Arsenal suffered a blow in their race for the top four places as they struggled and could only manage a 1-1 draw against Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
An early Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal set the tone for Arsenal’s game against Brighton, only for things to fall apart and then concede a freak goal. After conceding the equaliser, the Gunners never really recovered and as opposed to most of their second-half performances the one against Brighton was drab and lacked imagination.
Arsenal could not break Brighton upon conceding the equaliser as Unai Emery desperately failed in his tactical nous against Chris Houghton’s side. Aubameyang was the focal point for Arsenal all throughout the game and he was fortunate enough to have chances falling at his feet, although he could be deemed unlucky not to have finished it.
Brighton, on the other hand, looked lively during many periods of the game and ensured they kept a tightrope between them and Arsenal’s attackers. Here’s how Arsenal’s players fared against Brighton during their 1-1 draw.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
Made the saves that he had to and ensured Arsenal commanded their box for most periods. Then there was the question of the Brighton equaliser, as a lot of blame can be easily pinned on the goalkeeper. While he was given very little option after Lichtsteiner’s error, his uncertain decision making made it easy for Jurgen Locadia to round him before scoring for Brighton.
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 5.5/10
Lichtsteiner had a challenging game and was responsible for Brighton getting their equaliser. Focusing on the error, he scrambled for a header and miserably failed at it, letting Locadia have the ball and score. That goal clearly showed his lack of athleticism and speed. Early on, before that goal, Lichtsteiner had his battle on the other end of the pitch with Locadia, which the Swiss was getting the better of.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 6.5/10
A good game from Sokratis. With each match, his form is improving and the Greek is slowly becoming indispensable. Against Brighton, Sokratis was strong, and his positioning was nearly perfect at all times. For the goal conceded, it wasn’t his fault or Koscielny’s because they were engaged in a corner on the other end of the pitch when the quick release from Brighton took place.
Laurent Koscielny: 6/10
There could be a debate about Koscielny’s performance. To start with, he was good and did not ever show the lack of understanding between him and his partner, for they were playing together for the first time. On the other hand, many saw the rusty side of Koscielny and he was taken off after an hour on the pitch. However, there are signs he is coming back to his usual self, and a few more games could help.
Sead Kolasinac: 6/10
The Brighton game showed a somewhat restricted side of Kolasinac. Although he did decently during the entire game, Arsenal are better off with a back three as opposed to a back four, when the Bosnian starts. Kolasinac needs to adapt to this side of the game, as it is clear that Emery is not going to change the formations just to accommodate him.
Lucas Torreira: 6.5/10
Torreira was not his usual self, showing a somewhat conservative style of play, possibly due to him threading the fine line between another yellow card and the subsequent suspension for the Liverpool game. The Uruguayan lost the ball five times and was at the end of some poor decision making. Did play a significant role in the only goal Arsenal scored.
Granit Xhaka: 7/10
It was some sort of a relief when Xhaka was back in midfield. The Swiss jointly led the team for chances created and his defending was quite good. In fact, it got better when he was pulled back into the defensive three after Koscielny’s withdrawal. Overall, Arsenal need a back-three, with Xhaka starting in midfield.
Matteo Guendouzi: 6/10
Guendouzi has the energy in him that could power up the game, although he also has the desperation at times which can leave everything disjointed. He loses the control that he has and adds a bit of sloppiness to his game, something that often becomes apparent in games such as Wednesday’s.
Mesut Ozil: 5/10
There was no surprise whatsoever when Ozil was hauled off at half-time. The German playmaker created one chance and was mentally absent from the game for the 45 minutes he lasted on the pitch. He was our player to watch in the build-up to the game but disappointed throughout.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7/10
It was a big surprise that Lacazette was taken off after an hour, when he was undoubtedly one of the best players for Arsenal on the pitch, especially with his side needing goals. Lacazette was the architect in creating that opening goal, as he sucked in all five defenders on to him before providing the assist for Aubameyang’s goal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 7.5/10
Clearly the best performer for Arsenal against Brighton. Got the goal which keeps him ahead of other Golden Boot rivals, but he could have scored more. Was a livewire early on and did arrive at the end of some excellent chances created for him. Overall, Aubameyang will be disappointed that he didn’t put the game away when he had the opportunities.
Aaron Ramsey: 6.5/10
Ramsey was good when he came on and showed a kind of innovation and creativity that Arsenal seemed to have lacked all throughout the game. However, to his dismay his teammates did not take the chances he created well, and thus failed to score any more goals.
Alex Iwobi: 5/10
There apparently has been a downward spiral in form for Iwobi from what he showed during the earlier part of the season. Came on at half-time to replace Ozil, but was not any better. Made a few direct runs at defenders, but was quickly taken out of the equation by Brighton. He needs to improve to be part of the team for the rest of the season.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 6/10
Maitland-Niles’ introduction did add a different dimension to Arsenal’s attack from the right and he was an upgrade to Lichtsteiner in the wing-back position. However, there were times when he showed too much anxiousness on the ball, which might have cost the side some chances when they needed it the most.