Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffered a deadly blow as Neal Maupay fired Brighton to a last-gasp 2-1 win after Gunners keeper Bernd Leno was stretchered off, whereas Watford snatched a late 1-1 draw towards Leicester on Saturday. Within the first full weekend of English top-flight matches for the reason that coronavirus shutdown in March, Arsenal’s faint probabilities of ending within the prime 4 light additional.
Their trigger wasn’t helped by the controversial harm to Leno, whose screams echoed around the empty Amex Stadium after he slid awkwardly when he got here to gather the ball simply inside his personal penalty space.
The German appeared to twist his knee and was given oxygen throughout a number of minutes of remedy.
Leno appeared annoyed with Brighton ahead Maupay, shouting and pointing a finger at him whereas being stretchered to the tunnel.
Maupay had been the Brighton participant difficult Leno for the ball when he fell.
Already hit by accidents to Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari of their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday, Leno’s departure was one other blow to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
Nicolas Pepe put Arsenal forward within the 68th minute with an outstanding strike, the Ivory Coast winger reducing in from the correct and curling into the far nook from the sting of the world.
However Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been uncovered seven minutes later when Brighton defender Lewis Dunk stabbed residence from close-range after Rob Holding’s tried clearance bounced off him.
Including insult to harm for Arsenal, deep into stoppage-time Aaron Connolly helped the ball on to Maupay and he stored his head for a advantageous end.
Maupay took a post-match swipe on the Gunners, saying: “A few of their gamers have to study what’s humility, particularly one in all them. He was speaking all recreation, he was saying unhealthy issues.
“I do not need to say as a result of I might be in hassle. I simply stated that that is what occurs once you speak an excessive amount of on the pitch.”
Arteta’s team are languishing in ninth place, eight factors adrift of the highest 4, and will not even qualify for the Europa League.
Arteta did not blame Maupay for Leno’s harm, saying: “I feel it was very unlucky. I do not assume he needed to harm him, however it isn’t trying good.
“It’s unacceptable in the way in which we misplaced the sport. The very fact we missed so many probabilities and we didn’t compete for the second purpose.”
Brighton’s win moved them 5 factors away from the relegation zone.
At a abandoned Vicarage Street, Watford’s hopes of avoiding relegation appeared set to be dented by Ben Chilwell’s very good 90th minute strike.
However in a exceptional conclusion, Hornets centre-back Craig Dawson launched himself into an acrobatic effort moments later to say his first purpose for the membership.
Watford climbed to 16th place, one level above the relegation zone.
“It’s a actually unusual day. For the gamers who thrive on ambiance and emotional attachment it is going to be troublesome to get used to,” Watford supervisor Nigel Pearson stated.
Leicester stay third, six factors forward of fourth-placed Chelsea, as they appear to safe a spot in subsequent season’s Champions League.
Following the development from the primary 4 matches of the restart this week, a minute’s silence was noticed for victims of coronavirus.
Groups took a knee in assist of the Black Lives Matter trigger earlier than kick-off in each match, all of that are being performed behind closed doorways for the remainder of the season.
On Sunday, Liverpool will play for the primary time for the reason that top-flight hiatus when the title chasers make the quick journey to Merseyside rivals Everton.
Jurgen Klopp’s facet, 22 factors away from second-placed Manchester Metropolis, want two wins from their remaining 9 video games to finish their 30-year wait to be topped English champions.
If the Reds beat Everton, they will wrap up the title with one other victory towards Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, Liverpool’s inevitable title will now include an asterisk based on some pundits, who declare the Premier League‘s new regular of matches behind closed doorways with extra substitutes allowed has taken the shine off the leaders’ achievements.
“Now I’ve had quite a lot of time to learn. I needed to Google the phrase ‘asterisk’. I solely knew the phrase from a comic book!” Klopp stated.
“Whoever can be champions, it is going to be historic as a result of it’s a yr that we are going to always remember. Give us an asterisk, sure.”
Afterward Saturday, West Ham host Wolves, whereas Bournemouth face Crystal Palace.
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