Brighton & Hove Albion won their first game against Arsenal since 1982 as they beat the Gunners 2-1 at the Amex Stadium.
Chris Hughton’s side equalled their longest Premier League unbeaten run of five matches with victory over Arsenal. For the first time this season, they won a match against a top six side and it was thoroughly deserved.
After losing twice to Manchester City last week, Arsenal had the chance to put things right against Brighton. However, after just seven minutes, they found themselves 1-0 down. Lewis Dunk nearly scored his fifth own goal of the season when he diverted Mkhitaryan’s cross over the bar.
Just minutes later, Dunk put Brighton in front when Shane Duffy beat Petr Cech to Pascal Gross’ corner and headed down for Dunk to slam home.
As usual, when Arsenal go 1-0 down, they crumbled. Brighton pressed high up the pitch and Arsenal just couldn’t deal with it. The Seagulls continued to threaten from set-pieces with Dunk having a free header from a corner but putting it wide. Alex Iwobi gave the ball away and Brighton were through on goal but Cech spared Iwobi’s blushes by blocking Anthony Knockaert’s shot.
Shane Duffy was another Brighton player who nearly benefited from more shambolic Arsenal defending when his free header from a corner sailed just over the bar.
In the 25th minute, Brighton doubled their lead. Once again, Arsenal were at fault. Laurent Koscielny carelessly gave the ball away and Gross pinged in a perfect cross for Glenn Murray who headed home with ease. Only Mo Salah (7) and Sergio Aguero (9) have scored more Premier League goals in 2018 than Glenn Murray (6).
Murray and Knockaert had shots at goal but Cech was behind them. Even with a 2-0 lead, Brighton wanted more. Arsenal on the other hand, were helpless. They continually struggled to do the basics right while Brighton put the pressure on.
With two minutes to go until half-time, Arsenal somehow got themselves back into the game. Iwobi cut the ball back for Granit Xhaka inside the box and his pinpoint pass found club-record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who flicked home from close range. Suddenly Arsenal had hope.
In the last chance of the first half, Arsenal nearly made it 2-2. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s corner wasn’t dealt with by Brighton and Laurent Koscielny’s header smashed against the post. After dominating the game for so long, Brighton breathed a sigh of relief as the first half came to an end.
Arsenal came out determined to put things right in the second half. They had the first shot of the second half but Mkhitaryan’s effort was straight at Brighton keeper Mat Ryan.
Mesut Ozil was the next player to try his luck for Arsenal. His fierce shot from distance was palmed away by Ryan. Brighton continued to play well but Arsenal were playing with more intensity.
Sead Kolasinac was extremely lucky to avoid a second yellow card when he bulldozed into Ezequiel Schelotto. Kolasinac would almost certainly have received a yellow if it had been his first offence but referee Stuart Atwell kept his cards in his pocket. Schelotto was, unfortunately, unable to continue.
Jose Izquierdo could have restored Brighton’s two-goal lead when he broke forward down the left and cut inside but instead of squaring the ball to a team-mate, he took the shot on himself and it went wide.
Arsenal continued to create half chances but Brighton held firm to record a 2-1 victory. For the first time since 2002, Arsenal have lost four successive matches. They are 12 points of the top four and look completely devoid of confidence. With every defeat, the calls for Arsene Wenger to go become even louder.
Brighton took full advantage of Arsenal’s plight and they deserve credit, along with manager Chris Hughton, for getting the three points.
Brighton & Hove Albion Starting XI: Ryan, Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Schelotto (Bruno 69), Knockaert (Marchh 77), Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo, Gross (Kayal 87), Murray
Unused subs: Krul, Ulloa, Goldson, Locadia,
Arsenal Starting XI: Cech, Chambers (Nketiah 83), Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan (Bellerin 83), Ozil, Iwobi (Welbeck 74), Aubameyang
Unused subs: Ospina, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Elneny
Featured image credit: Paul Gillett