Morning folks and happy Monday unto thee.
Yesterday I was in a pretty bad way, I will admit to you now, which is why I couldn’t face a computer screen and in reality just went from bed to sofa and then back again at the end of the day. It was all completely self inflicted of course, but I still have a bit of a headache. Is this what a two day hangover is?? If it is, I’ll have no more of this thank you very much. It was a wedding of my mates you see and when the bar be fair, Chris be drinking. A lot of drinking. Mixing too. Eek.
I did watch the game on my phone though and I don’t know whether it’s the fact that it was a distracted game because there was a wedding party going on around me, but I came out the other side of the Brighton game thinking “well, this happens sometimes”. If you look at any league season there are games you draw when really you are telling yourself that your team should beat Brighton. And yes, I do think we have a better team than them and yes I do think we should have won the game. But as we saw on Saturday evening they are no slouches on their own patch and all it took was a few Arsenal players to have an off day and for Brighton to have a good one, and we saw what the effect was in terms of the overall game state.
They were better than us. They had more possession, more attempts on target, more of the ball and created some good chances. Ramsdale had a shaky moment in the first half which should have led to a goal, but in the second he denied that Scummer Maupay towards the end and as Mikel pointed out, if we deserved anything from the game it was only a draw. That’s a fair assessment; we had too many players like Partey and Tierney who had slightly off days and when we had the opportunity to hit on the counter we didn’t pick the right pass at times. It wasn’t as bad as the Burnley game in terms of poor passing in the final third, but there were one or two that I noticed, like in the second half where we had a two on one with Saka and Smith Rowe and ESR decided to go it alone and have a shot against the ‘keeper rather than flick the ball in to Saka’s path. That’s the kind of decision making that has been lacking so far since we restarted our season and that’s where you know we need to get more clinical and more ruthless.
But that is me being hyper-critical though. Like I said above, I didn’t come out of that game on Saturday super angry, mainly because of the game state but I wonder whether it was because my watching experience was a little disjointed. But I felt straight after that it was a point gained rather than two lost, feel the same on Monday. Brighton had a very good day, we had an off day. It happens. The important thing is you don’t lose and move on.
And Mikel was right to single out the defence because once again they kept a clean sheet. It is building slowly and we need to be very difficult to break down because we are not creating as many chances as we need to if we want to finish towards the top end of the league. A top six side doesn’t survive without having a purring and functioning attack and with three of these four games being ones in which you’d say it still isn’t properly ‘clicking’, we are starting to see where improvements need to be made and it is in that final third. It didn’t click for Odegaard on Saturday and that also had an impact in terms of our creativity, but we can’t be relying on him all of the time. Last weekend they all showed up and we saw the effect in that scintillating win over the Scum. With just a few players off key yesterday we saw what happens when young players don’t have their best day.
We’re all disappointed, we all wanted Arsenal to go on some kind of winning run and with the fixtures in front of us we all felt that has to be the case, but at least we don’t go in to another poxy international break off the back of a defeat. These breaks always feel like they last longer when the last taste of football has been a bitter defeat, so at least we go in to the home game against Palace who under Vieira will be well up for picking up some points against us at The Emirates. I watched the highlights of their game against Leicester and they looked very decent indeed. Whether they’re as good away from home remains to be seen, but it is a game we should be looking at trying to win. Especially as we have beaten them at home in the last three seasons!
Then after that we have Aston Villa who I also watched a few highlights against Tottenham and whilst they were under the cosh a little bit, that lad Watkins continues to look good and let’s not forget they caused us problems twice last season, so it’ll be a challenge. But these are games that we should be winning if we want to build momentum. You can have off days at the office and just park them if you follow up a disappointing performance/draw against a team like Brighton, if you then put Palace and Villa to the sword. But that’s what this team needs to do when the wretched international break is done with.
And I think I’m done today too. Have a good one and hopefully I’ll catch you tomorrow without a day three of a hangover. That can’t be a thing, can it?
Catch you folks tomorrow.