Arsenal strengthen grip at top with thrilling win over Brighton

Arsenal will head into the new year with a seven-point lead at the summit of the Premier League following a 4-2 win at Brighton.

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring after just 65 seconds before Martin Odegaard doubled Arsenal’s advantage with Eddie Nketiah adding a third shortly after the interval.

Kaoru Mitoma pulled one back for the Seagulls only for Gabriel Martinelli to net Arsenal’s fourth.

Teenager Evan Ferguson scored a second for the home side, but Mikel Arteta’s side saw out the the final Premier League fixture of 2022 to record another victory.

Martin Odegaard scores for Arsenal
Martin Odegaard scores Arsenal’s second of the night against Brighton (Adam Davy/PA)

Earlier, Demarai Gray scored a stunning equaliser as Everton ended 2022 by snatching an unexpected point against Manchester City.

Erling Haaland looked to have put Pep Guardiola’s side on course for victory in a scrappy contest at the Etihad Stadium before Gray responded with a sublime curling effort from the edge of the area just after the hour.

It ended a run of four games without a win for Everton and eased some of the pressure on manager Frank Lampard.

Erling Haaland celebrates with Jack Grealish
Erling Haaland scored the opener for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium (Tim Goode/PA)

Marcus Rashford climbed off the bench and the naughty step to fire Manchester United to victory at Wolves.

The striker, dropped by boss Erik ten Hag for disciplinary reasons, grabbed his 11th goal of the season to send United into the top four with a 1-0 win.

Fabian Schar passed up a hat-trick of chances as Newcastle’s hopes of a seventh successive Premier League win were dashed by Leeds.

The Magpies’ best opportunities fell to the Switzerland international – and fellow defender Dan Burn – but neither were able to break the deadlock at St James’ Park.

Kieran Trippier and and Crysencio Summerville battle for the ball
Newcastle’s match with Leeds ended in a goalless draw (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Southampton will begin 2023 at the foot of the Premier League after a last-gasp Joao Palhinha goal condemned them to a 2-1 defeat at Fulham.

James Ward-Prowse thought he had secured a first point under new Saints boss Nathan Jones when he scored a free-kick to cancel out his own goal.

But Palhinha struck a minute from time with a far-post header to leave Southampton rock bottom.

Fulham's Joao Palhinha celebrates with his team-mates
Fulham’s Joao Palhinha is mobbed after his late strike (John Walton/PA)

Crystal Palace picked up three vital points with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

Both goals for Palace, who had failed to register any shots on target in their Boxing Day loss to Fulham, came from first-half set pieces.

Jordan Ayew opened the scoring when he nodded in a corner from Michael Olise, who also set up Eberechi Eze for the Eagles’ second.