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    Arteta impressed with leaders Arsenal´s maturity in ´big win´ at Brighton

    Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal have shown they are becoming “more mature” in a “big win” over Brighton & Hove Albion that put them seven points clear of the top of the Premier League.

    Draws between Manchester City and Newcastle United against Everton and Leeds United respectively earlier on New Year’s Eve gave the Gunners a chance to increase their lead at the top.

    They grabbed him with both hands at the Amex stadium, Bukayo Saka had them on their way to the goal in just 66 seconds.

    Inspiring captain Martin Odegaard doubled Arsenal’s lead as Eddie Nketiah scored the third goal with Gabriel Martinelli coming into play on either side of Chaika duo Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson.

    Mitoma appeared to create a tense final when he was out of the net for the second time, but a VAR check showed that he veered off the play.

    Arsenal are doing well after five consecutive top-flight wins and Arteta believes they are growing with each win.

    The Gunners head coach said: “The team is becoming more mature and today was a big challenge.”

    Arteta added: “This is a big win, I am very happy. This is a really difficult place. It’s a really good team, they are very well trained and they made it difficult for us. We have made it difficult for them.

    “I think we were excellent, especially offensively when we had space and the way they defend makes it very open and we made the most of it.

    “We had moments that we discussed earlier where we were going to suffer and defend ourselves deeper. There were times when we had to do better and we created problems for ourselves, but that’s part of the training and every game is a huge challenge.”

    The Spaniard knows the London club still has a lot of work to do to become champions for the first time since 2004 as they turn their attention to a home game against third-placed Newcastle on Tuesday.

    Arteta said: “It’s still a long way off. I get excited when I walk into the dressing room when the players are talking about what they should have done better today.

    “It means they know we can still play better and be better and against Newcastle we have to be better.”

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