Brighton & Hove Albion pulled off a famous victory at the Amex Stadium as the Seagulls defeated a toothless Arsenal side.
Their first win against a top six side this season, Brighton started the game in emphatic fashion despite the Gunners looking strong early on. Lewis Dunk gave the Seagulls the lead from a corner seven minutes in, and Glenn Murray continued his impressive form by making it 2-0 19 minutes later.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled a goal back for the Gunners three minutes before the break, but Arsene Wenger’s side could not find an equalising goal in a game that will raise more questions about the Frenchman’s future at the club.
A quick start at the Amex
Despite a horrific run of form, it was the Gunners that started the brightest. Mesut Ozil controlled the final third as he so normally does when the German is on form, and Alex Iwobi was finding it easy to drift in down the right wing and winning the ball back.
Just when it looked like Arsenal would take the lead due to their impressive start, the hosts opened the scoring just seven minutes in through Dunk.
A Brighton corner found it’s way to the feet of the towering defender, and with Petr Cech flopped onto the floor, the 26-year-old defender had an easy tap-in from six-yards out to give the Seagulls a surprise early lead.
Brighton on the front-foot
Dunk’s early goal handed control of the game over to Brighton, as the hosts begun to dominate in possession, and they were finding it a lot easier to win the ball of Arsenal whenever Wenger’s side ventured forward for an attack.
Anthony Knockaert should had doubled Brighton’s lead 20 minutes in, when possession was lost in the Arsenal penalty area to Pascal Gross, who smartly back-heeled the ball to the French winger, but his shot was well saved by Cech.
Murray makes it two
A second Brighton goal was coming, and it finally came 26 minutes through veteran striker Murray.
The Gunners lost possession in the first third yet again, allowing Gross to capitalise on the mistake. The German midfielder spotted his teammate in the penalty area with two defenders marking him, but despute the difference in numbers the former Bundesliga playmaker picked out Murray, and the striker headed the ball under Cech to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
The jeers begin, and Arsenal bounce back
“We want Wenger out” began to be heard across the stadium, as Arsenal fans made their opinions known to the manager, whilst Brighton fans responded with “Arsene Wenger we want you to stay”.
The jeers seemed to have motivated the visiting team, though, as three minutes before the break the Gunners pulled a goal through club-record signing Aubameyang.
A spell of possession in the Brighton third saw Iwobi play the ball back out to Granit Xhaka, who smartly picked out the Arsenal #14 in the area, and the winter signing from Borussia Dortmund had an easy flick to put the ball past Matthew Ryan to salvage a goal for the Gunners.
Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny came agonisingly close to levelling the game going into the break when the defender’s header hit the near post in the final chance of the half.
A better half for the Gunners
The second half saw the Gunners take way more chances than they did in the first. Arsenal only registered two shots in the first 45 minutes, whilst it took them just 10 minutes to have two strikes on goal after the restart.
Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both tested Ryan from distance, but both strikes were well saved by the Australian international. The Gunners still looked shaky defensively, but wasted chances from Brighton meant Cech remained untested.
Despite putting Brighton on countless amounts of pressure, the hosts were able to see out a famous win at the Amex, and claim a vital three points in their bid to remain the Premier League.