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Arsenal v Brighton & HA, and the champions of the long ball game.

by Bulldog Drummond

There have been 15 games between Arsenal and Brighton dating back to January 1935 when Arsenal won in the FA Cup.  At the start of that month Arsenal were third.  During the course of the month Arsenal played five games (two in the Cup, three in the League) and ended the month top of the league.  (The story of that month is told as part of the Arsenal in the 1930s series on the AISA Arsenal History Society site, and you can read the January 1935 episode here).

The next meeting was the opening day of the 1979/80 season with Brighton having just been promoted from the second division for the first time.  Arsenal won 4-0 in Hove.

Brighton stayed in division one until 1983, and in 1982 did beat Arsenal twice in the league.  The last three games have all been in the FA Cup, away:

Date Match Res Score Competition
30 Jan 1988 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 1-2 FA Cup
26 Jan 2013 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 2-3 FA Cup
25 Jan 2015 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 2-3 FA Cup

So history suggests we should be ok in this match, and indeed Brighton’s performances this season have been modest – although not certainly not disastrous.  They are currently 13th with seven points from six games.   Here are their results so far this season:

Date Match Res Score Competition
12 Aug 2017 Brighton v Man City L 0-2 Premier Lge
19 Aug 2017 Leicester City v Brighton L 2-0 Premier Lge
22 Aug 2017 Brighton  v Barnet W 1-0 League Cup
26 Aug 2017 Watford v Brighton D 0-0 Premier Lge
29 Aug 2017 MK Dons v Brighton L 2-0 FL Trophy
09 Sep 2017 Brighton v West Brom W 3-1 Premier Lge
15 Sep 2017 Bournemouth v Brighton L 2-1 Premier Lge
19 Sep 2017 Bournemouth v Brighton L 1-0 League Cup
24 Sep 2017 Brighton v Newcastle Utd W 1-0 Premier Lge

As the results above suggest, Brighton do much better at home than they are currently doing on their travels – and the results overall contrast with Arsenal who have won the last eight home matches in the Premier League, not letting in a single goal in six of those eight games.  Indeed Arsenal have also scored two or more goals in six of those games.

Brighton have yet to win away so far this season.

If we look at the home form table Arsenal’s strength is second only to Man U, and that only on goal difference.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 3 3 0 0 10 0 10 9
2 Arsenal 3 3 0 0 9 3 6 9
3 Manchester City 3 2 1 0 11 1 10 7
4 Liverpool 3 2 1 0 6 1 5 7
5 Newcastle United 3 2 0 1 5 3 2 6
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 3 2 0 1 4 3 1 6

The fact that Brighton also show up well in that home form chart suggests that they have problems away from home, and this is very much the case…

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 3 3 0 0 10 1 9 9
2 Chelsea 3 3 0 0 8 2 6 9
3 Tottenham Hotspur 3 3 0 0 8 2 6 9
4 Watford 3 3 0 0 6 1 5 9
5 Manchester United 3 2 1 0 7 2 5 7
6 Swansea City 3 1 2 0 2 0 2 5
7 Burnley 3 1 2 0 5 4 1 5
8 Huddersfield Town 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
9 Southampton 2 1 1 0 1 0 1 4
10 Liverpool 3 1 1 1 6 10 -4 4
11 Newcastle United 3 1 0 2 1 2 -1 3
12 West Bromwich Albion 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
13 Stoke City 3 0 1 2 2 4 -2 1
14 Leicester City 3 0 1 2 4 7 -3 1
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

In three games they have scored one goal – which is of course one more than Arsenal, but on this occasion Brighton is the team away from home.

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We might also notice that Brighton, with five yellow cards this season are the best behaved team in this regard.  Arsenal have eight.  Leading in the naughty boy league is Crystal Palace with 15.

They have had 55 shots this season as compared to Arsenal’s 97.  17 have been on target compared to 33 for Arsenal.

Now to move on for a moment to look at one of the stats in detail, and this time it is the long ball game, wherein Brighton lie in third position.

Rank Club Long balls played
 West Ham United
Brighton and Hove Albion
Swansea City
Crystal Palace
Huddersfield Town
West Bromwich Albion
Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City
Stoke City
Newcastle United
AFC Bournemouth
Manchester United
Manchester City

It is interesting to see in this chart where Tottenham are in the long ball league.  They were sixth in the long ball league this season, so not much change, but an approach that belies what many commentators say about them.  Arsenal and Man City were the bottom two last season.

Just one more jolly stat before I wrap it up for today: the number of through balls played this season.  Arsenal lie second in this attribute with 20 (Man U have played 21).  Brighton and Palace are at the bottom of the table each with one so far this season.

I’ll leave it at that for today, and be back tomorrow with some more stats and other issues ahead of the game.

