Arsenal played down their chances of winning the Premier League, despite finishing 2022 seven points clear at the top of the table.
But Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said his side could still improve after a faltering 3-0 lead.
He said the gap at the top of the table ‘means nothing’ if Arsenal slip up, and ‘our only aim is to improve again’.
Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League since 2004, but just after Arteta’s third birthday as manager, they are in pole position to win what would be the club’s 14th league title.
Going into the final Premier League game of 2022, Arsenal were reassured knowing that City were held 1-1 by Everton home earlier in the day.
“We knew the result [of the Manchester City game]but the boost is that we have to come here and win, and to do that we have to perform at the highest level in this league,” Arteta told BBC Sport.
“Tonight we needed to put in a big performance to win against a very good Brighton side. We also needed to dig in.
“[We have] a lot of things to improve, especially in the moments of defense. We still have room to improve.”
Arsenal and City have played 16 games each so far this season. At the same stage in 2021-22, the Gunners trail City by 12 points.
“[It] It looks amazing,” striker Bukayo Saka told Sky Sports of his current position. “Of course at the start of the season if you asked us if we wanted it, we would rip your hand off. We are really happy.”
Saka gave Arsenal a perfect start at Brighton with a goal after just 66 seconds, but the England striker is adamant the team aren’t looking too far ahead with the season not even halfway through.
“It’s a big opportunity that we have – a big place that we’ve put ourselves in,” he added. “We’re not focusing on that now. We’re focusing on the next game because we know how well Newcastle have played.”
The Magpies, who are third in the league, will visit the Emirates on Tuesday.