View from the stands as an uninspired Arsenal were blown away by Brighton and the referee

Arsenal v Brighton Review from a fans-eye view by Ken1945

I know it’s late, but I wanted to give my take on the game that has finished the dream of becoming PL champions.

We were outplayed, out-thought, out-muscled and out-refereed.

Outplayed? Brighton played a man marking game that stifled our midfield and attacking play. The complete opposite occurred, when Brighton played out from the back, as we stood back and allowed them to dominate us.

Out-thought? There was no change in our tactics during the first half, and then it seemed that plan B after the break was to play the long ball at every other opportunity, and Dunk just had a field day.

Out-muscled? Some of Brighton’s tackles bordered on completely unacceptable, as it was obvious that Martinelli was targeted from the first minute, resulting in his early substitution.

However, they won all the 50/50 challenges and were superb at the dark art of wasting time.

Out-refereed? I have never seen a referee who from the first foul to the end of the game look completely out of his depth – both for and against each teams.

He showed no authority whatsoever and, in allowing Brighton players to go down on a regular basis near the end, was just laughable.

We looked tired, uninspired and were blown away by, in my opinion, the best opponents I have seen at The Emirates.

They were the complete opposite of us, organised, determined, and looked as if they had something to play for – amazing when you think we still had a chance to win the PL.

It was the perfect performance, although aided and abetted by the lacklustre referee.

The Arsenal? I don’t like mentioning individuals, as its a team game, but White, Odegaard, Trossard and our manager had the worst game I’ve seen at home this season.

Finally, a lot has been made about fans leaving the ground early.

Whilst acknowledging there was an exodus, it was frustration at the performance and it was done quietly… there was no animosity to any individual, just a recognition that we had blown the PL with an abject performance that reminded me of Arteta’s first two seasons.

The crowd was still 100% behind the players and, when Arteta was booked, the “We’ve got super Mik Arteta” chant immediately started up and, in my opinion, was the loudest I’ve ever heard.

Just a final thought, this woeful performance was without the scapegoats that some like to blame… Holding, Elneny, Vieira and Zinchenko.


Video – Mikel Arteta explains what went wrong against Brighton “Individually we were below par”

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  1. We almost caught Brighton when they tried to play from the back, but their rough challenges caused delays that broke our tempo and intensity

    Our long passes were mostly useless because Brighton CBs were superb at handling that scheme and Jesus was too weak for Dunk

    1. The long pass didn’t expose Jesus as being weak GAI, that’s not his strength… however, it was Dunk’s bread and butter game and he gobbled it up.

      From the go in the second half, it was ibvious that MA had decided to try this long ball out and it didn’t work… the problem was, he and the players couldn’t see it!!!

      1. What is Jesus’ strength, the more he play the less and less I am impressed.

        He’s far from prolific, he has zero hold up ability, he’s poor in the air, his passing is average, his positioning is ok…..besides running a lot I can’t see where he stands out to be honest.

        I like him but I just don’t see him being effective at all.

        1. To me Pep was right to play him on the wing. Don’t see much of a striker in Jesus besides his position on the pitch.

          Dribbles too much, weak hold up play at best, and falls to the ground too much for me. Strikers need to score goals and I don’t think he’ll be a 20 goal striker for us.

          Hope we get a striker in the Summer and Jesus can be the plan B and play on the wings in some games. Just don’t see him leading our attack to a title.

      2. I hope Arteta and Edu have realized that we don’t have attackers to receive those long passes

        If we had a stronger attacker, he could’ve made his teammates win the second ball more easily using his hold-up play or aerial ability

  2. I didn’t think that Brighton were particularly good in the first 20+ minutes of the first half. Their initial playing out from the back was like watching Leno attempting it and had a rocket been placed up the backsides of our team, we could easily have capitalised. Trossard clipping the crossbar instead of the ball going into the net may have been a morale booster but it doesn’t alter the fact we were clearly worse on the day.

    Their disappointment at losing was for all to see but it’s a conundrum that Arteta and Edu have to address if we want regular top 4 finishes.

    If de Zerbi can wind up his players after a drubbing the week before, then I hope Arteta can do the same. At least end the season on a high.

    As for the crowd departing en masse, it wasn’t very edifying watching Sky pan to the crowded streets outside the stadium when there was a match being played inside. It looked like ‘we only love you when we’re winning’.

  3. I like your last paragraph. Many enjoy scapegoating individual players for every defeat and refuse to see fundamental problems from the management. They blame Holding all day long without seeing that we have no proper DM covering the CBs. They advocate for Kiwior to completely replace Gabriel without seeing that Zinchenko is a defensive liability to Gabriel. And when they’ve run out of scapegoats, Xhaka becomes their default scapegoat setting even while defending himself from harm at Anfield

  4. I think for the new season, we must focus on adding physicality and athleticism to our defense, midfield and (if possible) our attack.
    I think over the years lack of strength, most especially in defense and midfield has been the major reason while we crumble when the pressure becomes high.
    I hope we’re able to move on as much players as we can to fund this ‘rejig’.

  5. Very good unbiased and truthful article Ken, though I do think if we had taken the few chances we had early on, the resulting outcome might have been different, but then again, we can all say ‘what if’? As others have said, we didn’t lose the title yesterday but a few games ago. Great support for the manager and the team but it was very disappointing to see so many fans leaving early.

