Arsenal battled their way to a 1-0 win Premier League win over Brighton on Tuesday.
After ending a seven-match streak without victory against Chelsea on Boxing Day, it was imperative Arsenal didn’t nullify that win with any shortcomings on Tuesday.
A bright start that involved plenty of interchanging and running off the ball appeared to suggest Mikel Arteta‘s side would steer clear of such a fate. Yet for all the positives from that opening ten minutes, the Seagulls weren’t being tested whatsoever and Arsenal began to drift from the game just as the hosts grew into it.
Graham Potter’s side could, and probably should, have gone into half-time at least one goal to the good, something they would come to rue after the Gunners flew out of the blocks after the break.
Everything about Arsenal’s play had more urgency about it, with Robert Sánchez finally being tested. Chances came and went without a goal, until Alexandre Lacazette was brought off the bench and finished off Bukayo Saka‘s dizzying run with a composed finish.
Naturally, it was Brighton who saw the lion’s share of possession as the clock ticked down. The Seagulls pushed for an equaliser, but to no avail, as Arsenal secured hugely welcome back-to-back Premier League victories.
Here’s what we learned.
Arsenal Are Still Way Off
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first, shall we?
Following the elation of victory the positives will naturally be highlighted, although no supporter can confidently claim that Arsenal are a good footballing side. Where the team are now is that they can have spells of quality where all elements click into place, they just can’t be sustained.
Arsenal were dire in that first half.
Having looked bright to begin with, the midfield demons that have perennially plagued this side reared their heads once more. There was not one vertical pass from anyone, let alone Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, as the movement of the forward line faded away with every unseen or unaccounted for run.
After the break the distribution sped up and players had fewer touches on the ball, meaning the forwards had space to attack when found as opposed to bodies in and around them.
That old adage that it’s a reassuring when you can pick up points without playing well rings true here. With every win the confidence will improve and the spells in matches where Arsenal are dangerous will extend – Thomas Partey and new additions will help, too.
Until then, Arsenal can’t get away with playing well for just 20 minutes of matches.