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Nigerian star seals the points for improving Arsenal

HOT SHOT: Alex Iwobi strikes against Brighton

ARSENE WENGER celebrated 21 years in charge at Arsenal and his side duly gifted him a win over Brighton. The visitors were almost complicit in marking Wenger's landmark achievement, but it was the overall efforts of the Gunners which eventually secured them a comfortable 2-0 win at the Emirates stadium.

Goals from Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi either side of the break proved to be enough. Brighton were content to defend in depth do large periods of the game, and the consistent forays from the front trio of Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey were frustrated in large parts by a line of at times six defenders.

That said when they ventured forward, Brighton seemed capable of troubling the Gunners rearguard with Solly March cracking his long range effort onto the post in the first half. Lacazette had done likewise for the Gunners after just two minutes and that set up the mood of a game where Arsenal had come to win, while their visitors were content on not losing.

Monreal and Iwobi ensured the Gunners went way on the international break in continued home winning form and a win which lifts Arsene Wenger's men to fifth place and level on points with Chelsea.

ATTACK OF SIGNIFICANCE

Wenger selected Rob Holding and Alex Iwobi from the side which won in Belarus, with Jack Wilshere amongst the substitutes.

With their first attack of significance, Arsenal should have been in front. Lacazette struck a venomous shot which beat Mat Ryan, but came back off his upright. Alexis's follow up went high over the bar.

Brighton responded when Isaiah Brown headed wide from a free kick which had Cech worried. Alexis then struck from range but Ryan again made the save. Arsenal were enjoying the majority of the possession but were unable to breach th Brighton back line. Iwobi worked a quick one two with Alexis, but Ryan held his effort.

When Lacazette was impeded by Jose Izquierdo, Xhaka's resultant free kick wasn't cleared. Lacazette headed back in for Bellerin who saw his shot blocked, before Monreal found the target for the opening goal.

Midway through the the first half and Brighton's own free kick routine saw March hit post with Cech beaten. The visitors were unlucky and Cech was again required when pushing the ball away under pressure from Brown.

COMFORTABLE

Arsenal seemed comfortable and one paced, but crucialLy they had the goal lead. Iwobi and Lacazette went close as did Ramsey after a fast counter attack. A four on two situation saw Brighton back peddling. Alexis played on Bellerin on his left. He fed Sead Kolasinac to cross for Ramsey. The Welshman caught the ball well, and only the outstretched boot of Ryan prevented a second Arsenal goal.

The almost pedestrian theme of the first half was to continue as the Gunners again went about penetrating the yellow shirted 'wall 'in front of them.

Alexis teed up Lacazette, but his shot was blocked and at the other end, Lewis Dunk let fly from 20 yards but Cech held firm.

Four minutes after the break however, Arsenal double their lead. Alexis's back heel put in Iwobi who struck high over Ryan for a 2-0 lead.

Still not at his fluent best Alexis nevertheless was putting in a shift. Kolasinac played in the Chilean striker and his effort looked to be headed in until a combination of Ryan's hand and Dunk's deflection saw the ball riz wide for a corner.

Arsenal were virtually camped in the Brighton half as Kolasinac powered a header which March cleared off his line

Giroud came on for Lacazette and Theo Walcott for Iwobi, with Xhaka making way for Mohamed Elneny. Brighton however summoned up late energy to threaten Cech's Goa, with substitute Glenn Murray stealing in to head just wide at Cech's near post.

Arsenal however had enough about them to keep their two goal lead intact and seal a win which maintains their winning home record. They travel to Watford after the international break in a 17:30 UK time kick off. Wenger will hope his charges return free from injury and ready to take up the Premier League campaign from where they left off.

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