By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal starting their last home match with a few changes. Maitland-Niles is suspended after his amazing double yellow card at Leicester so we see Lichtsteiner for the first time in a long time and probably a last time.
Arsenal team: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Özil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
On the beach : Cech, Koscielny, Kolasinac, Elneny, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Nketiah
The ref starting with igrnoring a couple of fouls on different Arsenal players but the ball still ends up in front of Mkhitaryan who has a shot that hits the post and then Özil was offside for the rebound. A good start that could have resulted in a goal in the first minutes. Monreal goes down at the edge of the penalty area and to my surprise the ref gives a penalty for Arsenal. Aubameyang behind the ball and he burries the gift from the ref. GOAL! 1-0 to The Arsenal after 8 minutes.
For me it wasn’t a penalty to be honest. Sokratis then is fouled by a Brighton player in their half and gets a yellow card for a dive. Taylor seems lost. As he is a lot of times. Still 1-0 after 15 minutes.
A free kick in a dangerous position for Brighton ends up in a ball bouncing around in the Arsenal penalty area. An appeal for a penalty but the ball clearly hit Sokratis on the upper shoulder so no penalty at all. Leno then with a bad moment giving the ball away on the edge of our own penalty area resulting in a few anxious moments in our own penalty area but in the end the ball is headed by Murray but Leno can stop the effort on the goal line. Arsenal with a short corner routine but it lead to absolutely nothing. Still 1-0 after 30 minutes.
A player places himself to prevent Leno from moving at a corner and the ball goes just wide at the far post. Lacazette almost intercepts a bad clearance from a Brighton defender but Ryan is first on the ball. Brighton now going forward more so we get a bit more an open match. Mustafi with a low header after a corner but the keeper can stop the ball. Lacazette at the end of a long ball but he can’t control it so he has to go wide and then the chance is gone. Özil picks out Aubameyang who takes it first time but an amazing reaction from Ryan prevents the ball going in. Torreira with a shot after the corner but it got a deflection. Arsenal now playing better after a rather slow spell but we can’t add to the score for the moment. Özil finds Lacazette with a great ball but he is outnumbered in the penalty area. Mkhitaryan with a thunderhous shot saved by the keeper and then Lacazette is denied by a defender on the line. Taylor then missing a corner for Arsenal. Gross goes in the book for holding Aubameyang right before the end of the firt half. We go in at half time 1-0 in front.
Mustafi with a great ball to Aubameyang in the opening seconds but the Gabon striker missed his control. Leno again being blocked at 2 corners from Brighton but the ref gives and does nothing to protect the keeper. Leno with a good stop on a low shot after that. Arsenal have a few free kicks around the Brighton penalty area but the ball hits the wall each time. Some good ideas with the passing but the execution not completely perfect for Arsenal. Arsenal caught in two minds a bit; Xhaka brushes a Brighton player on a counter and Taylor points to the spot and gives him a yellow card. Murray scores. 1-1 after 60 minutes.
Let us say two soft penalties from Taylor. Brighton almost away on a counter but Arsenal can clear and then Dunk gets a yellow card for holding Lacazette when Arsenal tried to get a counter going. Lichtsteiner then goes in the book for dissent after he was called back when the assistant who was 5 meter away didn’t see a foul but Taylor did see something from 30 meters away.
Arsenal win a few corners but Aubameyang shoots the last one over the crossbar. Aubameyang with a shot from distance but Ryn could stop the central placed shot. I wonder if some of our players are getting some tired legs. A cross from Mkhitaryan finds Aubameyang but he fires the ball wide…
Lacazette then with some great skills but again Ryan can block him for a corner. Lacazette has another shot but a double deflection results in a corner. 1-1 after 75 minutes.
A triple substitution for Arsenal Lichtsteiner goes off for Kolasinac, Xhaka goes off for Iwobi and Mkhitaryan goes off for Guendouzi after 76 minutes. Arsenal must win to at least get a sniff of a chance on getting in to 4th place. Aubameyang just can’t make contact with a low cross from Iwobi. Guendouzi gets a yellow card for taking the ball in his hands when going down. Mustafi also gets a yellow card for dissent. Brighton counter and Leno with a great stop and then hit the woodwork in the rebound…. Lacazette at the other end can’t connect with a cross from Aubameyang. A cross hits the hand of a Brighton player in the penalty area but Taylor has had enough of penalties I think. Lacazette goes down in the penalty area but again no reaction from Taylor. 3 minutes of extra time.
We had enough chances to win the match but we didn’t do enough in the end to win it. 1 points out of 12 is simply not good enough to get in to the CL again. Oh and Taylor is a very much useless referee. But we knew that before today. This was our 7th match under him. That equals a total of 21 points under a complete incompetent referee…