Brighton Preview: Keeping Momentum Building

Brighton pitch up at the Emirates for today’s Premier League clash and the expected win will lift us at least one place higher by the end of the day. That caps off what’s been a good four weeks for the club since the last international break, on the pitch at least.

Five wins and a draw in the six games since the mauling at Anfield might be what was expected from a run including four home games but you can only beat the opposition put in front of you. The draw at Stamford Bridge was an excellent performance. Manchester City’s win yesterday offered some perspective over what an expensively acquired squad of players can do against a slightly less expensively acquired set of players.

Deriding Guardiola as a chequebook manager misses the point. City were playing the tika-taka at a level we’ve strived for; yesterday underlined by how much we’ve fallen short. They aren’t without their shortcomings and are far from invincible but given the choice between the current top two, I know which one I want to implode and it isn’t City.

That thought is for another day. Nobody is surprised that Brighton find themselves in the relegation fight. The only surprise would be if Chris Hughton hadn’t prepared his players for this scenario all summer. Sadly for them, I expect this to be their season in the sun.

They too perked up recently and have currently conceded fewer goals than ourselves, a stat worth remembering on soccer betting NZ. It underlines that we’re going to face another well-drilled and obdurate defence. An early goal for this early kick-off will settle everyone nicely and provide a strong platform to build upon.

Arsène’s dilemma is whether the same XI – more or less – which outplayed West Brom is the answer today? Most likely is the answer.

In such a small, small game

Question marks hang over Laurent Koscielny’s fitness with a “long-standing” achilles problem, according to Arsène. There’s a strong case for resting him in any case although Didier Deschamps probably wouldn’t agree to follow that policy.

Unlike Joachim Löw who omitted Mesut Özil from the German squad for their upcoming fixtures. That in itself is a sign this is a genuine injury, not one contract-driven. His absence means Aaron Ramsey continuing in the freer role, notionally on the right, supported by Hector Bellerin.

Thursday’s performance offers the prospect of Jack Wilshere returning to the starting line-up, to the chagrin of many. Despised by those who perceive him as the ‘poster boy for malcontents’, his inclusion has been suggested at the expense of Xhaka.

Wrong position. Wilshere isn’t a defensive midfielder; bringing the best out of him means an attacking role at Özil’s expense. Certainly in the big away games, he would offer more involvement with the German too easily marginalised by our own ineptitude as much as the opposition’s gameplan.

And we need to plan for the future. Talk this morning is of offering Jack a four-year deal and who knows, may  see ‘Arsenal’ return to his social media profiles. Özil, come the summer, is yesterday’s man and we need to be looking ahead. The decision to omit him from the starting line-up at Stamford Bridge was part of that process, as well as the over-riding sense of now in football. The German’s place at kick-off is less assured than it once was.

The line-up I expect Wenger to go with today is:

Cech; Mustafi, Koscielny/Holding, Monreal; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Lacazette, Alexis

No great surprises in the XI and with the points sealed, could see the introduction of some youngsters to give them Premier League experience.

You got to play it, Billy

The pairing of Xhaka and Elneny is crucial. City offered a strong example of the value of recycling possession effectively yesterday and we must follow suit. Keeping the pressure on the visitors instead of tippy-tappy crab football is vital. Against West Brom, we were hugely effective in that aspect of the game and we need a repeat of that.

We also need to be tighter at the back. Pulis’ men had several opportunities which were too close for comfort as we failed to put them to the sword. That’s nothing new but today, let’s close the game down and be stronger at the back.

And take three points. When we return, it’s three away games on the bounce so going into that run in good heart is vital.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

88 thoughts on “Brighton Preview: Keeping Momentum Building

  1. Thanks once again Yogi to the point as always.

    I would like to see Wilshire in the Ozil role, rather than my personal bete noir Ramsey, but I doubt Wenger would risk him so soon after his ninety minutes in Belarus.

    Three points is the only target for today, although an improvement in goal difference would be welcome.

  2. City were very good but Chelsea were off the pace & seemed to suffer from their midweek exertions.

    As for us today it’s simple. Concentrate & be professional & we will almost certainly win.

    Same side as played WBA.

