Arsenal stay on Premier League pole, PSG held to draw at Lille

Arsenal stayed atop of the Premier League tally after beating Brighton 2-0 with second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus, who netted in the opener from close range and Kai Havertz who found the back of the net to wrap up the win on Sunday.

“We have great players that can define games and finish actions. Today we needed too many, especially in big spaces, too many situations to finish the game,” said Arsenal manager Arteta, who was not happy about the low success rate of capitalizing on their 16 shots on goal despite the victory. They will next face second-ranked Liverpool on Saturday, who are only one point behind as the Reds were held to a goalless draw by Manchester United.

Arsenal and Brighton players in action during their Premier League clash in London, UK, December 17, 2023. /CFP

Arsenal and Brighton players in action during their Premier League clash in London, UK, December 17, 2023. /CFP

“That was the fear, especially after half-time, that it could be one of those days because the moment you give something to this team they’ll take it,” said the Spaniard. 

“We had to be patient but at the same time we had to be really determined against this team. The second you have doubts against this team they open you up, they start to frustrate you and dominate with the ball. We didn’t do that.

“We didn’t allow them to do that. We showed a lot of maturity, and a lot of intelligence. This game against them requires them to be really intelligent,” he added.

“We had some issues in the camp and with Jorginho too we had another one. It’s five, six now. So, we need players,” Arteta said, admitting he was concerned about the leaders’ injury issues.

Meanwhile, Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint Germain threw away two points as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Lille when substitute Jonathan David headed a last-minute equalizer after the visitors had taken the lead through a Kylian Mbappe penalty.

The result leaves PSG with 37 points, five clear of second-placed Nice, who lost 3-1 at Le Havre on Saturday. AS Monaco, who are third, went down 1-0 at home to lowly Olympique Lyonnais on Friday. Lille’s win leaves them in fourth with 28 points.

(With input from agencies)

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