Social distancing was always going to be hard to maintain, in football, when emotion gripped players and a historic and potentially sea-son-saving victory for Brighton & Hove Albion caused their opposition to abandon guidelines and yield to fury. At the final whistle, moments after Neil Maupay’s decisive goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, red mist cloaked the red-shirted players who surrounded the Brighton match-winner won by 2-1. They thought that he should not have been on the pitch.
Team Brighton won the match 2-1
It was Maupaywho, in the first half, had been involved in a challenge with BerndLeno that caused Arsenal’s goalkeeper apparently serious injury. SeadKolasinac the last man you want angry with you pushed closest to Maxpay, blocking his path and remonstrating with him. Meanwhile, Matteo Guendouzi had to be separated from Brighton’s fullback Ezequiel Schelotto. Forget starting a fight in an empty room — this was a case of starting one in an empty stadium. Misguided as Arsenal’s behavior was, you could get their angst, for Leo’s injury looked horrible andMaupay had appeared to play a know-ing part in the incident. Given how football works, it was almost inevitable that if any player would go on to haunt them, Maupay would.
Brighton player Maupay ‘s spoiled one-star player goalkeeper Leon’s
Having said all that, Maupay’soffence on Leno for which he was not even booked is very seldom one penalized in England. Not that he did anything to calm matters with his post-match comments. “I never meant to injury him [Leno] so I’m really sorry for him and wish him a speedy recovery, but Arsenal players need to learn humility. They got what they deserved,” Maupay said. Arsenal’s harshest critics might agree with him in one sense. This was yet another game where the Gunners’shot themselves. Ahead through a gorgeous Nicolas Pépé strike with 15 minutes remaining they were in a good position to close out three points against a Brighton side who had not won or scored more than a single goal in a game at home in 2020.
Then an old weakness — set-piece defending — contributed to collapse, with Lewis Dunk forcing home an equalizer from close range after delivery from a short corner. Arsenal had further chances but Brighton was emboldened and suddenly found more penetration in their attacks and on one last counterattackMaupay broke free to lift a lovely Shotover Arsenal’s substitute keeper, Emiliano Martinez. Brighton’s relegation worries have eased significantly — but after just two games of Restart, Arsenal’s league campaign looks over. Any kind of European spot, never minds champions League one, is surely beyond them now.
How Star goalkeeper injured
Mikel Arteta — they omitted MesutÖzil again has rethought and rebuilding to do but he does have young talents to build around. Bukayo Saka excellent here is one as is Pépéwho cut in from the left to bend a superb shot over Mat Ryan for 1-0, implosion. Leno’s cry of pain, resounding around a near-empty stadium, was a sobering motif. The German had come out, in the 38th minute, to collect a ball with Maupay following in. As Leno leaped, clearly about to make his catch, Maupay declined to move out of his way, instead of turning his body into the goalkeeper, elbow out, allowing a glancing impact to occur.
This was sufficient to ensure Lenolacked control over his landing and his right leg overextended outwards as he planted his foot on the turf. The impact was so gruesome that television screening a Premier League3pm Saturday kick-off live for the first time — declined to show replays. After lengthy treatment and being helped on a stretcher by medical staff in PPE, Leno glared furiously at Maupay jabbing his finger at the Frenchman. Maupay’s action had appeared one of those prosruses when a player takes an opportunity presented to make contact with an opponent, knowing it to be in circumstances that are rarely penalized. That is not to say what Maupay did was right, just that it was common.
Another injury was the last thingArsenal needed. Özil was on the bench, having been declared unfit by Arteta – in perhaps more than oneway. He instead recalled Pépé and Alexandre Lacazette and used Bukayo Saka as a left-sided attacking No 8. The best of Saka’s moments was a lovely shot with his supposed weaker right foot against the bar and he should have had an assist but Lacazette failed to angle his fine cross beyond Ryan. THE BRIGHTON MATCH WON BY 2-1 and made an important contribution. He thwarted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang particularly, and Arsenal’s substitute, Martinez, also did well. But how you felt for poor Leno, as you watched him limp out of the stadium on crutches, a heavy black strapping around his right knee.