Arsenal top the table on 43 points with second-placed Manchester City, who were held 1-1 by Everton earlier in the day, on 36 and Newcastle United, who drew 0-0 with Leeds, two points further in third. .
Saka scored just over a minute into the game as Gabriel Martinelli’s shot was deflected into his path, and he cushioned the ball with his first touch before deftly guiding it with his second.
Leandro Trossard had a few decent chances for the home side before Martin Odegaard added Arsenal’s second in the 39th minute, leaping from a loose clearance and driving a shot that bounced into the net.
The league leaders looked to have won just after the break as goalkeeper Robert Sanchez knocked down another Martinelli shot past striker Nketiah, and he brought the ball home from close range.
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However, a 65th-minute goal from Kaoru Mitoma threw Brighton a lifeline and although Gabriel Martinelli scored a fourth for Arsenal from a superb pass from Odegaard, Evan Ferguson made it 4-2 to set up a arrival in the stands.
Mitoma thought he had made it 4-3 in the 89th minute but the goal was scored after a VAR review revealed he had come from an offside position as the Gunners held on to end the year with a win.
“We don’t care about other teams, three points was all today and we did it. Maybe we need to control the game a bit better, we let them in a few times, but it’s a good team,” Arsenal captain Odegaard told Sky Sports.
Fellow goalscorer Saka said his side were delighted to be seven points clear at the start of the new year.
“Of course at the start of the season if you asked us if we wanted it we would rip your hand off. We’re really happy,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s a great opportunity that we have, a great place that we’ve put ourselves in.”