Odegaard is just too good! Arsenal winners, losers and ratings as captain stars again to send Gunners seven points clear

Martin Odegaard Arsenal 2022-23
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Mikel Arteta's side won 4-2 away at Brighton as they took full advantage of Manchester City dropping points to move further clear in the title race

Arsenal will end 2022 with a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League after a thrilling 4-2 win at Brighton. The Gunners were sensational at times at the Amex Stadium, with captain Martin Odeegard producing another sublime performance.

But Mikel Arteta's also made things difficult for themselves at times and had to endure some nervy moments at end as the home side fought back.

Arsenal got off to a dream start when Bukayo Saka netted after just 66 seconds, and Odegaard doubled the lead with his seventh league goal of the season before the interval.

Eddie Nketiah then added a third soon after the restart, before Kaoru Mitoma pulled a goal back for the hosts.

Gabriel Martinelli finished off a quite majestic Odegaard pass to restore Arsenal's three-goal advantage, only for Evan Ferguson to take advantage of a William Saliba error to make it 4-2.

Mitoma then seemed to have set up a grandstand finish when he slotted past Aaron Ramsdale with just three minutes remaining, but the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside - much to the relief of Mikel Arteta and the travelling Arsenal fans.

The win sees the Gunners stretch their lead over Manchester City to seven points following the defending champions' surprise home draw with Everton earlier on Saturday.

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners

    Martin Odegaard

    The Arsenal captain's drag back and nutmeg on Lewis Dunk was worth the entrance fee alone, as was his outrageous pass to send Gabriel Martinelli away for Arsenal's fourth goal. Odegaard is enjoying a superb run of form and backed up his excellent performance against West Ham on Boxing Day with another superb display here. The playmaker pulled the strings for Arsenal all evening and linked up especially well with Martinelli and Oleksandr Zinchenko down the left. His bit of skill to take Dunk out of the game and set up a chance for Martinelli was breathtaking and summed up his level of performance right now. Odegaard's goal, which made it 2-0 just before half-time, was his seventh in the league this season. No Arsenal player has scored more. He also now has nine goal involvements in his last eight games. The Norway international may not be the type of captain who screams and shouts, but he certainly leads by example with his performance on the pitch.

    Thomas Partey

    Bukayo Saka may have scored the goal after 66 seconds, but it was Thomas Partey who played the key role. Brighton had looked likely to launch a threatening counter-attack when Tariq Lamptey nicked the ball away from Odegaard. But, before the Brighton full-back could get fully into his stride, Partey slid in and robbed him of possession to start the move that led to Saka opening the scoring. It was Partey at his very best and a very similar piece of play to the tackle he produced on Declan Rice in the build-up to Saka's equaliser against West Ham on Boxing Day. Partey is so essential to this Arsenal team and that has been highlighted perfectly in their two fixtures over the festive period.

    Arsenal fans everywhere

    What a way to end 2022. There is still a long way to go this season, but Arsenal fans around the world must be pinching themselves right now. The Gunners start the new year seven points clear at the top of the Premier League and are playing the type of football every fan wants to see their team play. It's been a long time coming, but Arsenal have a team their supporters can be proud of, whatever happens between now and the end of the season.

  2. The Losers
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    The Losers

    Pep Guardiola

    This was not the end to 2022 that Pep Guardiola would have been hoping for. After Manchester City's win at Leeds, Guardiola would have been desperate to see his side cruise past Everton to close the gap on Arsenal to just two points at the top of the table ahead of the Gunners' game at the Amex. But instead, City stumbled to a 1-1 draw and handed the initiative back to Mikel Arteta's side, who took full advantage to take a seven point lead into 2023.

    William Saliba

    Saliba will be really disappointed with his part in Evan Ferguson's goal, which made it 4-2. He misjudged a relatively simple ball over the top, just as he did against West Ham on Boxing Day, and was punished when Ferguson got in front of him and rolled a finish under Aaron Ramsdale. Saliba has barely put a foot wrong this season but he certainly appears to have returned from the World Cup a bit rusty, which is perhaps understandable given his lack of game time with France. Arteta showed a lot of faith in the young centre-back when he put him straight back into the side following his return from Qatar and he will be hoping the 21-year-old will get back to his best quickly.

    Tottenham fans

    Not much to say about this really. Just look at the league table. Happy New Year!

  3. Arsenal Ratings: Defence
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    Arsenal Ratings: Defence

    Aaron Ramsdale (7/10):

    Made a couple of sharp saves. Good performance in tricky conditions, although could have maybe done better with Brighton's second goal.

    Ben White (7/10):

    Arsenal looked far worse after he had been substituted.

    William Saliba (6/10):

    Poor for Brighton's second goal. Looks off the pace after the World Cup.

    Gabriel Magalhaes (7/10):

    Dealt with some dangerous situations well. Unlucky to be booked.

    Oleksandr Zinchenko (7/10):

    Linked up well with Martinelli going forward, but left some space behind him which Brighton took advantage of.

  4. Midfield
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    Thomas Partey (8/10):

    Just gets better and better this season. Excellent.

    Granit Xhaka (7/10):

    Linked up well with Odegaard and Martinelli.

    Martin Odegaard (8/10):

    On target again and lit up the game was some outrageous skill. Fabulous pass for Martinelli's goal.

  5. Attack
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    Bukayo Saka (8/10):

    Brilliant finish after just 66 seconds to get the ball rolling.

    Eddie Nketiah (7/10):

    Took his goal well, was alert as always in the six-yard box.

    Gabriel Martinelli (8/10):

    A constant menace down the left hand side. Deserved his goal.

  6. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Kieran Tierney (6/10):

    Solid enough.

    Takehiro Tomiyasu (5/10):

    Struggled with his compatriot Mitoma.

    Mohamed Elneny (5/10):

    Couldn't get a foothold in the game.

    Rob Holding (N/A):

    Only on for a matter of minutes.

    Mikel Arteta (8/10):

    Another perfect night for the Arsenal manager.