There have been some main positives for Graham Potter and Mikel Arteta, even when some previous habits crept again in on the AmEx…
For a goalless draw within the p*ssing rain which featured simply 4 pictures on course – solely one among which may very well be described as a check for the keeper – that was a whole lot of enjoyable.
As soon as Graham Potter and Mikel Arteta have dried out, each will take various levels of encouragement into the worldwide break, with the Arsenal boss maybe extra glad of the only level. For sustained durations, particularly earlier than half-time, Brighton dominated the Gunners however in a reversion to their 2020/21 selves, the Seagulls didn’t make their superiority pay.
They mustered 21 efforts on Aaron Ramsdale’s aim, however the Arsenal stopper was extra troubled by crosses than any of the Seagulls’ pictures. From a type of deliveries, which Ramsdale dropped, Lewis Dunk skied their finest alternative, whereas Dan Burn, Neal Maupay and, late on, Shane Duffy all didn’t hit the goal from shut vary.
Brighton (1.31) 0-0 (0.38) Arsenal
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) October 2, 2021
Flashbacks among the many residence supporters to final season, when Brighton would have completed within the high six had they matched their xG, would have been comprehensible however greater than his concern over his aspect’s wastefulness, Potter might be heartened by a efficiency that justified their lofty place within the Premier League and their standing for the primary time in nearly 40 years as the upper positioned of those groups earlier than assembly in a league encounter.
Brighton hogged the possession and retained the initiative seized throughout a dominant first-half show via a second interval through which Arsenal modified tack however nonetheless struggled to get a foothold within the recreation.
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However the optimistic for Arteta was the Gunners’ resilience. Fielding arguably his strongest XI excluding Granit Xhaka’s absence, the Arsenal boss may have been hoping to construct on final week’s north London derby triumph, however he might have discovered extra about his gamers right here on the AmEx than he gleaned from a procession in opposition to a wretched Spurs.
Regardless of the concession of all these pictures, Arsenal defended stoically, with Gabriel and Ben White persevering with their blossoming partnership on entrance of a goalkeeper who’s defying expectations in the course of the early weeks of this Gunners profession.
That trio, with out Xhaka, too typically lacked an out ball, with Thomas Partey and Albert Lokonga excellently screened by Leandro Trossard and Jakub Moder, and boxed in by Pascal Gross and Adam Lallana, which pressured Arsenal typically to go lengthy. Which is rarely Arteta’s most popular type, particularly with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking part in because the goal man.
Arteta might have changed his captain earlier the 72nd minute and Alexandre Lacazette instantly seemed extra snug taking part in together with his again to aim, linking play with Emile Smith Rowe, who by that point had moved inside to take over the No.10 function from Martin Odegaard. The previous Actual Madrid playmaker’s AmEx anonymity won’t tremendously fear Arteta, who might not less than name upon completely different choices in reserve, with Nicolas Pepe bringing a distinct menace from the bench, even he struggled to indicate it.
Arsenal’s ineffectiveness down their proper was thanks in no small half to the wonderful Marc Cucurella and Potter’s bravery in taking part in the left wing-back so excessive that Takehiro Tomiyasu might neither get ahead himself or drift too far inside to permit Kieran Tierney to bomb on from the other flank.
However regardless of their issues in asserting themselves on Brighton, they dug in. Which for Arsenal, nonetheless represents progress.
Evaluate this stubbornness, and the resilience they confirmed at Burnley a fortnight in the past, to the collection of capitulations earlier than the final worldwide break, and Arteta will go into this subsequent fortnight of inactivity feeling infinitely extra relaxed.
Potter might effectively rue solely two factors from a doable six this week, however he too has a lot to be optimistic about. Particularly the best way through which Brighton have coped with out key gamers. Potter is lacking arguably three of his strongest XI – Adam Webster, Yves Bissouma and Danny Welbeck – whereas Tariq Lamptey is being eased again in after a long-term layoff however the Seagulls have assembled some critical power in depth, one thing they’ve by no means possessed since turning into a Premier League outfit.
Potter was one of many names being talked about as a doable candidate to switch Arteta when Arsenal had been winless and seemingly hopeless final month and the intrigue over what the Brighton boss might do with higher sources will stay till he’s given the chance to show it. However within the meantime, it’s already clear that Brighton’s begin isn’t any fluke. And the tangible progress made since final season means a short return to their previous profligacy shouldn’t trigger an excessive amount of panic on the south coast.