Yet again, Arsenal succumbed to an away defeat as two first-half goals from Brighton secure a victory over Arsenal for the first time since 1982.
I’ll begrudgingly take you through what happened after eventually building up the courage to write a review.
Well, here goes…
Arsenal started brightly, with Mesut Ozil being the first to rue a missed chance. The best defence from Brighton came from Pascal Gross when he cancelled out a cross from Henrikh Mkhitaryan meant for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang who was waiting in the penalty area.
The hosts had their chance to break the deadlock with an effort from Jose Izquierdo (though at second glance, it looked as though the ball came off an Arsenal defender) via Ezequiel Schelotto.
Chris Houghton’s side took the lead within seven minutes, with a close-range strike from Lewis Dunk. Arsenal weren’t watching him!
The Seagulls could’ve doubled their lead soon after had Petr Cech not saved a thumping strike from Gross who was laid on by Izquierdo, and again when Shkodran Mustafi deflected an effort from Izquierdo for a corner!
With 26 minutes gone, Glenn Murray picked out an excellent in-swing cross from Gross to double his sides lead with a header from inside the box. This day was going from bad to worse for Arsenal! Murray was effectively allowed a free header! Unbelievable!
Towards the end of the half, there was a glimmer of hope for Arsenal (“glimmer of hope for Arsenal”, can’t believe I’ve just written that…) when Aubameyang reduced the deficit. Short passes inside the area from Alex Iwobi and Granit Xhaka found the Gabonese forward, who slotted past Matthew Ryan to end the half on a somewhat positive note.
Chances from Iwobi and Mkhitaryan did little to lift the mood of the away support as they struggled. Though Ozil forced Ryan into making a decent save following a shot from outside the box from the left.
Chris Houghton’s side had chances also, with Izquierdo being denied by Cech despite making a good effort for himself, and thought they’d scored a third later on but was ruled out for offside.
It was all going on at one point of the game when Aubameyang could’ve equalised following being fed through by Ozil, but the former was foiled by Ryan, then at the other end, Izquierdo made a break, and got himself into a fantastic goal-scoring position, but failed to finish. Unlucky.
Deep into injury time, Aubameyang was denied yet again by Ryan, with the former having his effort from the centre of the box collected by the keeper.
Brighton held on to claim a first win over Arsenal in 32 years to pile the pressure on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
Thoughts on the game
Brighton played like a team who were raring to stay up and performances like that show why they deserve to remain in the top division.
Arsenal have come up short in yet another away game, and have had far too many defeats where the opponent “wanted it more”. Something really does need to change
Brighton continue their surge to survival when they take on an Everton side that have struggled as of recent (away on Saturday 3pm).
As for Arsenal, they have European commitments to deal with as they visit AC Milan in the last-16 first leg of the Europa League on Thursday (kick-off 6pm), then host Watford on Sunday (kick-off 1:30pm).