Photo via PA
Arsenal was blown out by Manchester City 3-0 this past Wednesday as David Luiz’s blunders caused two goals and Arsenal to be down a man most of the second half. That was a bad loss, but since they had a game in hand, the loss was not costly and there was some hope for a possible turnaround. They took on Brighton & Hove Albion today as Arsenal looked to rebound from Wednesday’s brutal loss. Instead, they suffered an even more humiliating loss.
Arsenal lost 2-1 to Brighton, which is impressive considering Arsenal had the lead with about 20 minutes left in the match. In the first half, Arsenal’s defense and front line played well. Bakuyo Saka had a strong half but Arsenal could not break the deadlock. In the 35th minute, Brighton striker Neal Maupay collided with Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno, resulting in an injury for Leno.
In the second half, winger Nicolas Pepe scored an incredible curler to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead in the 69th minute. Pepe showed why Arsenal paid 72 million euros for his services. As one would expect with Arsenal, the lead did not last long. A poorly defended corner allowed Brighton captain Lewis Dunk to tap home an equalizer in the 75th minute. To make matters worse, Maupay, the player who injured Leno, buried the game-winner in stoppage time to give Brighton a 2-1 victory. Arsenal choked away this game and David Luiz cannot be blamed this time. A lackluster midfield and an inability to defend late were the biggest factors of their loss.
Attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil has not played during Project Restart (phrase for the Premier League’s return). No clear reason has been given to explain his absence. He was sorely missed today as the passing of the midfield (especially Dani Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi) was awful. Passes were constantly intercepted and there was little movement in the midfield. Most of the passing came from the wings. It is hard to have an offensive rhythm when one area of the attack is weak.
The main culprit of the defeat, however, was shoddy defense down the stretch. How Dunk was able to tap in a goal with three defenders around him boggles my mind. The form and technique defending that cover was awful and Dunk deserved to score there. That leads us to centre-back Shokdran Mustafi (a defender notorious for giving up goals), who once again let the attacker run right by him for a game-winner. There is no way that should have happened.
Manager Mikel Arteta has a lot of work to do. It continues to be obvious that Arsenal cannot find success with the squad they have now. As I said in my video for The Rich Report after the Man City loss, there needs to be an overhaul of the squad as the team now continues to fail. Blow it up, Arteta. This is unacceptable. Arsenal was doubled up by Brighton for the first time ever and Brighton hadn’t won a game since December.
Things need to change now.