Tue. May 17th, 2022

Brighton manager Graham Potter said the Seagulls’ display in Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Arsenal was as good a performance as he can remember.

Graham Potter’s side were more comfortable and confident in possession but failed to turn their first-half dominance into goals, with Dan Burn heading the Seagulls’ best opportunity over the crossbar from point-blank range.

Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay were also guilty of missing the target from promising positions, while Shane Duffy headed against the side-netting from Pascal Gross’s corner.

“We tried everything,” Potter told Sky Sports. “I think [the fans] were really happy and proud of their team because the performance was fantastic.

“In the first half especially we were really, really good and played with real courage, intensity and quality – especially when you consider the quality of the opponent.”

The Gunners’ best first-half opportunity fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who nodded against the outside of the post from Bukayo Saka’s looping cross.

Emile Smith Rowe shot straight at Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez in a rare second-half attack, but an Arsenal winner would have been harsh on the hosts.

The point leaves Brighton in fifth place, level on 14 points with Everton, Manchester United and Liverpool – who face Manchester City on Sunday.

“It’s a foundation,” Potter said. “Fourteen points from seven games is good for us but we have to keep moving.

“This performance gives us a lot of hope and belief going forward.”

Arsenal went into this game on a high after last weekend’s morale-boosting victory over north London rivals Tottenham, but they were second best for long periods as Brighton took the game to their visitors.

The Seagulls registered 21 attempts at Aaron Ramsdale’s goal but only two of those efforts forced the 23-year-old goalkeeper into action.

Burn will be bitterly disappointed not to have broken the deadlock after connecting well with Lewis Dunk’s delivery from an unmarked position deep inside the penalty area.

Trossard dragged a shot wide from the corner of the box early on in the match, before Maupay – who had scored the winner in his previous two starts against the Gunners – blazed over from close range.

Jakub Moder twice fired wide from the edge of the area as Brighton made a lively start to the second period, but there was no way through for Potter’s side.

There were positives for the Albion boss, though. Former Barcelona wing-back Marc Cucurella caused Arsenal all sorts of problems in the first half in particular, while Adam Lallana, Gross and Moder linked up well in midfield.

By contrast, Martin Odegaard – one of Arsenal’s standout performers in recent wins over Burnley and Spurs – was largely anonymous.

Both teams had penalty appeals turned down in the closing stages. Smith Rowe was adjudged to have fallen too easily under Duffy’s challenge, before Gabriel evaded punishment for a tug-back on the Albion defender.

Brighton’s tally of eight clean sheets in Premier League home matches this calendar year is exceeded only by Manchester City and Chelsea, who each have nine.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have scored just five goals in their opening seven league games, their fewest at this stage of a season since 1986-87.

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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