  3. Super Post, YW.

    I did not know/realise that there were ill feelings towards l’il ol’Jack – don’t understand why – those bloody injuries are not his fault. Maybe the way he runs into dangerous tackles, or tackles with the outside of his foot is his ‘fault’ but …….. anyway, I hope he continues to recover and regain his fitness and stays with us.

    I am kind of biased because I had watched him often, playing for the youth teams, when I was working in London, and he was always well ahead of all the other kids, and I consider him a Gooner.

    Anyhoo, a potentially much worse problem is the inevitability of Kozzer’s career being curtailed by his chronic inflammation of the achilles. Our back line is already dodgy and if he is unable to play as much as usual for the remainder of the season that could be a serious problem for our shakey defence.

  4. Here’s the line-up: Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ramsey, Sanchez, Lacazette, Iwobi.

  5. Morning,

    and another fine post. Thanks YW.

    Nicky,

    To all intents and purposes Stan is the outright owner of the company, but Usmanov has enough shares to ensure that he can’t have it all his own way. It’s down to some general parts of company law which try to ensure that a majority shareholder cannot just do what he wants and stiff other shareholders in the porcess. These are not hidden restrictions, but they do mean that in some cases Usmanov would have a say. General events which require shareholders to vote, such as the reappointment of a director, or the approval of the auditors report are ordinary resolutions which require a simple majority of those voting. Therefore Stan would be able to swing any of these even if Usmanov were to vote against them. Events out of the ordinary can also be voted on and these can be classed as extraordinary resolutions. Extraordinary resolutions usually require 75% of shares voting to be in favour to be passed. This means that Usmanov can vote down any extraordinary resolution given his 30% stake in the club. Generally it means very little, as most resolutions would be ordinary, but Usmanov could throw a spanner in the works. As an aside, Usmanov is allowed to put his own resolutions up at a shareholder meeting as he has over 10%. These have to be tabled in advance and would then still have to be voted on. He is not allowed to put himself forward as a director, another director would have to nominate him and the decision would be subject to a vote (ordinary resolution and therefore simple majority).

    Funny thing, company law. 🙂

  6. Brighton must have the shortest defence in the Premiership, at least namewise : Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, March.

  7. The press love the headlines. Arsenal make nine changes for the game today. They made nine changes for the game on Thursday, so it must make more sense to compare the changes to our last Prem game.

  8. That’s all very well, Wavey – but they have two subs called Bing and Bang the younger brothers of Bong.

    Some of those players don’t get on, and I understand that Bong would like to dunk Duffy.

  9. Quite liking this line-up – should be more than capable against Brighton.
    The Ramsey/Xhaka axis coped against Chelsea so hopefully, they will strike a similar balance in this game.
    Iwobi needs the step up a bit now – he’s been somewhat underwhelming after a bright start to his career.

  10. Wavey,

    I was really impressed with your knowledge of the provisions of the Companies Act 2006.

    Kudos. 😀

    I have no idea where that shareholder story started and it just seems idle speculation to me.
    Actually, if I was Usmanov or at least had his shareholding I would probably/definitely sell.

    Arsenal have not issued any dividends for years, so Usmanov’s shares have not earned any money, and the money would be better off in the bank or re-invested elsewhere, altho they have probably appreciated in value IF there was a buyer prepared to pay for them, other than Stan, of course, who has Usmanov over a barrel in that respect.

    One key difference to these guys and ‘ordinary’ investors is that they are billionaires and they dance to a different tune to the rest of us.

    A billion — sounds like a million — with a different starting letter — but written down it makes the eyes water — one thousand,million pounds/dollars/euroes, or £1,000,000,000. Ouch. Can you lend me a few bob? 😀

    [It used to cause me a problem in my youth, because the UK definition of a billion used to be 1,000,000,000,000 or 1 million, million — whereas the US version was the one I showed above and which the UK now complies with, i.e 1,000 * 1,000,000. I’m over it now!!] 😀

  11. He properly spanked that one. Usually likes to pass them into the goal, but showed that he has got a bit of power when needed.

  12. Wavey,

    Probably just me but I always think that Monreal looks just like Kevin Richardson.

    Blimey, great shot and they miss a sitter with the rebound.

