Leno stretchered off as Arsenal suffer ‘unacceptable’ defeat against Brighton
Maupay scores last-gasp winner as Seagulls come from behind to win 2-1 at the Amex Stadium after Gunners lose goalkeeper to horror injury
20 June, 2020 — By Steve Barnett
Bernd Leno’s season looks over after he suffered a horrific knee injury against Brighton
BRIGHTON 2 (Dunk 75, Maupay 90+5)
ARSENAL 1 (Pepe 68)
MIKEL Arteta was the first to admit that Arsenal were not good enough after seeing his team “throw away” the points against Brighton this afternoon (Saturday).
Neal Maupay scored the winner five minutes into stoppage time as the Seagulls came from behind to beat the Gunners for the second time this season.
The former Brentford striker was already the center of attention at the Amex Stadium after a collision with Bernd Leno resulted in the Arsenal goalkeeper being stretched off with what is feared to be a season-ending knee injury.
Leno landed awkwardly after being nudged by Maupay as he raced out to collect an errant pass at the end of the first half. As he was being carried off Leno pointed accusingly at the Brighton man, but Gunners boss Arteta played down the challenge after the game.
He said: “The injury doesn’t look good but we don’t know anything yet. I always believe players don’t have intention to injure people, and I am sure Maupay did not intend to do that.”
Arsenal’s French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi had to be pulled away from Maupay by his team-mates after the final whistle.
Maupay said that he had apologised to Arteta at half time. But any remorse didn’t detract from the delight the Frenchman took in hitting the winner against the north Londoners.
“I just went for the ball, I never meant the injury,” explained Maupay. “I apologised, and I will apologise again. Arteta knows I did not mean to hurt Leno. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Reflecting on the result, the Brighton forward added: “Arsenal got what they deserved. Some of their players need to learn humility – especially one of them. He was talking all game, he was saying bad things. I just said that this is what happens when you talk too much on the pitch.”
Based on the number of chances they created, this was a game that Arsenal should never have lost.
In the opening 15 minutes Bukayo Saka smacked the bar from 20-yards. And then Alexandre Lacazette shuffled some space in the box and fired at goal, only to be left agasp by Lewis Dunk’s flying block.
Lacazette went even closer on the half hour mark when he found himself unmarked eight-yards from goal, but the French forward made life too easy for Mat Ryan as his free header left the Brighton keeper with a simple save.
In the second half Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did his best to drive Arsenal forward and break the deadlock, and did even manage to find the back of the net – only to be denied by the offside flag.
The visitors finally found a way through just after the hour mark courtesy of a stunning curling effort by Nicolas Pepe, who cut in from the right and picked out the top corner. On another day it would have been all everyone was talking about after the match.
Brighton, who won 2-1 when these two teams met at the Emirates Stadium in December, continued to push forward, and pulled the scores level in the 75th minute when Dunk scrambled the ball over the line from close range to set up a barnstorming finish.
Then, Maupay, who else, piled the misery on Arsenal by scoring a last-gasp winner to give Graham Potter’s relegation-threatened side three massive points in their bid to avoid the drop.
A dejected Arteta said: “I am very frustrated. The way we lost the game is unacceptable. I know we have a young squad but still, we threw the game away.
“We did more than enough to win comfortably but we leave with zero points again. When you give cheap goals away like we did you will suffer.”
BRIGHTON: Ryan, Schelotto (Montoya, 71), Dunk, Webster, Burn, Mooy (March, 45), Bissouma (Mac Allister, 90+4), Propper, Gross (Connolly, 71), Maupay, Trossard (Stephens, 87).
Substitutes not used: Button, Lamptey, Duffy, Murray.
ARSENAL: Leno (Martinez, 40), Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac, Ceballos (Willock, 87), Guendouzi, Saka (Tierney, 87), Pepe (Nelson, 87), Lacazette (Nketiah, 78), Aubameyang.
Substitutes not used: Maitland-Niles, Medley, Ozil, Martinelli.