in complete control and Danish midfielder Odegaard netted with a thumping 39th-minute strike after a corner was cleared to the edge of the Brighton area.

Nketiah scored Arsenal’s third in the 47th minute, poking home after Sanchez failed to hold Martinelli’s effort.

Kaoru Mitoma’s 65th-minute strike for Brighton would have shaken Arsenal’s nerves in the past, but the current crop are made of sterner stuff.

Six minutes later Martinelli bagged the fourth from Odegaard’s sublime long pass, a strike that rendered irrelevant Evan Ferguson’s first league goal for Brighton in the 77th minute.

Arsenal’s ninth win in their last 10 league matches was even sweeter coming just hours after second-placed City stumbled at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side blew the lead given to them by Erling Haaland as Demarai Gray scored an eye-catching equaliser for struggling Everton.

City have failed to win two of their last three league games and head into 2023 in danger of surrendering the title they have won four times in the last five seasons.

Haaland’s 27th goal
Haaland put City ahead in the 24th minute with his 27th goal in 20 competitive appearances since his close-season move from Borussia Dortmund.

Riyad Mahrez provided the assist with a dazzling run and pin-point pass to the Norway striker, who slotted past Jordan Pickford in ruthless fashion.

But Everton equalised against the run of play in the 64th minute as Gray robbed City midfielder Rodri and curled a blistering strike into the top corner, in the process buying under-fire boss Frank Lampard some much-needed breathing space.

Guardiola stayed positive, saying: “Dropping points at home is always tough. But we played really good in the last three games and it makes me feel optimistic.”

Third-placed Newcastle’s six-match winning run came to a halt in a 0-0 draw against Leeds at St James’ Park.

Joao Palhinha’s last-gasp goal sealed Fulham’s 2-1 win against Southampton, who sit bottom of the table after a fifth successive defeat.

Crystal Palace eased to a 2-0 win at Bournemouth as Patrick Vieira’s side ended their three-match goal drought thanks to Jordan Ayew and Eberechi Eze.

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