  13. andy1886,

    No one goes to the ball though. Still so slow at closing down outside the box. Could have conceded yet another wonder strike when we just need to be quicker at getting to the ball.

    So Crouch is a lanky Richardson? I can see that.

  14. This is so much pedestrian rubbish, when we get a chance to move ball up field Cech puts the ball out of play on the half way line.

  15. Frankly, no one can convince me that our CBs are the right quality.

    Every attack, especially crosses makes panic set in. Pace or the lack of it is part of the problem – Xhaka, Holding and Mustafi turn and run like geriatric penguins — whatever fuel Meat uses he must have given those three the same stuff.

    As for pressing when we lose the ball – that’s just for people with big feet crushing grapes to make wine. Have we ever pressed the ball since we have been at the Emirates?

  16. What is significant is that Arsenal’s goal was scored by Monreal, using his right boot, something his colleague Gibbs was unable to do. 😉

  17. Great set up and we’ll put away by Iwobi. Should be looking to put them to the sword and improve goal difference now.

  18. Sanchez didn’t seem that interested in the first half, but looks like he’s well up for it now. Could see him and Lacazette both scoring.

  19. Still not a great passer though. A better ball into Lacazette could have seen him roll the defender and be in on goal.

  20. Your bête noir Rambo has been dreadful today, Orson.

    The Hare and the tortoise coming on you say — the big tortoise and the little tortoise for me.
    Does Walcott ever run nowadays?

  21. I thought El Kebong might have been thru there.

    The second half was pretty poor really. The fans clapping and pleased with their team’s efforts are …… BHA.

    The Arsenal fans have long gone home.

  22. Giroud with a routine missed header.

    Oh well it’s the three points that matter, but what a boring game.

  23. 3 points and creeping up the table again after our usual (nowadays) lousy start. Didn’t feel that we were bothered about cranking up the pressure once the second goal went in. Sanchez looked like he was up for it for a spell, but the substitutions seemed to put paid to that. Did Walcott touch the ball?

  24. A very Arsenal performance – apt on Wenger’s 21st anniversary. Comfortable three points but pulling up any trees. A top six performance but the likes of Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and the two Mancs will put Brighton to the sword at home.

  25. Wavey,

    “Did Walcott even touch the ball?”

    He crossed the ball twice – the first one hit the defender 3 metres in front of him – and went for a corner. The second cross was misdirected and went over every one in the box.

    He had two other touches – and fell over one – and the ball went into touch on the other.

    Well worth £150K per week.

  26. Boring, monotonous, tedious, dull uninteresting, unexciting, unvaried, mind numbing, etc. etc. etc. Ad nauseam.

    But hey we moved up to fifth, we’re in the running for the Europa League again, so shouldn’t complain.

  27. A great performance by the team…..

    Congratulations to Arsene for the new record – beating a 45th PL side – only longevity in management affords such. Huddersfield and one more season means he’ll add to that number.

    To the game…
    Should have won by a higher margin – some good defending by Brighton.
    With more work, more goals will come in – getting a lot on target but missing out on goals either due to a good block, save or less-sharper accuracy.
    Unlike last season wherein the accuracy and conversion rate was the best in the league – I believe the team will get better since they have it in them. A full-throttle Alexis will have us scoring more goals – Lacazette definitely will boost it further (how I wished he scored in a 4th straight home game – with that cannon off the post)

    The defence is also getting better after the issues at Liverpool and home to Leicester. Whether they are the best crop or not, they’ve kept 4 clean sheets now and I believe the understanding and grit will mature as the season grows.

    Three more points – we have tried keeping the pace, I hope we have no further threatening performance setbacks in the season – some ground to cover and I believe the team can do it.

  28. > Congratulations to Arsene for the new record – beating a 45th PL side – only longevity in > management affords such.

    A fantastically useless stat.

  29. Just watched the game recorded.

    Had the hallmarks of one of those where you don’t put the game to bed at 1-0 and they nick one back for a draw. Until Iwobi won it.

    Thought the movement looked okay until we scored and it all went static again until half time???

  30. Family day out so only just saw the highlights having listened to radio 5….

    Please can we be pleased with the win, just for a few mins chaps ?

