Leaving the Amex Stadium with a point in the end proves to be valuable. Arsenal were not at the races whatsoever against Brighton and considering the level of performance, not losing the game has to be seen as a positive.
Three points were the desired, of course. It’s always the aim, especially against a side missing key players, but in the end if you don’t deserve to win just make sure you don’t lose.
In such instances in the Premier League where chances and efforts at goal are few and far between, you have to make them count. The only thing that was being counted against Brighton was how many metres high Thomas Partey’s shots went.
It’s incredible, really, that a player of undoubted Champions League quality can be so absolutely hopeless at striking a ball. Goodness gracious, someone has to put and arm around Partey and beg him to stop shooting. He’s dreadful at it.
We need to talk about Thomas Partey’s shooting in an Arsenal shirt as the Ghanaian is hopeless at striking the ball
The free-kick in the first half stands out. Close your eyes to see who was taking it and you’d have been forgiven for thinking it was a David Luiz special. A good 30 or more yards away from goal, a player who rarely hits the target let alone has scored for the club should not be going for the target.
There was one very presentable chance at the end of the first half where he tried to curl one into the near post with his instep, ending up a good five yards wide. You want the player in that position to be shooting from there, just ideally not Partey. Preferably, not Partey. Please, not Partey.
After the break there was another languid swing which ended up as catching practice for the Arsenal fan in row Z, as yet another collective groan could be heard from every corner of north London. His xG per shot at Arsenal? 0.046. It’s just giving possession away.
It’s actually quite puzzling. Partey may not have had an especially functional evening in a tough ground, shooting aside, but he is hands down the best midfielder at the club and someone who should be playing at the highest level of European competition. The Ghanaian is a brilliant footballer.
So the disparity between his on-the-ball ability and kicking it at the goal rather than a teammate is fairly inexplicable. Whatever happens next in training must be Steve Round and Mohamed Elneny sitting him down for two hours every session and schooling him the art of shooting.
Perhaps that’s why Elneny has been kept on. Maybe the sole reason he’s here for the remainder of his contract is to fine-tune his teammate’s technique. Truthfully, it if works, it’ll be worth every penny of his salary.