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Brighton v Arsenal: the history between the two clubs

By Bulldog Drummond

Brighton and Hove Albion joined the Football League with the creation of the Third Division after the first world war, moving with most of the Southern League First Division clubs into the 3rd Division, which then after one season became the 3rd Division (South).

There they stayed until they won the league in 1958 (only the top club being promoted each season), before tumbling down into the 4th Division in the early 1960s.

The finally made it to the top league in 1980 but had a number of years dancing around between the top three divisions, before the final promotion in 2017, making this their fifth consecutive season in the top league – their longest ever spell in this division.

As a result Arsenal have not played Brighton that often but when we have met the result has mostly gone Arsenal’s way, there being 14 Arsenal wins, five Brighton wins and four draws.  Six of the games have been cup games (all but one of which Arsenal won – the other being a draw).

However from 2018 onward, there has been something of a blip with this record, all the matches in this table being in the Premier League.

Date Match Result Score
4 Mar 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal L 2-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
5 May 2019 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion D 1-1
5 Dec 2019 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion L 1-2
20 Jun 2020 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal L 2-1
29 Dec 2020 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-1
23 May 2021 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion W 2-0

These defeats and draws coincide with Brighton’s return to the top division; they came 15th in 2018, 17th in 2019, 15th in 2020, and 16th last season.

There is one little feature of some interest tucked away in the head to head records and that is that moving forward from the first match between the clubs in 1935 in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, it took ten games before Brighton and Hove managed a goal against Arsenal.    That came on 10 April 1982 when they beat us 2-1 in League Division One.

Date Match Res Score Competition
12 Jan 1935 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-2 FA Cup
18 Aug 1979 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-4 League Division One
30 Oct 1979 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 0-0 League Cup
03 Nov 1979 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion W 3-0 League Division One
13 Nov 1979 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion W 4-0 League Cup
26 Jan 1980 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion W 2-0 FA Cup
01 Nov 1980 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion W 2-0 League Division One
04 Apr 1981 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
26 Jan 1982 Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion D 0-0 League Division One

In addition to their time in the top league Brighton have reached the FA Cup final once, and on one other occasion reached the FA Cup semi-final.  Their highest position in the league remains 15th, so the current position of sixth is rather unusual for them.

Indeed it must almost mean that they will have felt the draw against Crystal Palace even more keenly than the mere fact of not winning their local derby.  Had Brighton held on for the win they looked like getting they would have gone to the top of the table for what I am fairly sure would be the first time ever in their history.

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On the other hand they might be encouraged by the notion put forward by Mark Lawrenson on the BBC website web site where, totally ignoring what happened in the last two thirds of last season he says of the current run of three wins, “That run won’t last for too long – not a lot has changed about the Gunners, really, because I still think they will go on streaks of good or bad results just like last season – but they will be smiling on Saturday evening anyway.”

Fortunately for him the BBC don’t pay him for accuracy.

Next time, the teams but in the meanwhile you might also enjoy…

 

 

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