A good platform to build on: Arsenal 2-0 Brighton Hove and Albion


An early Sunday kickoff at home with plenty of players midweek was the perfect setting for our first team to perform and they did not disappoint with the result. Plenty of positive signs throughout the match however there can still be plenty to work on.

We did not stamp our authority and make it a big one

Not to be negative, but we have to put things in perspective. Even when we do win we need to put it under the microscope and assess us against the benchmark and contextualise the performance to really know where we are with respect to the league leaders. I think playing against the Brighton side who have been very poor away from home this season a 2-0 at home isn’t going to send shockwaves to the league leaders. The way Brighton played and the potential we have we could have made it more. For us to be considered to be amongst the top echelons this is the sort of game where we put in a solid 3 goals at least. It was frustrating particularly at the end of each half where the game just petered out. It wasn’t that Brighton was playing well, it’s that we weren’t either and they were there for the taking. It is important not to switch off and be complacent like that we saw late in that first half where they hit the post and could have easily equalised on another day. Having said that

We had plenty of chances and were unlucky

I could think of three really close chances, where Kolasinac had his cleared off the line, Lacazette hit the post early on, Sanchez was perilously close and Ramsey was denied by a brilliant save by Ryan. Any of these go in and the win becomes a bit more comprehensive and the scoreline looks a bit better. The signs are there that we are improving and are being more clinical, but we need to make it count. We aren’t playing the big teams, but we’ve already seen against WBA, Doncaster, BATE and even this match to an extent that we didn’t kill off the game and gave them half a chance. We cannot afford to do that against the big teams and so it is important psychologically to get bigger leads against teams early.

We are winning without Ozil or Wilshere but they are so important

It is always so tempting to use the punch line that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. In many contexts this will ring true, however to suggest that we keep Ozil out of the side because we are winning without him is absurd. After Wilshere’s performance in Europe in midweek it would have been great to see him get a run as well, especially with an international break coming up, however it was not to be. Both these players are extremely important, and I go back to my previous two points and say that it isn’t going to get any easier from here, and we need depth in the squad and we will need these playmakers to break down defences much tougher than this in the near future. In the next few weeks we have tough fixtures at Everton away, City away and that other North London team at home. This will be a season defining period, kind of like last season when we had Everton and City back to back (and failed). Under Wenger I don’t have high hopes that we can get through these games without losing, however, if we are to get a result we must step it up a level, and that means having our best players on the pitch.

Alexis Sanchez is a team player

I simply don’t understand the criticism from the fans at the moment who think that Alexis is playing for himself and not the team. You only have to see his delightful assist, the kind of thing a team player does to get that edge for you and win games, that shows that he’s playing for the team. At the end of the day there’s a strong chance this is his last season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t committed, he would be stupid not to be. He is a fierce competitor and even if it is to impress a future manager it is in his interest to give it his all for Arsenal. As for the emotion he shows I don’t have a problem with that at all. If half our players and the manager had that sort of passion we would win big trophies, its as simple as that. It is unfair to criticise him because he’s not like the others, because he’s too good for us, and until our manager and the squad show that hunger, yes of course he will look like he doesn’t belong here, but that’s not his fault, it is because the club have fallen so far in the past decade or so.

 



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