Corner turned? No, of course not. It’s far too soon to be thinking all that was wrong is now right. However, two big wins on the bounce makes a refreshing change. Apart from Lacazette dropping to bench, allowing Aubameyang to return from injury, the starting eleven was the same as Boxing Day.
The tempo of our game didn’t match that of the Chelsea game but considering Arsenal haven’t beaten Brighton for a while, perhaps there were a few nerves. Brighton defended deep, Arsenal reverted to playing safety football first. Boring to us perhaps but let’s not forget the run we’ve been on. The last thing we needed was to go behind, chase the game and then get hit on the break.
Honours even at halftime despite the home side enjoying a bit more of the ball during the latter stages of the half.
Arsenal came out after the break in a different mood. The tempo went up a gear and with it, more chances came. The best fell to Aubameyang but Perez got his knee in the way of the shot. Around the hour mark, Mikel Arteta made his first change. Off went Martinelli, understandably as he needs looking after since returning from injury, and on came Lacazette. Within twenty odd seconds he’d scored the only goal of the game. Great play from man of the match Saka down our right, a lovely pass into the box, one touch from our number nine and then bang, in. Game over. Three points back to north London. Thank you very much.
Whatever Mikel said at halftime worked which kind of dispelled the rumours of him losing the dressing room or the belief of the players. A dressing room which doesn’t have Luiz or Willian in it right now. I know I’m perhaps putting two and two together, but it’s funny how since they’ve been declared ‘ill’, our performances have gone up a level. Even Aubameyang was playing with a smile on his face which has been a rare sight this season. Saying that, I don’t think he was involved enough. He runs around a bit but doesn’t press the defence in the same way Martinelli does, or Lacazette for that matter. He’s out there, but he’s not ‘really’ out there. I know he’s a different kind of player to Lacazette but the latter seems to come alive when the younger guys are playing, he works hard for them and they him. His post match interview suggested he loves being part of their Arsenal career even though they make him feel old. All tongue in cheek of course about feeling old but honestly, I think he’s enjoyed the last two matches, just like he seemed to enjoy playing alongside the younger guys in the Europa Cup.
To come off the bench and do his job shouldn’t need to be applauded but the way things have been going, it can be left unmentioned. His whole attitude was spot on and the big decision now for Mikel is when we face Big Sam’s Bullies, who will he choose. Plus, does he risk Saka, assuming he’s fit after last night? You can bet your bottom dollar Big Sam will have his card marked. The there’s Martinelli and ESR, can they start a third on the trot?
The youth is great but you need the senior people and the senior players around them to guide them, to control them and to give them support as well. We’ve been playing with young players since I arrived here. We have given opportunities to many of those and now they are maybe becoming more highlighted because of the results we had in previous weeks, and now the results we are having with them a little bit more involved. But as well, I would like to really respect the senior players and the work they’ve done for us through the year. – Mikel Arteta.
Depends on the senior players though because I think the last two matches have shown us which senior players can perhaps be relied on more than others. Time will tell of course as this mini revival is far from proving anything other than with the right personnel and personalities in the tram/squad, Mikel Arteta’s job seems to be a little easier.
See you in the comments.