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11 comments to Arsenal v Brighton & HA, and the champions of the long ball game.

  • Jax

    I’ve got no problems with a long ball if it’s constructive. A long diagonal pass from the left/right midfield over the oppositions opposite side defence to an attacking wide player is a real killer and one I’d like to see Arsenal use more often. I think this is where most of Spurs so called ‘long passes’ originate and completely takes the wide defender out of the game if he’s caught a bit too forward a la Bellerin.

  • if arsenal can hold the ball as they did to Chelsea and still win it as the did to Chelsea, then arsenal are good to go.

  • Perseus

    A long diagonal pass from the left/right midfield over the oppositions opposite side defence to an attacking wide player beats the 4-1-4-1 with just the one defensive midfielder and a long ball in the gap left by an advancing full back enables a team with inferior possession to sometimes pinch the points. Not a particularly strong Albion forte, but not weak either. Brighton might attempt to match Arsenal technically, but the current first XI loses out in pace compared to the 2-3 Cup encounters.

  • JimB

    Indeed. There is a vast difference between what is traditionally meant by the “long ball game” in England (i.e. aimless hoofs upfield to a lump of a centre forward in the hopes of the ball falling favourably) and precise, long passes aimed specifically at a team mate in space or running into space.

    Anyone who snobbishly dismisses the latter (which is what Tottenham do) is blindly married to dogma and wrongheaded thinking about what football should be.

  • Hunter13

    in the space of 6 months , the one who can not coach or knows nothing about tactics and finance has :

    changed system for all squads/ reversed roles in key players
    broke f.a cup record
    kept this best players
    has shown that he can live without his best players ( if it comes to that)…which proves the ethos running down from 9 year olds to 35 yearolds
    has sold the ox for 40 million…repeat..the ox…for 40 million ( haaaaaha)
    promoted youth in the competitions everyone wasmoaning about about pedigree and experience
    rejuvenated jack

    willock…what the hell…18 years old and runs the midfield like that??????? bravo …bravo

    keep focused arsenal… keep up the solid work !!! lets shut mouths

    (not particularly worried about alexis or mesut…the conveyor belt keeps on giving…as it should be)

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    With only 2 days in between our last night’s BATE match and our next Sunday’s PL home match against Brighton & HA, for Mustafi, Holding, ElNeny, Walcott and Giroud, this match should come too soon for them to start as the 5 having just played a difficult Europa League Cup match in far away Belerus against BATE last Thursday’s night’s and needing some days rest after supposedly gotten fatigued.

    Therefore, for the Gunners to perform optimally in our Brighton home PL game at the Ems on Sunday, ideally, Le Prof should give all these 5 senior team Gunners a game starting rest but have them all on the bench to come on at the appropriate time in the game he deems fit to bring any of them on.

    Despite the fact that not all these 5 Gunners are regular first team starters, but if Ozil & Iwobi can’t start and if Kolasinac is moved to the left side of the back three to start and Monreal start at the center of the back three while Koscielny start at the right side of it because Mustafi is benched for becoming fatigued, who will Le Prof start as the left wing back in the match? And if Ozil can’t start and Ramsey is moved to the front three again to start, who will replace him in the midfield to start as there is doubt if Iwobi who have started there may not be able to start as he is said to be injured. If my assertions on Mustafi, Iwobi and Ozil not starting this match is in place, and if Ramsey is retained to start in the midfield, then, I think Le Prof will have no choice but to start Walcott in the forward line and start ElNeny and one good youth Gunner I can’t name either sides of the duo. While Bellerin and Kolasinac will start behind the quartet as wing backs provided Mustafi is started in the back three. And of course Sanchez and Walcott will start behind Lacazette in the front three of an Arsenal 3-2-4-1 new playing formation style. Nvnertheless, if Ozil and Iwobi have fully recovered to start, the starting problems will be reduced considerably.

  • para

    Come on AW don’t jinx it(AW said we have become consistent and confident), this is the type of game that if we are not sharp and concentrated that can bite us.

    On paper, should be no problem, but it(winning) does require much more. So don’t get carried away and continue to work hard and be focused while improving, please.

  • colario

    29/09/2017 at 8:37 pm
    Well said, well said.

  • Nitram

    Me too Hunter13, great post.

    But you wait. A home draw against Brighton the aaa’s and media will be claiming the World is coming to an end again.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Well said Hunter13 ! I think many smart alecks on here should quit and try their hand at Palace.
    They need some experts to teach them how to stop them leaking goals, how to score goals and get some points on the board.
    Go on , do it now. We’ll be OK with the old French ditherer! As we have been for over 20 years.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    In other news , this just in –
    The FBI is investigating Hugh Hefner’s death. They suspect foreplay.