Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League this weekend, even if just for a few hours.
The Gunners hosted Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday before leaders Liverpool face an embattled Manchester United at Anfield, winning 2-0 behind goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz.
While there are plenty of doom-laden predictions kicking around when it comes to United’s prospects on Merseyside, a closely contested encounter in north London came as no surprise.
Roberto De Zerbi’s Albion nearly survived an onslaught from Mikel Arteta’s side, staying true to their customary manner with past success in the fixture to fall back on.
The Sporting News looks at a Premier League fixture that has proved to be a nuisance to one of English football’s traditional heavyweights.
MORE: How Aston Villa downed Arsenal to underline shock Premier League title credentials
Arsenal vs Brighton head-to-head record, all-time results
The overall history of the fixture falls in Arsenal’s favour, with the first of their 16 wins coming in a 1935 FA Cup tie.
That remained the only meeting between the clubs until Brighton were promoted to Division One for the 1979/80 campaign. By mid-November in that season, they’d faced each other four more times. Arsenal won the top-flight games 4-0 away and 3-0 at home, repeating the former scoreline in a League Cup replay.
Brighton beat the Gunners at the 10th time of asking at the Goldstone Ground, 2-1 in April 1982, and backed that up with another win at the start of the following season.
However, Albion were relegated at the end of that season and largely disappeared from Arsenal’s orbit over the next three decades.
Arsenal won all three FA Cup meetings between the clubs until Brighton earned promotion to the Premier League in 2017. At that point, a one-sided rivalry took an unexpected turn.
Arsenal vs Brighton all-time results (all competitions)
Arsenal vs Brighton recent results
A 2-0 win at Emirates Stadium in October 2017 was the sort of routine victory Arsenal might expect to enjoy over newly promoted sides, but they haven’t had many of those since against Brighton.
Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray got the goals in a 2-1 win at the Amex Stadium later that season, the first of five Premier League wins for Albion over Arsenal. That’s set alongside four defeats and three draws.
Although this could change at the weekend, it means Brighton are the only Premier League side other than Manchester United and Liverpool to have more wins than defeats against the Gunners.
Including a 3-1 win in last season’s Carabao Cup, Brighton have won on each of their past three visits to the Emirates.
A 3-0 win for De Zerbi’s side in May proved to be the penultimate nail in Arsenal’s title bid, although they are unbeaten in 12 home games since. The Gunners avenged that defeat with victory at home in the most recent tilt, a dominant 2-0 win that could have been heavier had it not been for some wastefulness in front of goal.
MORE: Will the Premier League get a fifth Champions League spot?
Last 10 matches between Arsenal and Brighton
|Dec. 17, 2023
|Arsenal 2-0 Brighton
|May 14, 2023
|Arsenal 0-3 Brighton
|Dec. 31, 2022
|Brighton 2-4 Arsenal
|Sep. 11, 2022
|Arsenal 1-3 Brighton
|Apr. 4, 2022
|Arsenal 1-2 Brighton
|Oct. 2, 2021
|Brighton 0-0 Arsenal
|May 23, 2021
|Arsenal 2-0 Brighton
|Dec. 29, 2020
|Brighton 0-1 Arsenal
|Jun. 20, 2020
|Brighton 2-1 Arsenal
|Dec. 5, 2019
|Arsenal 1-2 Brighton
Do Arsenal and Brighton have a rivalry?
It would be a stretch to call this a rivalry. If Brighton, whose sworn enemies are Crystal Palace, have developed animosity towards any of the Premier League’s traditional superpowers, it’s with Chelsea on account of Graham Potter’s move to Stamford Bridge and some high-profile transfers.
However, one game stands out as being particularly tempestuous and having an unforeseeable impact upon modern football history.
Arsenal were one of the first teams to play under “Project Restart” during the coronavirus pandemic, losing 3-0 to Manchester City. During the first full weekend of fixtures after the resumption, they travelled to Brighton.
Nicolas Pepe gave the Gunners the lead before Lewis Dunk equalised and Neal Maupay scored an injury-time winner.
The Arsenal players were incensed, with Mateo Guendouzi’s part in the social distance flouncing scenes at fulltime rubber-stamping his final appearance for the club.
Far from simply being bad losers, the main source of Arsenal’s fury was Maupay’s challenge during the first half that left goalkeeper Bernd Leno with a serious knee injury. In this context, his match-winning celebrations might have been a touch more reserved.