Saturday, May 28, 2022

Lacazette absolutely anonymous and Lokonga not good enough to fill in for Partey in Brighton defeat

ARSENAL’S nightmare week continued as they were stunned 2-1 at home by Brighton.

Leandro Trossard blasted the Seagulls in front on 28 minutes with an emphatic finish.

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Leandro Trossard found the back of the net in style on 28 minutesCredit: Reuters
The defeat could prove costly come the end of the season

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The defeat could prove costly come the end of the seasonCredit: Reuters

Arsenal thought they had equalised on the stroke of half-time but VAR had other ideas.

And Brighton doubled their advantage on 66 minutes through Enock Mwepu’s sweet strike to round off a fine move.

Arsenal finally turned up after 89 minutes when Martin Odegaard struck as they piled the pressure on but could not find that crucial equaliser.

And that may well prove costly for the Gunners in the race for the top four.

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Here’s how SunSport’s Joshua Jones rated Mikel Arteta’s men…

Aaron Ramsdale – 5

An early wayward pass almost set the tone for Arsenal’s performance – below par, drab and disappointing.

Had no chance with the Trossard goal as the Belgian thundered it into the back of the net.

Cedric Soares – 3

Still in the side as Takehiro Tomiyasu remains sidelined – and the Portuguese man just lacks that cutting edge going forward.

He missed the perfect chance to send Bukayo Saka away down the wing when the danger man was pleading for the ball.

Woeful free-kick into the middle of the wall in the perfect place. No idea how he won the argument to take it. Deary me.

Ben White – 6

Strong defensive work to snuff out the danger posed by ex-Arsenal man Danny Welbeck.

Can be one of the few who can head home with a degree of satisfaction over his personal display.

Gabriel – 5

Could, maybe should, have opened the scoring on 26 minutes when he met Saka’s deep cross – but the Brazilian headed against the side netting.

Moments later he played Enock Mwepu onside for the goal.

Granit Xhaka – 4

Moved to left-back in the absence of Kieran Tierney who looks set to be out for the rest of the season and Nuno Tavares dropped after his Selhurst Park struggles.

Started solidly enough but the opening goal exposed the switch – coming down the Arsenal left and then Trossard allowed the space of North London to score.

Was desperate to drift into his usual midfield role too often, leaving the middle clustered and too much space behind.

Martin Odegaard – 6

The Norwegian picked up a yellow for a cynical foul which prevented a Brighton counter.

Unable to weave his usual magic until it was too late.

Hit the bar with a free-kick then scored from miles out thanks to a slight deflection – needed him to step and take the game by the scruff of the neck earlier.

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Albert Sambi Lokonga – 5

Thomas Partey’s critical injury means Arteta was forced to break up his consistent midfield, and it was sorely felt.

That saw the young Belgian slot in as the single pivot but is very much a Partey understudy – a tough gig considering the Ghanaian’s form.

Was nowhere to be seen when Trossard was not tracked into the middle of the box to score then later lost possession on the edge of the area as Mwepu hit a snapshot wide.

Showed a couple of glimpses with driving runs and a close strike but often lacked the killing passing instincts then picked up a late yellow.

Emile Smith Rowe – 4

Almost pounced on a huge stroke of luck to get a rare Gunners shot away on 37 minutes but was deflected behind.

Picked up a knock just before half-time and needed treatment but soldiered on until the hour mark.

The creative midfielder was unable to create anything.

Albert Sambi Lokonga struggled to fill Thomas Partey's boots

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Albert Sambi Lokonga struggled to fill Thomas Partey’s bootsCredit: EPA
Martin Odegaard scored from range late on

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Martin Odegaard scored from range late onCredit: Getty

Bukayo Saka – 6

Saka was Arsenal’s only threat – but often his team-mates thwarted his plans, whether that be Cedric failing to feed him through or Smith Rowe getting in his way.

Clattered by Yves Bissouma as he tried to launch a counter attack but the winger was himself booked early in second half for simulation trying to win a free-kick in a dangerous position.

Alexandre Lacazette – 2

Genuinely forgot he was playing at times. Literally not involved at all.

Gabriel Martinelli – 3

See above – was absolutely anonymous for the first 46 minutes until he headed in from Gabriel’s set-up at a corner cue wild celebrations at the Emirates.

Martinelli was virtually on the goal line, though, and after a lengthy, lengthy VAR check for offside, it was eventually ruled out.

That was pretty much his only involvement in his 74 minutes.

Alexandre Lacazette offered next to nothing for the Gunners

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Alexandre Lacazette offered next to nothing for the GunnersCredit: Reuters
Eddie Nketiah had an injury-time header palmed away

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Eddie Nketiah had an injury-time header palmed awayCredit: Reuters

SUBS:

Eddie Nketiah (for Smith Rowe, 62 mins) – 5

Should have scored with the rebound from Odegaard’s free-kick but also hit the bar. Saw a smart header turned behind deep into injury time.

Nicolas Pepe (for Martinelli, 74 mins) – 5

Looked pretty lively when he came on and tried to create, which is more than can be said for most of his team-mates.

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