- Albion draw 1-1 with Arsenal
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gives Arsenal the lead
- Jurgen Locadia on target for the Seagulls
- Albion turn their attention to Everton’s visit to the Amex on Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion played out an absorbing 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Boxing Day at the Amex Stadium.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener was cancelled out by Jurgen Locadia to ensure the points were shared, but Albion could have easily claimed another famous win after another encouraging display against one of the Premier League's top six.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 away at AFC Bournemouth the previous week, with Shane Duffy, Dale Stephens and Glenn Murray all included in the starting line-up.
Albion created an opening inside the opening five minutes when Solly March fed in Bernardo down the left, but the latter’s cross-shot went over the bar.
Arsenal almost broke the deadlock moments later when Aubameyang attempted to lob Maty Ryan, but the Seagulls shot-stopper superbly tipped his shot over the bar.
The forward wasn’t to be denied in the seventh minute though, as Albion failed to clear the ball on multiple occasions and Arsenal’s number 14 clinically fired into the top corner to break the deadlock.
The Seagulls peppered around the Arsenal box in a bid to restore parity, as a Pascal Gross shot was deflected wide, before Bernd Leno claimed his resulting corner.
Murray thought he had levelled the scores after he latched onto Martin Montoya’s first-time ball and appeared to bundle it over the line, but referee Anthony Taylor ruled out the effort with Leno appearing to already have two hands on the ball.
Murray was involved in the thick of the action again for Albion’s next chance, after he swept in a first-time strike from March’s cross that was easily saved by Leno.
But Albion had Ryan to thank for keeping the deficit at one when the shot-stopper made a brilliant one-handed stop to keep out Aubameyang’s low effort after a ball over the top of the defence.
The Seagulls did equalise in the 35th minute through Locadia after Stefan Lichtsteiner failed to deal with Davy Propper’s long ball over the Gunners defence and the Dutchman coolly slotted home.
Albion were on the front foot in what was turning into a very open game, as Montoya found Murray, but the latter’s header rose over the target.
Shortly after the re-start, some brilliant work by Bernardo teed up a chance for March, and his driven shot was pushed away by Leno.
Propper had two more chances to score a second Albion goal, as he glanced a header wide from March’s cross before firing just wide after being teed up by Locadia.
There was a nervy moment for the Albion defence when Bernardo gave away possession on the edge of the box, but Duffy was on hand to prevent Aubameyang from pulling the trigger.
Albion broke forward on the counter again, and Locadia made a weaving run from the left only to see his subsequent shot go past the far post.
The Gunners almost restored their lead in the freakiest fashion, when March's attempted clearance cannonned off Alex Iwobi and the ball went inches past Ryan's far post.
The focus now turns to Everton's visit on Saturday, and Hughton will take plenty of encouragement from another impressive festive display.
ALBION: Ryan; Montoya, Duffy, Balogun, Bernardo; March, Stephens, Propper, Locadia (Knockaert 86); Gross; Murray (Andone 79).
SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Bruno, Bong, Kayal, Bissouma.