Seagulls flying high at Arsenal
Written By: Robert Halter
Interim Arsenal manager, Freddie Ljungberg took charge of his first game at home against Brighton & Hove Albion, near the beginning of December. In the ninth minute from a Mesut Ozil corner, a flicked header by Alexandre Lacazette, went past the far post and was turned behind from Steven Alzate. Then through an assist by Lucas Torreira, a low strike by David Luiz was spilled by Mathew Ryan, before the Seagulls shot stopper clashed with Lacazette from the rebound, who was in an offside position. In the eighteenth minute, Dan Burn’s pass was collected by Aaron Connolly, who drove the ball into Bernd Leno. In the twentieth minute, Hector Bellerin got booked for pushing over Connolly, but the free kick from Pascal Gross, was struck into the Arsenal wall. In the twenty fourth minute from a Gross corner, a header by Adam Webster was latched up from Leno. Within two minutes, through a poor header in the area by Torreira, a low drive by Neal Maupay, went past Connolly, at the base of the far left post. The Gunners responded as Torreira’s ball into the box was laid back from Joe Willock to Lacazette, before the ball was struck by Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang, out wide to the left. In the thirty third minute following an infringement by Lacazette on Davy Propper, through a quickly taken free kick by Webster, a low effort by Maupay, was pushed away by Leno at full stretch, towards the bottom right corner. The Seagulls pressed again when Dale Stephens found Propper, who struck the ball straight at Leno. The Brighton persistence paid off on thirty six minutes, when from Gross’s corner, the ball was headed on from Burn, and touched on from Connolly in the floor, before Webster fired a low strike into the bottom left corner. In the fortieth minute from Aubameyang’s cross, a pin point header by Willock produced a close range stop by Ryan, before the ball was put behind for a corner from Alzate. Before half time, Sokratis Papastathopolous got booked for pushing over Connolly. After the break, Nicolas Pepe replaced Willock. In the fiftieth minute, Arsenal got back on level terms, when Ozil’s corner was met by a Lacazette header, which flew over Propper and Sead Kolasinac, as Ryan’s hand could only help the ball into the top left side of the net. In the next Arsenal move, Pepe supplied Bellerin, whose cross was cleared from the danger zone by Webster. It swiftly followed by a telling cross from Kolasinac which was just out the reach of Aubameyang, in the fifty sixth minute. A yellow card was later given to Gross for a handball. In the sixty first minute, Maupay spread the ball over to Alzate on the left and as Aaron Mooy caused havoc, a close range strike by Maupay, was scrambled behind from Leno. In the next two minutes, after Burn brought down Pepe, a free kick by Ozil was volleyed into the net by Luiz, but VAR ruled the goal out for offside. Luiz later got booked for clipping the back legs of Connolly. In the sixty ninth minute, Lacazette’s cross was turned past the right post by Ozil. After Kolasinac was fouled by Alazate, he was replaced with Kieran Tierney before Connolly was taken off for Marin Montoya, and it followed with Lacazette being subbed for Gabriel Martinelli and soon afterwards Gross was taken off for Leandro Trossard. But the Gunners were dealt a hammer blow in the eightieth minute, when from Mooy’s cross, after getting away from Luiz, a glancing header by Maupay, found the far bottom right corner. The Gunners looked for a quick response as Granit Xhaka’s through ball was struck by Pepe against Ryan. In the eighty seventh minute from Tierney’s cross, a bullet header by Martinelli produced a theatrical stop by Ryan, at the foot of his near post. Alzate was then replaced with Shane Duffy. Near the end, Trossard appended Pepe, whose free kick went behind through a slight deflection off Stephens. In stoppage time, Xhaka lost possession to Trossard, who raced clear before blasting the ball over, as Brighton beat Arsenal 2-1.