Tomiyasu, Partey and Tierney are now all out with long term injuries so Arteta played Granit Xhaka at left-back and Sambi Lokonga in midfield with Martin Ødegaard and Emile Smith Rowe. Having Xhaka at left-back meant the midfield had neither Xhaka or Partey and everyone in the ground agreed that was a bad thing.
Soares White Gabriel Xhaka
Ødegaard Lokonga Smith Rowe
Saka Lacazette Martinelli
Arsenal were basically rubbish for the first 20 minutes but had a couple good chances to go in front, including a header from Gabriel Magalhaes from a free kick, swung in by Bukayo Saka. In the 28th minute, Leandro Trossard scored, easily slotting the ball in the top corner past Aaron Ramsdale, after a cross whipped in by Enock Mwepu, who got the assist.
Just before halftime, Martinelli equalised from a corner, again swung in by Saka, scoring a header from another header knocked on by Gabriel. Unfortunately, it was finally ruled out for offside by VAR after what felt like a few hours. I’ve watched it back loads of times and still don’t know if it really was offside. The point is, VAR is rubbish.
Midway through the 2nd half, Mwepu scored Brighton’s second. It was a bullet strike, firing into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box following a great team move with an assist from Caicedo.
Arsenal finally improved and started to play well for the last 10 minutes. Ødegaard hit the bar from a freekick, then Nketiah hit the bar again from the rebound. Eventually Arsenal scored, in the 89th minute, through a deflected wonder strike produced by Martin Ødegaard from about 35 yards out. But it was too little, too late and the match ended 2-1 to the away side.
Arsenal are in a frustrating place right now, fifth in the table and on a bad run of form. Hopefully they can turn it around against Southampton next week.
My Man of the Match was Martin Ødegaard because he used great technique to score his goal. The only really good thing about the game.
Ramsdale – 6
Soares – 6 White – 6 Gabriel – 5 Xhaka – 6
Ødegaard – 7 Lokonga – 5 Smith Rowe – 6
Saka – 6 Lacazette – 5 Martinelli – 6