PREMIER LEAGUE

Enock Mwepu masterclass takes down Arsenal, snaps Brighton winless run

The Chipolopolo dynamo was at his irresistible best on Saturday, helping the Seagulls to their first victory in four attempts over the Gunners

Brighton midfielder Enock Mwepu (2R) celebrates his winning goal against Arsenal (IMAGO/Aaron Chown/PA Images)

Brighton snapped a seven-game winless streak to turn over Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Seagulls were full value for the three points, with Zambia midfielder Enock Mwepu at the heart of the visitors' offensive strategy. The 24-year-old, making only his eighth Premier League start of the season, scored one and assisted the other to lift Brighton up to 11th in the league standings.

With influential midfielder Thomas Partey unavailable due to an injury he picked up in the Gunners' 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace five days earlier, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made two changes to the starting lineup. Gabriel Martinelli was restored to the team, while Albert Sambi Lokonga came into the midfield.

It was Brighton, however, who started the more purposefully. Graham Potter's side would get the lead their superiority deserved in the 28th minute, as Mwepu's run down the right flank made the most of Lewis Dunk's clearance. The midfielder beat Arsenal's offside line, composed himself, before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot. Leandro Trossard arrived unmarked, and made no mistake with a side-foot finish.

The Gunners thought they had pulled level on the stroke of half-time when Martinelli rose highest to head home at the far post off a corner, but a VAR review ruled he was offside and kept Brighton in the lead going into the break.

The visitors then doubled their lead on 66 minutes, as Mwepu turned goalscorer, benefitting from a deflected cross to volley into the bottom corner of Aaron Ramsdale's net.

Arsenal staged a spirited fight-back, throwing on Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe in service of a comeback. It was, however, midfielder Martin Odegaard who pulled one back, his shot from a long way out taking a deflection and looping over Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez in the 89th minute. It proved too little, too late though, as Brighton held on for the points.

The result put a dent on Arsenal's top four aspirations: with eight games to go, the Gunners are in fifth, level on points with rivals Tottenham but with a worse goal difference.

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