Good morning Positive Arsenal fans,
We emerge from the Christmas pair of games a little behind where we were hoping to be in the PL with two points not picked up yesterday. The effect has been less damaging than could have been the case because of a couple of notable performances from Leicester, of all people.
For the opening 20 minutes we were very good. We should have cut the poor home defence to shreds and been at least two goals ahead. Perhaps it was too easy ? After that patch of footballing poetry we lapsed. Brighton scrambled back into the game, got a grip on Auba and Laca, and we faced a struggle for the next 70 minutes where ten minutes before the opponent was on the canvas. And it was a struggle rather than a battle. Just three fouls all afternoon for us and just ten for Brighton. Clean game with just one dodgy tackle over the 90. Not what I expected.
Of yesterday’s game defence much better than the shambles at St Mary’s with Kosc getting back toward the player he was before the 2017/2018 season was ruined by injuries. 70 valuable minutes for the club captain yesterday. Sokratis is growing on me, a likeable rogue. Lichtsteiner I see is being slagged off universally by every Arsenal fan and his dog for what I still say was an unlucky clip off his head (next time hide Stephan). Sead did fine, though not as influential as against Burnley. AMN put in a few good minutes and I would not be too surprised to see him start at Anfield at right back.
Our midfield comes in for some fair criticism about lack of creative or attacking initiative. With our strikers labouring against a robust defence we need more attacking threat from our midfield, whether that is shooting from distance or dashes to the near post/far post/any bloody post and into the box. Enough of the “three DMs” bollocks though. I did not see any of Guendouzi, Torreira or Granit as a defensive DM yesterday. As for the blokes who are supposed to do “flair”, as it is in their contract, Ozil started, did OK I thought but Emery did not. Iwobi entered, the usual half time shake-up, and achieved even less. The young Nigerian looks lost at the moment. Aye – I am afraid to say yesterday our creative spark was barely registering.
Our Uruguayan I thought was a little inhibited yesterday, in spite of the reported “told to play his normal game” advice. He is however a lucky boy hat Mr Taylor did not see the slo-mo of his “coming” together on the edge of the Brighton box. A yellow card for that offence and missing Anfield would have been unacceptable.
Laca off on the hour and Ramsey on ? I would have taken Iwobi off – whatever confidence he had would have been further punctured but the French striker is able to pull out goal from the unexpected angle or the half inch gap.
Weighing it all up ? The point was a correct result. Room for improvement certainly but no disaster and an encouraging step forward from my MotM Laurent Koscielny.
So just two days off and on to the Home of the Champions elect. I hear the bookies on Merseyside have already paid out – as they do.