It’s been an eventful day in FA cup action. Non-leaguers Luton Town defeated top flight Norwich, the first time that’s happened since 1989 — also the first time it’s happened beyond the third round since 1949. John Heitinga’s goal at the death ensured Everton would not have to partake in a reply with Bolton. MK Dons throttled QPR at Loftus Road, sending a squad with seven internationals crashing out of the cup. The game I watched in full, well almost in full (feed issues), took place at Amex Stadium.

Fresh off a dominant 5-1 win over West Ham, thanks to 10 minutes of ‘genius’ according to Sam Allardyce, Arsenal looked poised to continue their strong play. Brighton had drawn twice in their prior two league games, but signaled their intentions of being a tough out with an impressive victory over Newcastle in the 3rd round.

In an attempt to try something different, here are my positives and negatives from the match — for both sides. Keyword being my. If the Andre Santos hate gets to extreme I apologize.

The Good

  • Leonardo Ulloa’s first start for The Seagulls was a memorable one. The Argentine striker leveled the game at two in the 62nd minute with an excellent header. Ashely Barnes, scorer of Brighton’s first goal, was the provider.
  • Gus Poyet’s assistant came back from the Emirates with troubling news. If Arsenal replicated their performance against West Ham on Saturday Albion would be finished. Brighton’s problems this season have arose when they sit back. From the onset Poyet’s directions were clear: press, press, press. It worked, thanks in part to Arsenal’s acquiescence.
  • Olivier Giroud continued his torrid play, bagging two more goals.  The first came off a wonderful one-two with Lukas Podolski in the 16th minute. The second was even better. A Song-like ball from Abou Diaby was welcomed by Giroud with an excellent touch, the finish equally sublime. 13 goals and 9 assists all told — not bad.
  • I’ll get to my issues with Arsene later, but the three substitutions he made in the second half were well timed and desperately needed. Wilshere, Gibbs and Walcott added stability to a team that was all over the place for large stretches of the match. Walcott’s deflected strike–Sweden!–in the 85th minute was the difference.
  • Both supporter groups were loud and inventive with their chants. Brighton’s in particular cut deep.

The Bad

  • Arsenal’s zonal marking scheme is an embarrassment. My qualms are not with the scheme itself, but rather, Wenger and Bould’s decision to use it in the first place. Arsenal’s  defenders do not have the mental ability to play it. It’s the same story over and over again. More troublesome is the stubbornness of the coaching staff.
  • Andre Santos needs to be left in the southeast. Brighton destroyed him all game, creating their two goals from the left wing. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me several times and I’m an idiot. I’d like to think Wenger is not an idiot — he’s not — but come on. Kieran Gibbs needed rest before next week’s huge game against Liverpool, but the fact that the Gunners don’t have an adequate second team LB is ridiculous.
  • Casper Ankergren and Adam El-Abd will do well to forget this one.
  • The fact that Wilshere, Gibbs and Walcott had to come on to save this game from disaster tells it all. The Gunners have zero depth.

As stated before, Arsenal welcome Liverpool to the Emirates on Wednesday in a game with major table implications. Brighton, currently sitting seventh in the Championship, travel to Sheffield Wednesday next Saturday.


Comments (10)

  1. I agree with all your points Devang. Zonal marking scheme needs to be thrown out ASAP. I am so tired of seeing Santos playing LB. That man doesn’t know a thing about defending nor can he shoot a ball properly. Two f**king howlers today! I was hoping Santos could have improved at his time at Arsenal but this isn’t the case. He needs to go back to the Brasilerio and forget his experiences at the London club.

    Zero depth and no chances for first team players to get a rest. Wenger needs to loosen the purse strings and make a purchase or two this upcoming week. But like usual it’ll be a rash buy and crap players with zero future of improving. I am really scared that we won’t qualify for Champions League next season, let alone Europa League. So how does that financial standing going to work when you aren’t getting payments from UEFA…

  2. I would not crucify Santos. He was up against Will Buckley who is very good and would torn Gibbs apart. Good decision to use a more defensive defender. The injuries disrupted Brighton and put their plans out of cinque for the second half.

    Arsene Wenger is still a superb manager and strategist. The Arsenal defending from the corner was laughable. This is tactics. I think both managers need a set piece tactician.

    • “Will Buckley who is very good and would turn Gibbs apart…”

      The cough syrup guy better than Kieran Gibbs? I guess we’ll have to take your word for it…..

      “..their plans out of cinque…” Out of five?


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