Thoughts on the next games for the top two.
Brighton v Everton
Interestingly the next opponents for us and for City played each other this weekend and the game was both fantastic and informative.
Pep has just been given a sneak preview of Everton’s game plan for them. They’ll cut off passing lanes, try to compress space and force City into a bottleneck. Then, they’ll be looking to hit fast on the break.
We’ve also seen that Brighton have a little more development to go before they can truly challenge for a Champions League place, despite being a very good side.
What did we see?
We watched a Brighton team high on confidence and maybe a little complacent, concede after a matter of seconds to a relegation struggler (where have we seen that before?). They proceeded to dominate possession (in excess of 70%) and register 23 shots on the Everton goal, scoring just once and losing 5-1.
Sometimes everything you hit goes in. According to Sky Sports, Everton registered 10 shots, 5 of which were on target (one of their goals was an own goal). That’s football. Just ask the Spuds about their game up at Newcastle or United about their match at Anfield. The important takeaway however is that if you underestimate your opponent and they’re having a good day in front of goal they’ll hurt you. Unfortunately for us, City will have been reminded not to take 3 points at Goodison for granted. Fortunately, however they didn’t spank Madrid 4-0 as some of their fans thought they would, so Pep may opt to rest one or two players at the weekend.
Brighton still have a lot to play for
Solly March pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, so let’s hope that he misses the trip to London but recovers in time to play City. He made a huge difference when he came, on so the possibility that Zinchenko doesn’t have to deal with him on Sunday is an appealing one.
Brighton are still in the hunt for the Europa League and won’t have fully given up on finishing 4th, so they’ll be dangerous to deal with and won’t be taking anything for granted.
They learned the hard way that tiniest mistake is punished in this league, and we need to reinforce that lesson at the weekend mercilessly.
With Kiwior looking like he’s cementing his place at right centre back, we’ll be looking to continue to play the Arteta way. High lines, moving the ball quickly and pulling them around from all angles to create those gaps we love to exploit. Unlike against Everton, Brighton will not see so much of the ball, but like Everton, we need to be clinical to make those shots count and keep up the pressure on City.
A quick word on Forest
When we play Forest, it wouldn’t surprise me to see KT play because of the pace of Johnson. If Mikel does opt to stick with Zinchenko, then Gabi Martinelli is going to have to work hard to help him out.
Forest also had a good day in front of goal against Southampton, scoring with all 4 shots on target that they had. Keeping the ball and snuffing out counter attacks will be the priorities when we’re away at The City Ground.
I’m a lifelong Arsenal fan. I got my first kit at 3 years old and my dad put a nail in my wall and hung it there rather than in my wardrobe. Mum was furious.
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