Arsenal’s birds eye view of Seagulls
Written By: Robert Halter
Beginning of October 2017 was the first meeting in the league between Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion since February 1983 while the match marked twenty one years in charge for the Gunners manager, Arsene Wenger. In the opening two minutes Aaron Ramsey combined with Alex Iwobi, before a fierce strike was unleashed by Alexandre Lacazette that rattled against the right post, before the ball was turned over by Alexis Sanchez. The Seagulls responded on five minutes, after Isaiah Brown was brought down by Shkodran Mustafi and from a free kick by Pascal Gross, the ball spun off the head of Brown and past the right post. Two minutes later from an assist by Nacho Monreal, a low drive by Alexis Sanchez was comfortably stopped by Matt Ryan. On thirteen minutes from a threaded pass by Sanchez, it cleared the way for Alex Iwobi, who struck the ball directly at Ryan. After Jose Izquierdo pulled down Lacazette, from a free kick by Granit Xhaka, a left footed strike from Mustafi was cleared off the line by Shane Duffy and as Hector Bellerin’s shot from his right foot was blocked by Gaetan Bong, the follow up effort by Monreal was struck off his right boot into the bottom left corner to give Arsenal a goal lead. Midway through the first half, after Davy Propper was fouled by Sead Kolasinac, from a well worked free kick by Dale Stephens, the ball was blasted against the right post from outside the box by Solly March, as the Seagulls were close to an equaliser. On twenty eight minutes through an assist by Kolasinac, racing through, Iwobi shrugged off the challenge of Stephens, before firing his effort directly at Ryan. In the thirty fourth minute, from Bellerin’s pass forward, Lewis Dunk lost his footing, but Lacazette’s follow up strike was comfortably collected by Ryan. In the forty second minute, a cross from the left side of the area by Kolasinac, fell to Ramsey, who in range of the target had his left footed strike saved with the outstretched right boot of Ryan. Before half time, down the left flank, Bong found Izquierdo, whose cross was smashed over by Propper. On fifty four minutes, from a Sanchez delivery, the ball was headed back from Dunk to the safe keeping of Ryan, as Ramsey lurked in the area. Then a minute later, Dunk tried his luck from thirty five yards out, which Petr Cech saved towards the bottom left corner. But Arsenal double their advantage on fifty six minutes, when Sanchez started the move before Lacazette combined with Ramsey, and then from a crafted back heel from Sanchez, the ball was thrashed into the centre of the net from the right peg of Iwobi. On sixty one minutes from a through ball by Kolasinac, a low drive by Sanchez was cleared by the outstretched save of Ryan, and the ball was then scrambled behind by Dunk, and from the resulting corner by Xhaka, a goal bound header from Kolasinac was cleared off the line by the head of Dunk, and then Sanchez drew another low save from Ryan, through an assist by Monreal. In the sixty seventh minute, Dunk made a vital interception to keep out Lacazette, after he had been played through by Sanchez. The Gunners later changed Lacazette with Olivier Giroud and Iwobi with Theo Walcott, while the Seagulls brought on Ezequiel Schelotto for March. After Sanchez was clipped by Dunk, he ballooned a free kick over the wall, before Brighton brought on Anthony Knockaert for Izquierdo and Glenn Murray replaced Brown before Arsenal took off Xhaka for Mohamed Elneny. In the eighty fourth minute, a whipped over cross from the left by Gross, was met with a gliding header by Murray in the six yard box, that went fractions past the top left post. Late pressure was exerted by the Seagulls, when Murray’s rising cross was forced behind by Mustafi and then in stoppage time Gross put the ball over to Propper, who drove his strike wide of the right post but Arsenal responded as from a long ball over by Walcott on the right, the ball was driven in from Sanchez, before Giroud headed over as Arsenal completed a 2-0 win.