Arsenal take on Brighton in Tuesday’s Premier League clash.
That feeling is back, one supporters had almost forgotten entirely. At least in the Premier League that is, since Europa League scalps were all Arsenal have had to shout about this season.
So when Bukayo Saka (deliberately) chipped in Arsenal’s third goal against Chelsea, the outpouring of relief was unmistakable. At 1-0, the nerves were strong. At 2-0, the worry remained over the dreaded dangerous scoreline. But at 3-0, fans were the granted freedom relax their muscles.
By no means was victory assured, but it was more so than any other result in the league this season.
Understandably basking in the glory of a London derby win, that triumph over Frank Lampard‘s side counts for absolutely nothing.
Not unless it’s followed up.
The Seagulls have become a surprising bogey side for Arsenal since they reached the top-flight back in 2017. In the six matches between the two since their promotion, victory has only be secured by the north Londoners once. Last season they claimed the double, while that torrid home draw that began the top four collapse under Unai Emery remains a painful memory.
Just like with the Old Trafford win back in November, all this hype and excitement can be poured down the gutter if Graham Potter’s side continue their trend of humiliating Arsenal.
Fans are at their most giddy for weeks. After the run they had to endure, they have every right to be. How quickly, though, will that elation turn to toxicity and discontent if the Gunners come unstuck? How fast until Thomas Tuchel’s odds of replacing Mikel Arteta plummet? Answer for both: immediately.
Arsenal have now built themselves a platform to win football matches. Progression through the thirds is smoother, with greater emphasis centrally, while the forward line is no longer static or constrained.
This isn’t the first time this season similar sentiments have been uttered. Arsenal’s midfield was lauded against Manchester United, only to go missing against Leicester. Having clawed their way back towards a notion of positivity, throwing it away again will start Arsenal back at the foot of an even more treacherous ladder.
The attitude was right on Boxing Day. Maintaining that spirit and starting as strongly as they did against Chelsea will indicate how strong the players’ mental resilience is.
No more Neal Maupay shenanigans. Not this time.