Arsenal 1 – 2 Brighton – Arsenal’s season just got a whole lot worse.
As first halves go, Arsenal had a bad one, a real bad one. Brighton was by far the better team in the first 45 minutes, there is no point denying that. The sad thing, it really is not surprising.
For the first 20 minutes or so the defence was good, there were no errors and truth be told they were very efficient. But then it changed as soon as Bellerin gave away a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area. From that moment onwards, for a reason I simply cannot fathom, they lost all confidence. They went from competent defenders to shivering wrecks.
It really was only a matter of time before Brighton scored and they duly did on the 36th minute and it was thoroughly deserved.
It also has to be said that the forwards and midfielders simply were not helping the defence out, they were early on but as the half went on they just sort of gave up tracking back. They were providing no link-up opportunities for the defenders and their movement was static.
Kolasinac, when he could, was flying down the wing but guess what? No end product. Ozil just slowed the game down almost every time he got the ball, allowing Brighton to get back in numbers. Lacazette was easy to mark and Auba is just being wasted on the wing.
Xhaka went back to his old tricks of hitting the floor at every opportunity, Bellerin offered zero down the right side, Torreira tried but lacked any vision or imagination. Willock was poor, very poor, no other way to put it.
Luiz looked as if he wanted to avoid being seen on camera, as soon as he got the ball he got rid of it, offered no outlet to the midfielders.
The bottom line was, apart from a few minutes here and there, woeful from Arsenal. The fans started showing their frustration and that further unsettled the players.
Then we had the sight of Aubameyang having a real pop at Willock, not something a captain should be doing so publicly to a young player.
The half time whistle could not come soon enough and when it did come, the boos rang out and rightfully so.
The second half started off much better, Pepe was on and the ineffectual Willock was off.
There was more urgency from Arsenal and on the 50th minute, Lacazette flick from Ozil’s corner looped high and went in off the post. It was a just reward for a much brighter start. Whatever Freddie said, it worked.
Luiz did get the ball in the back of the net on the 61st minute but VAR correctly ruled it out for offside.
But you must know what I am going to write now. The intensity from Arsenal dropped off, they never pushed on, they allowed the momentum to drop and slowly Brighton got back into the game.
The longer the game went on the more I feared a goal from Brighton and of course, it came in the 80th minute. The defence got carved open down the left side and a simple cross into the penalty area and Maupay knocked in for the Seagulls.
Dare I say it? Brighton deserved the lead once again. The game sort of just petered out from that point onwards and the end saw boos ring out for the second time in the game.