Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes suffered what will surely be a fatal blow on Sunday, with Brighton’s sensational 3-0 victory at the Emirates meaning Manchester City can be crowned champions next week.
City – who secured a comfortable win at Everton earlier in the day – will clinch a fifth title in six seasons if Arsenal lose to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Any other result in that fixture will give City the chance to seal the trophy in front of their own fans against Chelsea next Sunday.
After City’s victory at Goodison Park it was effectively all or nothing for the Gunners against Brighton but they were unable to rise to the occasion against a Brighton side that responded emphatically to their humiliation at the hands of Everton earlier this week.
In a feisty encounter that simmered throughout, Julio Enciso struck the first blow when he nodded in Pervis Estupinan’s cross from just yards out after Jakub Kiwior went down when Evan Ferguson trod on his boot, which came off.
Kiwior’s decision to go down split the Sky Sports pundits. “A big strong centre-half, really?” said an unimpressed Roy Keane, while Micah Richards insisted it was a foul by Ferguson.
The Seagulls then toyed with their hosts, who saw Mikel Arteta booked for dissent as they grew increasingly frustrated, and delivered the knockout punch when Deniz Undav punished former Brighton forward Leandro Trossard’s loose pass by lobbing Aaron Ramsdale.
Estupinan then added a third when he followed up Ramsdale’s weak save by prodding home the rebound and sparking wild celebrations on the south coast – and in Manchester.