There was a time when Arsenal sweeping 3 points against mid to low table premier league teams was a given. The mere thought of us doing the same right now seems quite unrealistic; even the most ardent of Arsenal fans wouldn’t disagree.
After the high of the Tottenham win, Arsenal might not have crashed to the ground with the draw at Brighton, but we were certainly forced to make an emergency landing. While the goalless draw was very frustrating for Arsenal fans, it is not all ‘doom and gloom’, as Aaron Ramsdale mentioned post the game.
Brighton aren’t no pushovers
Brighton might have finished 16th in the Premier League last year, but under Graham Potter, Brighton have had an amazing start to this season, and it is no fluke that they find themselves level on points with both the Manchester clubs on 14 after 7 games. It is important to mention that Arsenal is the only one from the traditional ‘Big 6’ that Brighton have faced so far but regardless of that, they have been impressive both in attack and defence. There were very few bookies to be found on mybettingsites.co.uk that would give Brighton any chance of finishing in the top six, but they are looking very good right now.
Anyone who watched Brighton regularly last season would point out that they played way better than what a 16th place finish would suggest, and Graham Potter is certainly doing his bit to make Brighton’s gamble to snatch him from Swansea City a sound decision.
Against Arsenal, Brighton created several presentable opportunities and outshone Arsenal on possession, shots, duels won and xG. The Gunners can count themselves lucky to come away with at least a point.
Arsenal’s away record
The Gunners’ away record for the last 4 seasons does not make for good reading for a team who wants to finish in the top 4:
2017-18: 16 points
2018-19: 25 points
2019-20: 20 points
2020-21: 33 points
With the fans back in the stadiums, it is certainly not going to get any easier for clubs to earn points away from home unlike last season. This is not to say that the draw is a great result, but to highlight that Arsenal might have found a way to concede a goal and lose the game last season against an opposition like Brighton who are not afraid to impose their football on us.
4 clean sheets in 5 games
In the last 5 games, Arsenal have conceded just once (which was a mere consolation for Spurs). After the rocky start to the season, it is perhaps unsurprising to witness the Gunners focusing more on the basics and keeping the opposition out, as also highlighted by Arteta’s comments about clean sheets providing better platform for wins. With Gabriel getting back in the side post his injury, Tomiyasu, Ramsdale & Ben White’s immediate inclusions in the first XI, it might take more than a few games for the new look back 5 to adjust and develop together, but the early signs do look encouraging.
Hopefully, this is the platform Arsenal need to continue down a more promising path. The next two weeks of the international break will give Arteta enough time to prepare for the upcoming stretch of games and prepare a magic potion for a smoother and spicier Arsenal attack to go with the more recent defensive brew.