Arsenal’s title hopes came to a crushing end yesterday as Brighton played them off the park and scored three at Emirates Stadium.
The game started in cagey, pinball like fashion, with the big moments of the opening 10 minutes involving Martinelli. The first was his foul on Mitoma, when he took out the Japan international in the air, however his eyes were on the ball, and he had every right to challenge.
The Brighton players thought differently, and Moises Caicedo launched into him from behind moments later, catching his ankle, and forcing him off to be replaced by Leandro Trossard.
Despite a few positive moments, Brighton largely controlled the first 15 minutes, with 72% of possession and they forced Ramsdale into a good save from the lively Enciso.
However, Arsenal did have chances, with Odegaard failing to shoot when an opportunity presented itself, and Xhaka came inches from a super interception in the lead up to Enciso’s chance, giving the home fans a glimmer of hope.
Throughout the half, Brighton continued to control the ball, with Steel in goal being given far too much time to ping the ball around at the back, however Arsenal had chances with Jesus forcing Steel into a save at the near post, Odegaard flashing a shot wide from a similar distance to his goal against Newcastle, Saka putting a venomous shot just wide, and Trossard hitting the bar.
Chances were falling for Arsenal, however they were failing to take them, and were struggling to complete passing, finishing the half with a 69% completion rate, which is far from what we’ve become accustomed to with this team.
After finishing the half the stronger of the two teams, Arsenal came out strong in the second half, forcing an early corner. However, moments later, Brighton exposed the Arsenal right, with Mitoma toying with White to play in Estupiñán, whose cross was cut out by Kieran Tienery, and his second was tapped in by Enciso, whilst Kiwior was on the ground.
Kiwior clearly thought he was fouled, however going down in that area presented a huge risk, and one that proved costly for Arsenal. It was a hard lesson to learn, but you need to stay on your feet in that area.
After that, things didn’t get much better despite a few chances, with Nelson flashing a powerful shot wide and Trossard putting a good chance straight at Steel.
Then on 71 minutes, Leandro Trossard played a shocking pass straight to Alexis Mac Allister, who played in Deniz Undaz, who chipped Ramsdale to put the Seagulls 2-0 up. Whilst it was a terrible mistake from the Belgian, questions have to be asked of Ramsdale, who failed to commit and was positionally poor when attacking the ball.
At that point it was game over. Arsenal looked completely dejected as the Emirates quickly emptied, and on 96 minutes it got worse, as Ramsdale palmed Undaz’s shot straight to Estupiñán who clinically slotted home to make it 3-0.
The three goal lead flattered Brighton, because on another day Arsenal would have taken their first half chances and killed the game, despite the incredible football Brighton played, and what was even more frustrating was the fact all three goals were a result of our own mistakes.
But, there’s always next season…
A great article that i enjoyed reading. Arsenal done well but didn’t have enough to go all the way. Maybe next season