BHA 0-0 Arsenal
Not a game for many words, but here are my eight observations:
- BHA had the better chances but we only gave away half chances. The defence stood strong on the ground and, most pleasingly, in the air too. Another clean sheet after conceding nine in the first three games, now that is a great turnaround (one goal conceded in the last four);
- We missed Granit. Lokonga looks like a Partey type of player, not the conductor type that Xhaka is for us. It’s early days of course but we did not own the midfield last night and it made us second best;
- The Ode was not found quickly enough and he was well marshalled by the Seagulls. As a result attack was disconnected from the rest of the team.
- Auba’s linkup play was below par. The conditions did not help but he needs to be more ball tight. I was glad to see Laca come on and I hope Mikel will play him more going forward as he is good at keeping the ball and bringing into play others.
- Tomiyasu had a tough first half against the best player on the pitch, but he recovered well in the second half. A big test for him and he came through it.
- Bukayo and Emile did their best to sow a purse from a pig’s ear and they were a joy to watch at times, but the pirates just could not steel it for us, unfortunately.
- Arteta made some important substitutions at the right time and with a bit more focus and luck we could even have won it at the end. That would not have been deserved of course, but Arteta almost achieved it.
- But the big plus is that despite the horrible weather and the considerable pressure the team did not lose the game. If you cannot win make sure you do not lose either, and in the past we failed doing that so often. There is resilience in this team. Something to build on.