Brighton HA 2 – 1 Arsenal
“Alas,” said the mouse, “the world gets smaller every day. At first it was so wide that I ran along and was happy to see walls appearing to my right and left, but these high walls converged so quickly that I’m already in the last room, and there in the corner is the trap into which I must run.”
Kafka, Little Fable.
Another away game and another loss. It all feels so similar. So dire.
This was a harsh one though, very harsh, and we were not helped at all by the poor refereeing, but it is also clear we are not in a good place right now. Not at all. Our spine is as floppy as wet spaghetti, especially now that Leno has also gone off badly injured. We look like a team without believe in the future, with too many players not knowing what their and the club’s next steps are.
However, may I remind you that we are living in extraordinary times and Arsenal had to restart the season after three months of innuendo with two away games in 67 hours. If we win the next game it will all look and feel different. I think Arteta and the boys are allowed a bit of leeway for a while. Dont’ you? More on this later.
We started well and Arteta had surprised us all with playing Saka in the hole. By far the most lively AND effective attacker, Bukayo brought something we missed against Citeh: attacking unpredictability. He was unlucky not to score or to see one or two of his crosses/passes not converted into a goal, until finally the simplest of assist was converted by the Robbenesque left foot of Pepe.
Auba and Laca had a couple of half-chances each but they lacked the hunger to properly pounce and in the end that cost us 1.5 points. The other 1.5 points were lost by the rubbish defending of our team. A very poorly defended corner let to the first goal; Ceballos was easily tricked by a one-two and the cross from the 18-yards box-line was then co-fumbled behind our own line. Ugly as Seagull crap all over the car-bonnet, painful to watch and totally self-inflicted. We sat back as soon as we scored and thus invited pressure on ourselves when, since decades, our best defence has always been to keep attacking.
At this stage it was clear that our weakness was once again in midfield. You all know what I mean with that so no more words will be wasted on it. The Seagulls had some nasty albeit ordinary steel in midfield and we did not…
The last goal by Brighton could have been avoided but I also want to give credit to a well executed attack. Fatigue played a part and we missed the quick reaction of Leno on this occasion, but these things happen. Had Auba and Laca bagged a goal each we would not have been affected by this late, late goal.
Yes the referee was poor, a disgrace actually, but we know that the general idea is that Arsenal are a soft touch and everybody without a red and white heart likes it when we get kicked; we have become national entertainment. How are we going to change this? By reestablishing the Adams-Vieira-Bergkamp mentality: boss every blade of grass on the pitch and every non red and white sorry fool on it. I am not talking about going out to hurt players but playing with dominance, focus and determination…. and pride in the shirt and protection of your mates on the pitch.
This has been made all the more difficult with injuries to Leno, Mari (I reckon Arteta had big plans for him), Xhaka, Torreira and Big Sok. So it is going to remain difficult as no team can do well without a solid spine and seemingly unhungry attackers. Can I see an improvement before this season’s end? What do you think?
This nightmare is unlikely to finish anytime soon – the mouse will keep looking to avoid the cat but to no avail I fear – but we as fans need to stay behind Arteta and the team. It is our duty.