Football Features

Brighton show why they’re Arsenal’s most annoying opponents thanks to “unbelievable” Enock Mwepu

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:00, 9 April 2022

Arsenal were unable to get back on the Premier League winning trail as they suffered a 1-2 home loss against Brighton & Hove Albion this afternoon.

The Gunners are in the midst of a close battle to reach next season’s Champions League group phase. Heading into this latest round they had fallen to a humbling 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace which robbed them an opportunity of moving further away from their top-four rivals.

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Head coach Mikel Arteta subsequently apologised for his men’s performance and vowed to learn and move on. A home meeting against middling Brighton, who had gone seven games without a win before this weekend, presented a straightforward chance to put that Selhurst Park capitulation behind them. It turned out to be anything but with Graham Potter’s side, who earlier this season had played out a goalless draw against the North Londoners, registering another win over their more illustrious opposition.

Enock Mwepu teed up Leandro Trossard for the opponent before he doubled Brighton’s lead. Incredibly this was the first time since their opening three of the season Arsenal had conceded the first goal in consecutive Premier League games. Gabriel Martinelli had a goal disallowed before the break and despite Martin Odegaard’s late effort, a mere consolation, Arsenal were left to rue three more points dropped. Especially at home as they’ve now lost consecutive games at the Emirates Stadium, having lost just two of their previous 16 here, a run which included 12 wins and two draws.

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As painful the defeat may be, there was somewhat of an air of inevitability, with this result meaning Arsenal have won just three of their 10 Premier League games against Brighton (30%), only having a lower win rate against Liverpool and Manchester United (both 27%) in England’s top division since 1992/93. It has also understandably hurt their top-four chances. Arsenal now have a 42.89% probability rating of finishing in the top four, according to Opta’s season predictions model. This puts them behind North London rivals Tottenham (54.04%) at the time of writing.

Mwepu meanwhile is the talk of the town. To be fair, it’s been that way for a while, Mwepu has now been involved in five goals in his last five Premier League games (one goal and four assists), with today being the first time he’s both scored and assisted in the same game. His first half performance at the Emirates certainly caught the eye.

Former Tottenham defender Michael Dawson told BBC Sport: “[Mwepu] has been brilliant for the whole match and easily the best player on the pitch. His work rate and composure on the ball has been unbelievable. Trossard and Caicedo linked well and his cross came across and Mwepu’s finish was excellent. The technique and skill to side-foot beyond Ramsdale on the half volley was something else.”