Arsenal 2 – 0 Brighton & Hove Albion
For once, Arsène talking about “values” was spot on:
on Arsenal For Everyone…
It is vital, I think it is one of the responsibilities of sport and of football. Personally I preach sometimes in the desert a little bit because, for me, when you listen most of the time to people it’s just about winning, only about buying, but for me a football club is first about values. If I’m 21 years at this club it’s because this is one of the values that we rate and I’m very proud of that.
If you have an issue with that or the club promoting equality, don’t let the door hit you on the arse too hard as you leave.
Three points and unbeaten in the seven games since the last international break. That, I suspect, was the target and job done. Which sums up yesterday: job done and another clean sheet.
The win pulled us into the top five, onto the shoulders of Chelsea and leaves in better heart than the last international break.
Brighton came to defend and they followed their gameplan through to the letter. It was the only ‘disappointing’ aspect of the performance – and I use that phrase guardedly since winning shouldn’t bring disappointment – but we reverted to type when faced with their banks of five and four. Those moments cry out for Santi Cazorla to give us the burst of energy and inventiveness.
Wenger acknowledged that point when he said we weren’t “ruthless enough”. We “lost concentration”, he believed, and gave the ball away too readily in promising situations. That’s a fair assessment. As much as I like Aaron Ramsey, he’s more David Platt than Johan Cruyff; exploit those strengths rather than asking him to be the conductor of the orchestra.
The goals came from unexpected sources. Nacho Monreal hadn’t scored for years and Alex Iwobi doesn’t score as many as he should.
Breaking the deadlock before half-time was imperative and as the half wore on, unlikely. Monreal popped up in the right place as Brighton struggled to clear the ball after Kolasinac’s header back across the face of goal caused mayhem. I doubt there will be a more popular scorer in the stands and on the pitch.
Iwobi’s goal came as a result of Alexis’ intervention. Hailed as selfish and egotistical, I’ll take more of the Chilean’s self-centred behaviour if it leads to the stats he is posting. Let’s be honest here, the only stats which matter are the assists and goals. Everything else for a forward is a construct to serve your own argument.
The move itself was everything Arsène is trying to achieve. The ball travelled the length of the pitch and with one deft flick of the heel landed in Iwobi’s path. With every sublime moment, the contract situation cuts deeper but Alexis is gone and replacing him is next summer’s key task.
Wenger rightly praised Kolasinac for his contribution. At this moment in time, he is shaping to be the ‘buy of the summer’ with his consistency. It will be stunning if he isn’t in the PFA team of the year when that is announced.
Monreal spoke afterwards about the effect of the mauling at Anfield.
We talked because we couldn’t play like we did that day. We lost 4-0 and the image of the team and the club was really poor. From there, the team rallied and we started to play more compact and defended well with everyone in the next few games.
Is a corner turned in defensive work?
The next few games will provide an answer. Three away games on the trot, with the run beginning at Watford. It’s a fixture we expect to win; no matter they occupy a place in the top ten, it’s a game where three points is a must. Everton’s woes continue and if they can just continue for a few games more…
I doubt they will. The knives are out for Koeman who has a surprisingly high number of ‘haters’ at Arsenal. A surname beginning with ‘K’ is the problem; Klopp is on the receiving end of Liverpool venom as well. This is the football the Premier League created and woe betide anyone who isn’t on board.
It makes a pleasant change for other clubs to come and join us in crisis. I doubt they will find it as comfortable as we do.
A good win with the team forging some semblance of form ready for a tougher October / November.