'Brighton didn't give us the opportunity to win' - Arsenal boss Unai Emery praises Albion after draw
Arsenal manager Unai Emery said Brighton's strength in defence made it hard for his team to gain a much-needed three points this afternoon (Saturday).
In their final home game of the season, and needing three points to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive, the Gunners let an early lead slip, in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given the hosts the lead from the penalty spot within ten minutes, after Alireza Jahanbakhsh was contentiously penalised for tripping Nacho Monreal. However, Albion responded well and levelled from the same spot in the second half through Glenn Murray, after Granit Xhaka brought down Solly March in the box.
The hosts pushed in vain for a winner, with Aubameyang missing their best chance, by firing a volley well wide from a great position late on.
Emery said: "We knew they [Brighton] are defensively very strong. They played very well and we knew the key was to score the second goal.
"We tried to do that but they drew with us. They defended very well. They didn't give us the opportunity to win.
"If you score a second goal, it can be more calm to play. We needed to push and created chances to score but they defended very well and their goalkeeper played very well."
Emery said the first half was 'probably the difference in the result' despite leading at the break.
He added: "We had our chances to score and in the second half after their goal we had chances but they defended very well, congratulations to them for their work.
"We fight and try to win each match in the Premier League but every match is difficult and today is an example of that.
"We wanted to win today and we worked in the Premier League to have the possibility of a top four place, but today we drew and lost the chance.
"We knew it was going to be difficult but our focus is now the Europa League."