Neal Maupay’s s***house history with Arsenal explained

Before each game, Neal Maupay clears his mind by reading for half an hour while sat in his studs and shin pads.

That quiet figure studiously hunched over in the corner of the dressing room is the same frenzied individual that ignites on the football pitch, hounding after opposition defenders with an assault of limbs and words for as long as he is unleashed. Perhaps he’s flipping through Sun Tzu’s best work.

Since arriving in England as a 20-year-old half a decade ago, Maupay has endeared himself to the fanbase of each of his clubs almost as quickly as he has infuriated the rest of the league.

More than any other team, Arsenal have borne the brunt of Maupay’s unique brand of sh*thousery. But where was this rivalry sparked and how has Maupay continued to antagonise the Gunners so effectively?

Neal Maupay was only given a brief cameo for Brentford against Arsenal in 2018 / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Brentford lured Maupay across the English Channel in the summer of 2017 after a breakthrough campaign in the French second tier. During his second season in west London, Dean Smith’s Bees drew Arsenal in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

With a first promotion in seven decades the priority, Smith left his top scorer on the bench until late in the second half. By the time Maupay game on with 15 minutes left, Arsenal were already 2-1 up at the Emirates before Danny Welbeck sealed victory.

By the end of the match, all of the component parts of Maupay’s personal vendetta against Arsenal were on the pitch but it would be another 18 months before the fuse was lit.

Bernd Leno makes his feelings about Neal Maupay crystal clear / MIKE HEWITT/GettyImages

On his second trip to the Emirates, now as a Brighton player, Maupay nodded in an 80th-minute winner for the Seagulls in December 2019, consigning an Arsenal side led by interim manager Freddie Ljungberg to a 2-1 defeat. However, this still is not the ignition point.

In the reverse fixture at a sun-drenched but spectator-less Amex Stadium, Maupay nabbed another late winner against Arsenal, waiting until the fifth minute of stoppage time to poke the ball past Emi Martinez. Yet, the Argentine understudy was not the goalkeeper…


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