Brighton V Arsenal Match Report

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Brighton fell to a 3-0 defeat at home to Arsenal on Saturday evening, falling further behind in the race for European football and to make matters worse former Brighton man Leandro Trossard sealed the win on 86 minutes, with a composed dinked finish when played clean through on goal. Joe Zelinger reports

The Seagulls were 12 games unbeaten at home before the match, and were limited in causing their opponents any real issues against a strong Arsenal defence. Their last defeat at home came against West Ham, all the way back in August. 

There was an energetic mood  to the AMEX early on in the game, and for a while it seemed that the home side could potentially put a dent in Arsenal’s title hopes. Roberto de Zerbi’s side dominated possession and were quick to press Arsenal in the opening exchanges.

However, it didn’t take long for the Gunners to start taking a hold of the game. After 15 minutes, Ben White played a clever through ball into Bukayo Saka, who cut back into on his left foot inside the box and curled an effort wide of the goal. 

Just a minute later, Saka was involved again. The English forward came in off the left hand-side and played the ball into Gabriel Jesus, who directed a fierce effort towards the corner of the goal, only to be denied superbly by Bart Verbruggen in goal. 

After half an hour, Arsenal were awarded a penalty. Jesus, on the left side of the box, was brought down by Tariq Lamptey and the referee pointed to the spot. Lamptey was unlucky in that he won the ball initially, however, he took out Jesus in the process, and VAR did not intervene. 

Saka, back from injury, tucked the penalty away, settling any nerves in the Arsenal camp. 

The Seagulls attempted to battle back before the half-time whistle, with Julio Enciso sending a dangerous shot at David Raga’s goal. The Paraguayan international cut in from the left, and his looping attempt was tipped behind well by Raya. 

From the start of the second half, Arsenal built on their earlier goal by controlling the majority of the ball and creating chances. After falling behind in the first half, Brighton never really threatened to change the outcome of the game.

On 48 minutes, Jesus nearly doubled the Arsenal lead. Kai Havertz clipped a cross into the Brazilian, but his header was wide of the goal. 

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Five minutes later, Martin Odegaard had a powerful shot parried away by Verbruggen. Despite being a strong effort, the Norwegian’s shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

With half an hour to go, Arsenal all but secured the win, with the in form Kai Havertz tapping home from a Jorginho cross. Brighton lost the ball just outside their box, which allowed Jorginho to find space in the box and slide the ball into Havertz for an easy finish. 

With Brighton already seemingly low on energy, the second Arsenal goal completely took the life out of the home side. Arsenal had come into the game without conceding in their last four away games, and didn’t give Brighton any encouragement after establishing their lead.

As the game ebbed away, Brighton tried to search for at least a consolation goal. In the process, Pascal Gross gave the ball away just inside the Arsenal half and Havertz was this time on hand to provide the goal. With the whole Brighton team having pushed up the pitch, Havertz released Trossard through on goal, and the Belgian forward expertly chipped the ball over Verbruggen, and sent the travelling fans wild.

This result was Brighton’s first home defeat since game week three, and now means they are winless in their last three matches. The race for Europe is hotting up now, and the last few games have meant Albion are now five points off 7th place, albeit having a game in hand. They now sit 10th in the league. 

Arsenal are still unbeaten in the Premier League in 2024, and return to the summit of the table at least until Liverpool play Manchester United tomorrow.

Brighton face a tough away trip to Burnley next Saturday, as they look to kick start a positive end to the season. Arsenal face Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, and then return to league action next Sunday at home to Aston Villa. 

 

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