Arsenal 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
Premier League review
Top four has gone, and given the recent state of affairs, this won’t be a very positive review.
We have made some progress this season, both on and off the pitch, but we still hold some major issues that need rectification.
Most of us were grossly misguided in saying we had an “easy” run-in. It’s been two poor home games that have cost us, and in some ways this game was as bad as losing to Crystal Palace.
As it stands now, Spurs have to lose to Everton by several goals, and then we have to beat Burnley by several too. I don’t feel this will happen, and we could potentially finish sixth. Sean Dyche and company will love to rub it in, and we’ve got some lucky wins at their place lately.
Our final home game of the season has left me with the following thoughts:
A draw was fair
I feel Hughton got his inner Spurs out and Brighton had a good game. They were safe, given Cardiff City’s loss to Palace. But they attacked us well in the channels and wide areas, and in some cases Lichtensteiner and Monreal were struggling.
They also were running at pace, and we were unable in some parts to cope with their counter-attacks.
They utilised the transitions well, and it’s pretty much we both had chances to score. We may have had more chances on balance, but both sides showed good attacking moments.
Brighton equalised via a penalty too – and Xhaka was at fault here.
We had some attacking moments in the latter part of the game, but then we didn’t do enough to capitalise on them. Iwobi came on and provided some width, though his crosses and end product were sub-par.
On balance, we didn’t deserve to win this game, and a draw ultimately was fair.
We started well, and took the game to them. The penalty from Auba was well-taken, but I’m not sure if it was a penalty or not. I was at the game, and from the North Bank it was difficult to see the incident in full. But then this opening only lasted for about 20 minutes, and after that we took our foot off the gas. In part, this is why we drew, since we were pretty lax in parts.
Look, mistakes happen, and can never be removed. But then they had chances in part due to our misplaced passing, which Leno committed in the first half.
Moreover, we looked soft in their attacking and stemming of crosses. Our defensive structure was again cracked, and we lacked the passing and movement to really gain something here.
Lacazette and Aubameyang
Laca was the hero of the Valencia home leg. But in this game, he was very poor. He looked jaded, tired, and uninterested, which was in sharp contrast to the game earlier in the week.
Auba though in contrast was very good. He isn’t naturally suited to a more expansive game, but I felt he was looking to create, and in fairness was wrong to miss the chance he did in the latter stage. He bicycle-kicked a shot wide of the left-post, and had he scored he may have scored the winner.
He does miss chances, but then he has adapted to the league and club mightily well, and is well within the ranks of Salah, Kane, and Aguero as top-level forwards in our league.
Granit Xhaka, for me, should go.
I don’t think he is a bad player. But what has he offered? He’s been poor. He was misbilled as a DM, but he’s clearly a regista – and our side isn’t configured to get the best from him.
In this game, he offered nothing at all. He gave away a penalty – and misplaced many passes.
Torreira was better, as he battled as usual. Though whilst Guendouzi when he came on didn’t offer much either, he was more energetic and purposeful.
Xhaka’s time at Arsenal surely done – I cannot see what he can contribute any further.
Look. The man gets a lot of stick, and justifiably so. But then he’s been pretty good in recent games, and this only compounds the angst and vitriol he receives. If he were like this in 70% of his games, apart from 25%, then he’d be the quality we need.
He still needs to go – but criticism and praise (in this case) need to be applied fairly.
Emery is not exempt from blame here. The Palace selection I feel set in train this negative run.
Today, he brought on the subs way too late, and should have made them at half-time.
Moreover, bringing on Guendouzi is not enough – possibly Nketiah could have added something, given his pace and attacking skill.
I’m not Emery Out at all – though whilst the players aren’t capable, “el jefe” needs to make better decisions in the future, since he has a significant part to play in this capacity.
Were there any positives here?
Auba for me was man of the match.
And the ending for Aaron Ramsey was well-done. I don’t believe he’s a legend – a good player, granted, of course. But he’s been very average in his league form, and thus not worthy of legend status in my view. Even still, I hope we can win the Europa League to play against him vs. Juventus next season. Best of luck to you, Aaron, at the Grand Old Lady and playing besides Ronaldo.
Cech and Welbeck also made farewells, and whilst Cech has not been top-quality consistently with us, he surely stands amongst the best PL-era keepers. Schmeichel and our own Seaman are the best, along with Cech, in my view.
Welbz may not have been the best finisher – but he had the effort, work-rate, and always gave his all when he was playing. As an England international, I’m sure he can find another club at a good level.
But for now, we have another game vs. Valencia, and we’re 60% through, so to speak. It may well be Chelsea in the final, and I feel should we win the Europa League, it would be like the 2017 Cup Final all over again. A great win, but something that cannot ameliorate nor lessen evident mishaps.
Iwobi – 4
Guendouzi – 4
Kolasinac – 4
Emery – 4 – The formation was fine, as was the selection. But then the team lacked energy, and he gets a low rating since I feel his poor selection in other games have cost us in the run-in period.
Man of the match
As aforementioned, Auba tops it.
MarbleHallsTV is an Arsenal social media account on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Been a Gooner since the 90s, inspired by Ian Wright, then Bergkamp, Vieira, Henry, Pires, Campbell, Rosicky, Koscielny, Ozil and Sanchez. A digital marketer/entrpreneur by profession, born in UK living in the Americas now.