Arsenal moved to the top of the Premier League with two second-half goals to overcome Brighton at the Emirates Stadium.
Martin Ødegaard came within a whisker of Arsenal’s first play, but his effort from the edge of the area stretched inches wide.
As the home side continued to probe, Gabriel Martinelli shot straight at the keeper from close range before Kai Havertz was denied by a fantastic block.
But Brighton’s resistance was finally broken eight minutes after the break when Bukayo Saka’s corner found its way to the back post where Gabriel Jesus bent and headed into the net.
Any lingering nerves were extinguished three minutes from time thanks to Kai Havertz, who sent an even finish into the far corner, where his compatriot failed, after Pascal Groß missed a huge chance at the other end minutes earlier.
The win moves Arsenal to the top of the table ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Manchester United.
Arsenal Player Rating
GK: David Raya – 6/10 – Some questionable distribution from the Spaniard and Arsenal fans had palpable nerves when he was called on.
RB: Ben White – 7/10 – Booked late in the first half when Kaoru Mitoma sprinted away from him, but it was largely a spectator as the Japan international rarely tested him.
CB: William Saliba – 8/10 – An incredibly calming presence, dealing with Evan Ferguson and his replacement Joao Pedro very well indeed. More difficult tests await him.
CB: Gabriel – 8/10 – Strong defensively and more than matched his centre-back display.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7/10 – Always a threat to step forward with the ball, sliding down the left wing and central areas.
CM: Martin Odegaard – 8/10 – One sensational pass in the first half that took the breath away from every fan in the stadium and he was at his classy best throughout. A deserved goal contribution for a good performance.
CM: Declan Rice – 7/10 – Another great performance from the £105m man who helped Arsenal dominate the midfield battle.
CM: Kai Havertz – 7/10 – Relatively quiet display until his goal but secured the points with a smart finish late on.
RW: Bukayo Saka – 8/10 – Terrorized James Milner throughout, a huge mismatch. His dangerous corner set up the opener and proved to be too much for Brighton’s back line at times.
ST: Gabriel Jesus – 8/10 – Often involved in and around the area, provided a decisive breakthrough for the Gunners just after half-time with a poached goal.
LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 7/10 – Showed flashes of his raw speed on the left wing, but was often guilty of playing the ball. He showed off some deadly swinging horns.
SUB: Eddie Nketiah (81′ for Jesus) – 7/10
SUB: Leandro Trossard (81′ for Martinelli) – 6/10
SUB: Emile Smith Rowe (89′ for Havertz) – N/A
SUB: Reiss Nelson (89′ for Saka) – N/A
SUB: Jakub Kiwior (90′ for Zinchenko) – N/A