The pressure was off for Brighton after their place in the Premier League was assured for a third successive season after Crystal Palace won 3-2 at Cardiff last night. However, Arsenal needed to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League through a top-four finish alive.
After a bright start, Arsenal took the lead on the ninth minute thanks to a confidently taken penalty by Aubameyang after Alireza Jahanbakhsh was contentiously adjudged to have tripped Nacho Monreal. Replays showed there was minimal contact but referee Anthony Taylor was well placed to make the call.
Brighton settled into the game and created a number of chances, but it was Arsenal who finished the half strongest, forcing Mat Ryan into several fine saves.
However, it was Albion who came out firing in the second half. After Murray almost found the net after a brilliant one-two with March, the veteran striker was presented an opportunity to level from the spot after March was brought down by Xhaka. Murray coolly slotted the ball home to make it 1-1.
Both teams spurned glorious chances to win the game, but Brighton defended resolutely to maintain their much-improved run of form at the expense of Arsenal, whose top-four hopes are all but over. The Gunners now sit three points below fourth-placed Tottenham, needing an eight-goal swing in the final round of fixtures.