Six things we learned from Arsenal v Brighton

Glenn Murray scores from the penalty spot. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Glenn Murray scores from the penalty spot. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton & Hove Albion earned their first Premier League point away to a top-six side with a 1-1 draw at Arsenal yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.

A confidence-building performance

There's no getting away from the fact that Albion have struggled in the second half of the season but the point at Arsenal will give the squad huge confidence to take into next year.

It was the Seagulls' first point away to a top-six side and, on another day, they may well have had all three.

Premier League survival was assured on Saturday when Cardiff lost to Crystal Palace and Brighton will kick-off a third successive campaign in the top-flight in August.

There were several positives to take from yesterday's game. Albion were excellent in defence, showed character to fight back from a goal down and looked dangerous going forward which is something that has not been said in recent weeks.

Lewis Dunk afterwards said the performance showed Albion deserve their place in the Premier League again next season.

March impresses against boyhood club

Solly March starred on the left wing against the club he supported growing up.

The 24-year-old was a constant menace to the Gunners defence and gave Stephan Lichtsteiner - starting his first Premier League game since February - a tough afternoon.

March impressed after coming off the bench against Newcastle last week and continued his rich vein of form.

He set up one opportunity for Glenn Murray in the first half and then had a low shot saved before he won the penalty which Murray converted to make it 1-1 when he was pulled back by Granit Xhaka.

March could have even won it late on but his close-range header was pushed away to Bernd Leno and Pascal Gross was unable to score the follow-up.

On the spot

Referee Anthony Taylor was twice put on the spot and awarded penalties to both teams at the Emirates yesterday.

Albion fans felt the decision to award Arsenal an early penalty was soft as replays suggested Alireza Jahanbakhsh got a touch on the ball when he was adjudged to have fouled Nacho Monreal.

BBC 5 Live pundit Chris Sutton and Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp both felt it was a penalty, while Albion boss Chris Hughton disagreed and called it 'a very poor decision'.

At the same end in the second half Solly March was dragged back by Granit Xhaka and Taylor again had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

It was a silly foul by Xhaka and left March with no option but to go to ground. Glenn Murray converted the spot-kick to give Albion what turned out to be a well-deserved point.

Albion avoid 'an absolute mauling' and then 'could have won it'

BBC 5 Live pundit Chris Sutton changed his tune while commentating on the game.

After Arsenal took the lead early on through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty, the former England striker said it could be 'an absolute mauling' for Brighton.

The Seagulls were slow to get going but more than played their part in the game from around the midway point of the first half.

Albion were decent on the counter attack and by the end of the game Sutton was saying Brighton could have had all three points.

He said: "I cannot believe Arsenal have slipped up against Brighton who had absolutely nothing to play for.

"Brighton even deserved to win it at the end there."

Another yellow for diving

Defender Sokratis became the sixth Arsenal player to be booked for diving this season yesterday.

He was yellow-carded in the first half after going down easily under a Dale Stephens challenge.

The Gunners were perhaps fortunate that number did not increase to seven late on when Alexandre Lacazette threw himself to the ground under a Solly March challenge in the penalty area.

There was minimal, if any contact, as Arsenal pushed forward for a late winner.

The Gunners are two bookings clear of fierce rivals Tottenham, who have had four players yellow-carded for diving this season.

The world's eyes await

Liverpool fans will hope Brighton can produce a similar performance when they host Manchester City on Sunday.

If City beat Leicester at the Etihad tonight, then victory over the Seagulls will see them crowned champions for the second successive season.

Liverpool fans will take heart from Albion's showing at the Emirates and it might give some hope that Albion can cause a huge upset against Pep Guardiola's side with the whole world watching.

One thing Brighton have done this season is made sure they stay in games against the top six.

Liverpool beat Albion 1-0 twice, City won 2-0 at home earlier in the season and then beat the Seagulls 1-0 in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

If Brighton play how they did at Arsenal, it might not be the plain-sailing game at the Amex on Sunday which many people are expecting.


Arsenal v Brighton player ratings

Brighton star says survival celebrations caused 'a bit of a ruckus' in team hotel

Match report: Arsenal 1, Brighton 1