Brighton ended Arsenal’s UCL dreams once and they can do it again

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Arsenal host Brighton and Hove Albion this Saturday in a game the Gunners must win if they are to keep their top-four Premier League hopes alive.

Following Monday’s crushing 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, Mikel Arteta’s side need an answer if they are to keep up with Tottenham, who are beginning to find their rhythm under Antonio Conte.

While a home game against Brighton might seem like an easy win for Arsenal, at least on paper, the North Londoners’ UEFA Champions League dreams have already been dashed by the Seagulls of late.

Arsenal met Brighton in the penultimate game of the 2018/19 season and the Gunners managed to take another chance to finish in the top four despite good chances.

The starting lineups

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Arsenal are certainly a long way from Unai Emery’s side that made it to the UEFA Europa League final and the side that face Brighton on the day is quite the setback for the Gooners.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Nacho Monreal started in defense while Henrikh Mkhitaryan started in the no. 10 with Mesut Özil in central midfield and Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front in an interesting 4-3-1-2 formation.

For Brighton, Chris Hughton’s side had future Arsenal player Mat Ryan to start between the posts, while club legend Bruno received the nod at right-back in the Spaniard’s penultimate game of his footballing career, with Glenn Murray also leading the line on the south coast side.

Brighton shock Arsenal at Emirates

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In a day billed as the farewell to Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, all signs pointed to the Gunners walking away with three points. And Aubameyang gave the hosts a perfect start, firing home a penalty in the ninth minute to put Emery’s side ahead as the Gabonese star scored what was then his 20th Premier League goal.

With Arsenal continuing to press and Aubameyang having a golden chance denied by Ryan later in the first half, the game seemed to be going in only one direction, but fate has a funny way of flaunting the status quo in football and it does exactly that did it in the second half.

After sneaking back into the game, Granit Xhaka dragged Solly March into the box and allowed penalty king Murray to level Brighton again.

With Arsenal back on par and the visitors closing shop, there was only ever one result from here as the referee decided the time a 1:1 draw in the Emirates, leading to a booing at the stadium.

The consequences for the Gunners

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To say the aftermath of this game was seismic would be an understatement. After Chelsea beat Watford 3-0 on the same day, Arsenal’s draw with Brighton dashed their dreams of a top four.

To make matters worse, given that Tottenham lost to AFC Bournemouth that same weekend and then drew with Everton the following week, a win over Brighton would have put Arsenal in fourth place at the end of the season if they were to go their 3-1 -Repeated win against Burnley at Turf Moor.

With Arsenal losing the Europa League final to Chelsea later this month, the draw with Brighton could be seen as the main reason why the Gunners lost in Champions League football. And this weekend, Arteta hopes not to repeat history.

In other news, Arsenal only said how Edu can sign his and Arteta’s ‘irresistible’ top target

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/04/08/brighton-have-ended-arsenals-ucl-dreams-once-and-they-can-do-it-again/ Brighton ended Arsenal’s UCL dreams once and they can do it again

Brian Ashcraft

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