Brighton striker Neal Maupay scored a stoppage winner that saw his side secure a crucial 2-1 comeback win over Arsenal at the Amex today.
Arsenal went into the game looking to get back on track after a 3-0 defeat to Man City last Wednesday, and the Gunners started much the brighter of the two sides.
Impressive youngster Bukayo Saka crashing a fine effort off the crossbar from the edge of the area, before Alexandre Lacazette’s close range header forced Seagulls ‘keeper Matt Ryan into a decent stop.
Although the sides went in at the break level, there had still been a moment of heartbreak for Arsenal, with in form goalkeeper Bernd Leno stretchered off with what looked like a knee serious injury.
Summer signing Nicolas Pepe put Mikel Arteta’s side ahead with a moment of real quality on 68 minutes, the Ivory Coast international cutting in from the right and curling a beautiful strike into the top corner.
Brighton struck back on 75 minutes though when captain Lewis Dunk bundled home from close range after a well worked corner.
It seemed both sides would have to settle for a point as the game entered its dying stages. However, Seagulls striker Neal Maupay – who had been involved in Leno’s injury – popped up with a 95th minute winner, the Frenchman finishing well after a neat combination with fellow attacker Aaron Connolly.
Speaking afterwards Brighton’s 23-year-old top scorer Maupay was delighted his side were able to seal their first win of 2020.
“It is a great ball in. I saw the keeper coming for me and I just shot with my left, a goal and I am so happy because it our first win this new year. The team has worked really hard the last few months,” Maupay told BT Sport.
“We have been training really, really hard. The team kept working. The whole club – managers and staff – did a very good job to have us in a good place.
“It was a really tough game but happy to get the win.”
Several Arsenal players and Leno himself seemed to blame Maupay for the ‘keepers injury despite replays showing it to be an innocuous piece of contact between the pair, and the former Brentford striker wished the stricken German well, although he did suggest there will be little love lost between him and some members of the north London side.
“At half time I went to the manager Mikel Arteta to apologise. I never meant to injure the keeper. I jumped for the ball. I apologise to the team and to him as well. I have been through a bad injury, it is hard,” Maupay replied when asked about the incident.
“Arsenal players maybe need to learn humility sometimes. They were talking a lot. They got what they deserved.
“I just went to get the ball really. When he landed he twisted his knee. It is football, there is contact. I never meant to hurt him. I apologise again and wish him a speedy recovery.”
Today’s result sees Brighton move up to 15th in the Premier League table, three points above the drop zone, while Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in their spiritual home of fourth look all but over, the Gunners now seven points behind fourth placed Chelsea in ninth.
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