Neal Maupay's sublime header seals Brighton's first ever away victory at Arsenal

The trouble with playing Brighton at home is that you are expected to beat them and beat them well - especially if you Arsenal.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 10:42 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 7:49 am
Neal Maupay (left) and Aaron Mooy celebrate their winning goal at the Emirates Stadium

The crowd wanted a performance and the three points in Freddie Ljungberg's first home match as manager. But for those who have seen Brighton play this season, it is not always that easy. Ljungberg and Arsenal are now fully aware.

The Gunners are clearly not what they once were. With Mesult Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette they have forwards to trouble any team in the Premier League. But aside from their expensive attacking trio, they were bang average against Brighton.

Ljungberg guided his team to an entertaining 2-2 draw at lowly Norwich in his first match in charge and against Albion at the Emirates he was supposed to deliver his first three points.

The opening 10 or 15 minutes saw Albion suck the enthusiasm from the crowd. Instead of singing Ljungberg's name they were wondering why they couldn't get the ball from Graham Potter's team.

The visitors posed little goal threat in the early stages but they certainly irritated the home side and fans.

Brighton played very well despite losing 2-1 at Liverpool and they took this into the Emirates. Steven Alzate came in for Martin Montoya at right back while Neal Maupay was recalled to lead the line alongside Aaron Connolly. The breather at Anfield clearly benefited Maupay.

Connolly was also excellent as David Luiz, Papastathopoulos and Hetor Bellerín all struggled cope with his movements and all were yellow carded for fouls against him.

Neal Maupay, Connolly and Davy Propper all tested Leno and it was only fair that Albion opened the scoring on 36 minutes. Dan Burn won the first header from Pascal Gross' corner, Connolly tried to shoot but Adam Webster reacted well and slotted home his second of the season.

For all Brighton's good work, Arsenal should have levelled moments later. Aubameyang tricked his way beyond Burn but Joe Willock headed his cross at Mat Ryan, who saved with his feet.

Arsenal introduced £72m summer signing Nicolas Pepe after the interval and they were much better. They levelled when Ozil's corner was flicked on by Lacazette and it looped up high, Ryan and Dunk both scrambled to clear but the ball went in off the post.

Albion were wobbling and Luiz had a goal correctly chalked-off for offside after a VAR check.

Arsenal's blistering start to the second half faded and slowly Albion began to exert some control once more.

The crucial moment arrived as Mooy found space on the left. His clever cross picked-out Maupay who darted ahead of Luiz and his brilliant header across Leno flashed into the far corner. Nicely done from Maupay for his fifth of the season and the Emirates fell silent.

There were 10 minutes still to play and Ljungberg's men had one major chance to save a point but Ryan reacted well to push away a header from Kieran Tierney's cross and it was Brighton who could easily have added a third.

Substitute Leandro Trossard burst from midfield jinked beyond the retreating the Luiz but his left footed shot whistled a couple of feet of the bar.

It was a deserved win for Brighton. Ljungberg puffed out his cheeks on the bench while Potter punched the air. It was a repeat scoreline when Potter guided his previous team Östersunds to famous European victory against Arsenal.

It was Albion's first ever win against the Gunners in north London and they are now 13th and just three points off the top six.

Albion are indeed a tricky outfit, Ljungberg has much work to do.