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Arsenal 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion

De Zerbi’s brilliant Brighton beat Arsenal with an impressive team performance. Read the report and test your English for football reading comprehension skills.

Arsenal hosted Brighton at the Emirates in Sunday’s 4.30pm kick-off in the Premier League.

The home side went into the game knowing Man City had already beaten Everton at Goodison Park earlier in the day. Arsenal were now four points behind City in the title race, anything other than a win against Brighton would surely end their title hopes.

Brighton, on the other hand, were looking to bounce back from last Monday’s disastrous home performance against Everton. The Seagulls knew that a win would propel them above both Aston Villa and Tottenham in the table and to within four points of Liverpool in fifth place with a game in hand.

The opening twenty minutes were particularly physical with some heavy challenges going in from both teams. Gabriel Martinelli was perhaps fortunate not to receive a booking for crashing into Kaoru Mitoma, and not long after that Moisés Caicedo was also lucky to go unpunished after he caught Martinelli on the ankle with a poorly-timed tackle.

Brighton dominated possession in the early stages and the first chance of the game fell to Julio Enciso who ran onto an excellent long pass from Pascal Groß. The Paraguayan’s shot was heading towards the top-left corner but Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal reacted quickly to tip the ball over the bar.

Martinelli had to go off after failing to run off the ankle injury he’d sustained earlier. Arsenal’s January-window signing from Brighton, Leandro Trossard, came on in place of the Brazilian.

Arsenal’s first big chance of the first half fell to Trossard in the thirtieth minute. His powerful shot from just inside the box flew inches over the bar.

However, Brighton were always a threat at the other end. Mitoma beat Ben White, got to the by-line and pulled the ball back to Enciso who was unmarked, eight yards out from goal. The nineteen year-old sent his left-footed effort well over the crossbar, he probably should have done better.

Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard both came close with shots that went wide of the Brighton goal in the final minutes of the first half, but the teams went in at half-time with the game level at 0-0.

Just five minutes into the second half a long ball down the left found Mitoma who once again twisted Ben White inside out before giving it to Pervis Estupiñán on the overlap. The left-back’s cross was headed away but his second attempt found Enciso, who was unmarked in the six-yard box and had a simple header to give Brighton the lead.

Both teams made changes on the hour mark. De Zerbi made an attacking substitution by bringing on former Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck for midfielder Billy Gilmour.

Mikel Arteta added fresh legs in midfield, taking off Granit Xhaka and Jorginho for Reiss Nelson and Thomas Partey. Two minutes later Nelson almost had Arsenal back on level terms when he cut in from the left and hit a low, hard shot inches wide of Jason Steele’s left post.

Mitoma continued to be a threat for Brighton every time he received the ball on the left wing. The Seagulls tried to kill off Arsenal by controlling possession in the midfield third and pressing Arsenal aggressively whenever the home side had the ball.

That tactic paid off in the eighty-sixth minute when Trossard was pressured into an error by Groß and the ball fell to Undav, who lifted the bouncing ball over Ramsdale and into the back of the net. De Zerbi’s celebrations on the touchline showed how important the goal was for his team.

Five minutes into added time, Albion put the cherry on top of a fine team performance. Alexis Mac Allister hit a speculative effort from distance but Ramsdale could only parry it back into the path of the tireless Estupiñán. The Ecuadorian left-back rammed the ball home for Brighton’s third.

Defeat for Arsenal all but ends their title hopes. If they lose against Nottingham Forest next Saturday, Manchester City will be crowned champions without having to play another minute. A City win on Sunday against Chelsea will give Pep Guardiola’s team the title, whatever Arsenal do on Saturday.

For Brighton & Hove Albion it’s a massive three points and an important step closer to securing European qualification. The Seagulls’ relentless schedule continues later this week with an away trip on Thursday evening to face a fellow member of the Premier League top six, Newcastle United.

READING EXERCISE
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