  31. Well done the Barcodes! One all draw with Liverpuddle.

    We keep our fifth place and look good for Europa League qualification.

  32. DALM,

    I’m pleased with the win but frustrated that after twenty years of playing against massed defences we still haven’t learnt how to break them down and we still looked vulnerable to a quick break. Plus ca change and all that.

  33. DALM,

    Nobody is displeased with collecting the three points. Creeping up the table isn’t a bad thing and we have had a solid run of results. Today was a real chance to clock up some goals though. Brighton defended well, but we did seem to settle with what we had halfway through the second half. They’ve done better against us in the FA Cup than they did today.

  34. well – a win is a win and last season it felt like we were losing games like today….

    I’m getting the bunting out !

  35. Good game preview, thanks to the author. And I love those black&white irrelevant photos. Or are they relevant I am missing the trick here?

    Dalm – bloody right, Leicester won the League that way 🙂

    I am still trying to work out why Jonny ‘fecked’ 3 mins into the game…21 guys in the same half?

  36. Eddie
    The pictures are a cryptic clue to the post. You are probably missing the same trick as everyone else :)….and he seldom gives an answer.

  37. DALM,

    I compare the comments section to a chat down the pub, especially after a game. Sometimes everyone is buzzing about a great performance and other times you’ve watched the worst shower of shit you have ever seen. Games like yesterday’s sit somewhere on the scale in between, we’re happy with the three points but know there was something lacking. If you were in the pub after a game like that you’d be discussing how we did the job required, but that we didn’t really kill them off. To be fair, we didn’t need to and I don’t think it ever looked like they could win. There is a small dissatisfaction though, as we looked like we could roll over them and, for some reason, didn’t.

  38. And possession-based football isn’t great to watch unless you are going to win 20-0. You end up camped outside your opponent’s area continually probing a packed defence. We are guilty of slowing it down even further by passing up shooting opportunities and electing for that extra pass. It was great to see Lacazette have a crack from outside the area. Power with precision and it almost came off.

  39. Michael – no clues?? no answers?? strange game if you ask me.
    ok, Chaplin and his companion are Brighton supporters and are watching the game thinking ‘shit, those Gunners are solid, they’ll demolish us’

  40. orson – the ‘fecking’ by Jonny? yes, you might be right, it was some powershot

    Funny fish those internationals; I always loathe them but at least we have footy during the summer. In the past our boys would always come back injured, but not lately.

    What was that story with van Judas breaking his leg and getting treatment from a Croatian woman who used horse placenta?? I am sure it was something crazy like that 🙂

  41. Eddie,

    Well if it was a broken leg, the treatment must have worked like a miracle because he wasn’t out of action for long. 😀

    Definitely too many interlulls, we’ve only played seven games and we’re already into the second break. Some Internationals must have played more games for their countries than their clubs.

  42. Moaning All, 🙂

    Eddie in the headline ‘photo, the one on the left is the inestimable ‘C’ the youngest blogger on here. Not sure who the one on the right is.

  43. Didn’t see the match but sounds like I didn’t miss much. I’ll get on later but my focus is on trying to reach my mate who is in Vegas and was staying at the hotel.

    I know most on here don’t live in the States but please pray for us and more specifically Las Vegas were a 64 year old man (I think that’s the correct age) turned a Country Music Festival literally into a killing zone. Thus far the number has reached 50 dead and 200+ injured with the number of dead expected to rise significantly. Its the deadliest mass shooting in US history, the fucking coward sat in his room at the hotel and like a sniper at war, he picked off innocent civilians as they tried to enjoy life.

  44. C,

    That’s a truly shocking and horrible thing to happen, my thoughts are with the families and friends of the innocent victims. C, I hope your friend is safe and well.

  45. C,

    Heartfelt sympathies to all those impacted by the terrible events in Vegas. Why anyone would want to commit such an atrocity is beyond understanding for most decent people. All we can do is hope that as many of those injured as possible make a full physical recovery and get the help that they need to deal with the mental scars.

  46. YW:
    > Congratulations to Arsene for the new record – beating a 45th PL side – only longevity in > management affords such.

    A fantastically useless stat.

    true – it would be more interesting to know what managers have lost to the most number of different clubs…a marginally less useless stat

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