Abject Arsenal beaten at home by Brighton
Premier League, Emirates Stadium - Arsenal 1 (Lacazette 50'), Brighton and Hove Albion 2 (Webster 36', Maupay 80')
A fine performance from Brighton saw them win at Arsenal for the first time in their history, moving from 15th to 13th in the table. Arsenal, who stay 10th, are now nine games without a win - their longest such run since the late 70s.
Brighton were by far the better side in the first half, gradually taking control as Arsenal's initial flurry - more of a flurrylet really - wore off. They might have taken the lead sooner than they did, in the 36th minute, when Dan Burn headed a corner back across goal, Aaron Connolly chested down, and though he missed his shot, Adam Webster was on hand to whack home.
Adam Webster of Brighton and Hove Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium on December 5, 2019 in London, United KingdomGetty Images
Arsenal improved after a round of half-time boos, the introduction of Nicolas Pepe giving some momentum, and on 50 minutes Alexandre Lacazette flicked Mesut Ozil's corner past Mat Ryan. But when a second goal did not arrive immediately, they became discouraged and reverted to their old habits of lackadaisical running, half-arsed pressing and dullwitted passing. This allowed Brighton back into the game, and it was no great surprise when, after 80 minutes, they scored what proved to be the winner, the superb Neal Maupay guiding Aaron Mooy's cross into the far corner by way of delicate header.
In the time that remained, Arsenal tried to try, but could find neither gumption nor quality, and the boos that greeted the final whistle were well earned. They are a mess, and nothing we have seen so far suggests Freddie Ljungberg is the man to sort it.
Why not go to the game? Responsibility for Arsenal's predicament lies with players and staff, but it is hard to comprehend why supporters, who spend a lot of money going to games, wanted rid of the previous manager, now and have a club hero in his stead, aren't motivated to get behind the team. The ground needs a lift, and the fans, who want to win and be entertained, have to play a part in that. What have they got to lose?
Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljungberg during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Brighton & Hove Albion Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Neal Maupay (Brighton) An excellent performance full of clever running and prompting, capped with a lovely winning goal. Also did well to refrain from violence, given the frustration that waiting for a pass from Aaron Connolly must entail.
Brighton: Ryan 6, Alzate 6, Webster 7, Dunk 7, Burn 6, Propper 6, Stephens 6, Gorss 6, Maupay 8, Mooy 7, Connolly 6. Subs: Duffy 6, Trossard 7, Montoya 6.
9’ - Ozil curls in towards Lacazette and Gross shoves him hard in the back. That's blatant enough to be a penalty in mine, but the ball flicks off someone else and ends up behind for another corner, which also comes to nothing. I don't see the point of the laws and of VAR if they're not doing something in this situation.
36’ - GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Brighton (Webster) AND THAT WAS COMING! Gross' corner finds the gigantic Burn at the far post who heads back across to where Connolly lurks. He chests down well then misses his swing at goal, but Webster is there to power-poke past Leno. Arsenal are absolutely useless!
41’ - WHAT A MISS! Terriera pings one out to Aubameyang, who dances a yard from Burn and stands up a lush cross for Willock! He's up nicely too, heads down well enough ... but straight at Ryan, who saves with his fee!
50’ - GOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Brighton (Lacazette) Good corner from Ozil, swept to the near post where Lacazette flicks, and at the back post Kolasinac tries to force it home but he misses the ball, takes the keeper, and it goes in anyway. Looking again, it looks like Kolasinac was offside when the header came, and if he wasn't there, Ryan could have saved easily, but VAR remains silent.
Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium on December 05, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.Getty Images
80’ - GOAL! Arsenal 1-2 Brighton (Maupay) Lovely goal! What an impact! Trossard finds Mooy down the left, who could cross but takes him time, eventually clipping a ball that's sort of behind Maupay. But he adjusts brilliantly to flick-guide a header which sails into the far corner! He's played really well tonight, darting and prompting, and that goal has been well earned.
87’ - Nice from Tierney, coming inside and sweeping a cross onto Martinellis' head; the redirection is cute, but not quite powerful enough, Ryan scurrying across to scoop around the far post. ˆ
Arsenal are have now gone nine games without a win, their longest such streak since a run of 10 in March 1977.
This was Brighton's first ever Premier League away win against 'big six' opposition, previously drawing once and losing 16 times.