In a match filled with controversy and poor officiating, Arsenal succumbed to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium in a game which saw Gabriel Martinelli end up in a protective boot.
- Arsenal lost Gabriel Martinelli to a poor tackle by Moises Caicedo, leaving the forward in a protective boot after the game.
- Referee Andy Madley’s performance, along with the assistance of equally incompetent officials, marred the match.
- VAR decisions, including ignoring a foul on Jakub Kiwior, added to Arsenal’s frustration as their title hopes died with a whimper.
In a match where the referee, Andy Madley, lost control in the opening minutes, Arsenal lost Gabriel Martinelli to a very poor Moises Caicedo tackle and the forward was seen after the game in a protective boot.
As Arsene Wenger once remarked, “We were poor and the referee was at our level”.
Andy Madley, assisted by equally incompetent officials, one of whom (Constantine Hatzidakis, he of shoving Andy Robertson fame) flagged Leandro Trossard offside from a throw-in.
On VAR, Peter Bankes continued the trend, allowing a foul on Jakub Kiwior immediately before Brighton opened the scoring to be ignored so the goal could stand.
Peter Bankes is on VAR today. Banks ruled out a Martinelli goal v Fulham that probably wasn't offside and was also referee when Ivan Toney scored the goal Lee Mason forgot to draw lines for.
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) May 14, 2023
In truth, that goal killed what little hope Arsenal seemed to have in this game as they played like a side who had watched Manchester City breeze past an Everton team that had thumped Brighton just last week.
There will be much to analyse from this game but, with City able to clinch their 100+ charges Premier League title next week, all thoughts will turn to Gabriel Martinelli and if his season is over.
Tackled from behind by Caicedo, Martinelli’s ankle joint opened up and although he tried to play on, he limped from the pitch after just 20 minutes.
After the game, Mikel Arteta told reporters, “We don’t know [how bad it is]. He’s in a bind at the moment. He couldn’t keep playing.”
To be fair, their s**thousery aside, Brighton and Hove Albion produced a scintillating performance as they dismantled Arsenal with a convincing 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.
The match started in a scrappy and disjointed fashion, with Brighton dominating possession but failing to find the breakthrough in the first half. Arsenal showed signs of life in the closing stages of the half, testing Brighton’s defence, but neither side managed to break the deadlock, and the score remained 0-0 at halftime as Arsenal’s passing accuracy stood at an awful 68%.
The second half saw Brighton’s persistence pay off, as they opened the scoring in the 51st minute. Pervis Estupinan delivered a pinpoint cross from the left, finding the head of Julio Enciso, who nodded the ball into the net from close range to give Brighton a deserved lead.
In truth, though, the goal should have been disallowed.
The worst part is officials and pundits seeing multiple replays of this, shrugging their shoulders, and concluding it was accidental. Two things: 1) these are elite athletes who rarely make these actions accidentally, and 2) it doesn’t matter if it was accidental. It’s a foul. pic.twitter.com/BPPDIIpUMO
— (Sham) (@Shamsdale) May 14, 2023
Arsenal struggled to find a response, and Brighton continued to dominate. In the 86th minute, Brighton doubled their advantage through Deniz Undav and killed Arsenal’s lingering title hopes.
Pascal Gross redirected the ball into Undav’s path on the edge of Arsenal’s area, and the substitute made no mistake, lofting the ball over the stranded Arsenal goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
Brighton put the final nail in the coffin deep into the eight minutes of injury time they had created when they added a third goal.
Ramsdale could only parry Undav’s shot into the path of Estupinan, who was persistent in his forward runs throughout the game. Estupinan made no mistake from 10 yards out, firing the ball home to complete the comprehensive victory for the Seagulls.
Arsenal will have to regroup from this heavy setback as they prepare to take on Nottingham Forest in six days’ time to at least make City have to win their game to lift their fifth Premier League title in six years.
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Mikel Arteta apologises to Arsenal fans after Brighton defeat
“We knew the challenge we had today. It was very different to the one we had at Newcastle.
“I was stood here & very proud of what we did last week but today we have to apologise to our people.
“We have to move on very quickly and not keep that feeling for a long time.
“It is difficult to see that picture [season to be proud of] today.
“When the team shows the face in the second half it shows we have things to adjust.
“Any time in this league can punish you and that would happen in the Champions League too.”
Martin Odegaard on Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton
Speaking to the media after the game, Martin Odegaard said, “They attacked us on our right hand side too easy at times.
“I don’t have any good answers to tell you what happened, but [it was] a big disappointment.
“I don’t think mentality was an issue. We were good going into the game but in the game was a different story and we have to accept it and learn from it.”
Danny Welbeck on Brighton’s win over Arsenal
“It is a tough one [for Arsenal to take].
“I have a great affiliation with the club, I loved my time here and everyone’s always given me a good reception when I’ve come back.
“But it’s football and you have to remain professional and we have today.”