  6. I thought the ref had a blinder ,let the game flow and didn’t fall for all that rolling around bull crap ,you forgot to mention Martinellis challenge at the start of the match Ken .
    Brighton completely played us off the park apart from the first 15 mins .

    1. Your right DK, he did have a blinder, as he couldn’t see anything!!!
      Check my words, as I said he was so inept against both teams.
      Mind you, there was only one team rolling about and I saw the most beautiful delayed action dive ever, late in the second half, which conned the ref once again, as Brighton ticked off the seconds.

      Why we didn’t take on the situation regarding time wasting in the world cup is a mystery to me, but even then we saw 13 minutes of time added on and only one team was wasting time obviously

      1. HD, he’s practically admitted it was in retaliation and “wishes he could turn the clock back!!”

        We all could see that it was in retaliation for what should have been Martinelli’s yellow card tackle, but this inept referee failed to act on all three fouls.

        I’m not defending The Arsenal players, or attacking the Brighton players in isolation – just giving my opinion on what I saw as a referee completely out of his depth.

  7. What all these critics in the media, falling over themselves in rubbishing the club and it’s fans, is the fact that we were the only ones who challenged the oil rich city for the title.

    The Brighton game was the “bridge to far” and brought home our needs in a stark manner.

    I wonder why sky felt it necessary to show our fans leaving? Doesn’t that happen to every club at every game?

    It seems that a club, under investigation for breaking rules once again, can do no wrong – the hypocrisy is mind blowing.

    1. I’ve taken a break from anything Arsenal this week so haven’t really been reading or posting.

      But regarding the fans walking out…

      Ken1945, did you not find that the atmosphere was quite flat before the game kicked off. I felt it kinda eerie at the beginning but I put that down to the Toffees rolling over for $hitty. And it just confirmed the end of our season.

      I left early as the late Sunday kick off is a rubbish time as its the night before a school day and you don’t want to go over board just in case you miss the alarm on Monday morning..

      In addition, knowing that we already threw away 7 months of hard graft in April, being 2 nil down at home and watching a very uninspiring performance (to be polite) by a team that had already accepted defeat gave me no reason to stay.

  8. The long ball tactic was one of the most baffling things that i still can’t get my head around. It made no sense at all. White was awful and Jesus offered nothing. The ref lets many things go that didn’t favour Arsenal but it made no difference, he just wasn’t a fussy ref and didn’t mind physical. After watching us this season, especially after Man Citys game, we are out muscled far too much.

  9. Ken
    Could not disagree with your thoughts.
    This game apart we have had a good-average season as:-
    a) We have overachieved in the PL.
    b) Underachieved in the cups (bar the FA cup where we narrowly lost to City)). We really needed to at least get to the semis in the Europa league with our squad size. The EFL cup I do not count as Arsene was correct IMO to use it as a youth blooding in tournament.

  10. The problem is that the team cannot dominate a game whenever we play the traditional 4 @ the back system.

    99% of the games when Zinchenko played the inverted left back role we dismantled the opposition. Just look at the performances in Europa and the league. The fluidity of play in the league and in Europa was a stark contrast. Tierny should be remoulded to play the inverted role or should be sold. Bringing back Tavarez and let Zinchenko school him could fill the void. For me Tavarez could improve the team as he is more physical then Zinchenko which would help to make the midfield stronger.


    1. Unfortunately BangBang, Tavares, if the rumours are true, is a problematic character who seems to annoy management and team mates wherever he goes. He looks physically the right type, has scored many goals on loan in France though he is a full back, but his behaviour seems to be suspect.
      We’ll see if Arteta is wiling to give him another chance.

        1. Mr Jon Fox – (is it acceptable for me to be even more formal than you initially wished me to be, and can this mode of address be equally as you like it )??
          Now where was I ? Ah yes, the question of BangBang and his seemingly faulty suggestion that Tavares should return. BangBang rested his case and scarperred (one ‘r’ or two ?) Well who can say what the future holds ? When the said Tavares arrived he initially looked promising. Unfortunately it became apparent that he just wanted to play his own game with absolutely no discipline and a reluctance to take instruction. At least that’s what it looked like to me. He looks really physically strong, wild and a bit rufty tufty which I think we need actually.
          Good offensively and has scored numerous goals in France. Gawd there’s some serious acid going on in my tummy at present !
          You’re right, I don’t think Mikel will have him back. Agreement again.

  11. A very good buy?yes but a bargain I don’t know!
    With the money they got for MØ,RM bought Eduardo Cavaminga for just under 28M and were left with few spare millions.

  12. I will not concern myself overmuch with this rotten perf, as the title was already lost, in all but technicallity, meaning our result was of NO KEY importance.
    Unless, of course , you are one of the many who refuse to face reality and continued to fool themselves we still had a chance. I do agree with KEN that this ref was totally inept and would not use a yellow card almost until some one was decapitated.

    NOT biased though , but simply USELESS. Sackably useless too, IMO!

  13. I think poor decisions and finishing from Trossard, Saka and Odegaard also made life difficult for the team. I’m sure if Arsenal scored first, the boys would have won the game. Martinelli was their target and they got him early. I thought tackle from the back warranted at least a yellow card, if not red card. But the referee was totally bias against Arsenal. The fatigue from the Newcastle game and Man City win at Everton clearly affected the players physically and mentality. Brighton definitely flattened themselves with the score line.

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