Brighton v Arsenal: the teams and Arsenal’s progress since Christmas Day

By Bulldog Drummond

Slowly, very slowly, others are catching on to the fact that if one wants to know how teams really are progressing one doesn’t just measure results from the start of the season to the end, but rather if you really want to know what is going on you should also take a look at measuring other time spans.

And the BBC have just done this saying Brighton’s “tally of seven clean sheets in Premier League home matches this calendar year is exceeded only by Manchester City and Chelsea, who each have nine.”

Of course they won’t do anything like this about Arsenal, because talking up Arsenal statistics is simply what the media doesn’t do, but if they took, for example, results from last Christmas until this morning the league table would read like this if we examine what happened to the clubs who were the top eight for matches on Christmas Day 2020.

Post Club Last season post Xmas pts This season pts Total
1 Manchester City 60 13 73
2 Manchester United 47 13 60
3 Arsenal 47 9 56
4 West Ham United 44 11 55
5 Chelsea 42 13 55
6 Liverpool 38 14 52
7 Leicester City 39 7 46
8 Tottenham Hots 37 9 46

Thus it is just as legitimate to say Arsenal’s total number of points since last Christmas for the “big six” (plus if you want to include them, West Ham and Leicester, who have been making inroads of late), is the third best in the league.

There is one other point about Brighton and that is their propensity to give away penalties.   Since they last arose into the Premier League they have given away 24.   Tottenham of course are the biggest penalty givers with 26 – they make it a style of play, and Leicester, whose fouling and tackling we have made the subject of a special study here, come next with 25.

As for Arsenal the BBC do admit that we have won nine of our last 15 Premier League away games (drawing two of the others), and only Manchester City and Liverpool have done better.

And so finally onto the teams. Sport Mole offer


Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney;

Lokonga, Partey;

Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe;



Which by and large is pretty easy to predict so I am surprised other publications are dropping out of the team prediction lark.  The Standard and TalkSprout have nothing on the subject that I could find.  The Guardian however go with exactly the same as the Sporting Mole.

As indeed does the Short Fuse but they also give us a beach which has playing on it Bernd Leno, Nuno Tavares, Rob Holding, Cedric, Mohamed Elneny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and so as not to get lonely, Alexandre Lacazette

What they also do, and which I thought was a good innovation, is give us a list of first team players who therefore having nothing at all to do with the game:

Arthur Okonkwo, Sead Kolasinac, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Eddie Nketiah, & Folarin Balogun.

Pain in the Arsenal also have a preview without a team, but to finish on a more positive note, Radio Times  also has the standard line up, so we are all in agreement for once.  Mind you, it would be pretty radical to pick anything other than that team.

And that by itself says a huge amount about Arsenal today.  Yes we are lucky with injuries at the moment (or maybe Mr Arteta has found the secret second benefit of not tackling – we don’t get injuries either), but even so, it is a little while since we were able to pick a team and be quite so sure that this would be the team for the match.

All we can do is trust they will do the job.

Here is some other chitchat to keep you occupied during the run up to the match…





12 Replies to “Brighton v Arsenal: the teams and Arsenal’s progress since Christmas Day”

  1. yep, Sambi for Granit, there doesn’t seem to be any suspense about the lineup …
    I, for one, regret it
    Not that i’m blind to the many qualities of our belgian lad, but I don’t think they make up for what will be missed in Xhaka’s absence: control, vision, technique, passing, “pacemaking” (or “beat-conducting”??)
    Granit has aged, is at the the peak of his career; against France at the Euros he literally owned the pitch.
    He has become the technical equivalent of Busquets – Pirlo – Verratti (Cazorla too, until his achilles betrayed him and deprived us of this “deep n°10” all great teams have in store) – I could have added Kroos, Gündogan to the list
    So much so that I’m surprised pulling Odegaard deeper doesn’t seem to even be considered
    If it was, my favorite lineup would be:
    another option would be:
    … but I hope Bukayo will stay on the right – and i really wish the Laca-Auba partnership upfront was given another chance: what risk there may be about bringing your best G/A provider (and hard worker too) back into the team, I’d like to know
    Anyway, that’s just wishful thinking, the “sport mole” XI will be picked

  2. A curious performance by the lads. On the one hand we are just giving the ball away in the midfield…on the other hand we are pretty solid in our box. I hope it improves in the second half.

  3. I’m not saying Arsenal are playing well, but the refereeing looks so one sided…or is that me not seeing things right ?
    As for commentators on french TV…
    The level of comments :

    when are they firing Arteta ? Arteta is is on a ejection seat with such a dismal start of the season. Why do you play like this ? Fire Arteta !

    I mean…

  4. The guys on french TV just did a ‘Lawrence’ :

    Arsenal had 4 shots on goal, one framed

    What they did not say was : Brighton had 8 shots on goal, NONE framed…

  5. We played better in the second half, especially the last 30 minutes but ultimately not enough. Pepe changed the match when he came on.

  6. I thought it was a fair result. Moss let a lot go both sides.

    But the non-call in the 88th on Smith Rowe was just a joke. He was literally thrown to the pitch in the box. Clearly, and on replay.

    Just terrible.

  7. We had a few classy minutes in the first half, just occasional moments in the second. The passing seemed a tad off, weather, conditions, maybe. The absence of Xhaka weighed heavily. That particular problem will be resolved.

    All in all, getting a point isn’t too bad a result. Moss the ref smirked his way through like a Pantomime villain who finds himself in the audience laughing at his own jokes. He could have been much worse.

    A bit disappointed with the Brighton manager who blazed bright when he first appeared in Europe with a lowly Swedish team, the team playing good attractive football. Now he sends a giant defender up to the goal line to obstruct the opposing goalkeeper at corners. The EPL corrupts everything it touches.

  8. We had our moments, mainly in the second half. But we were lucky to get a point. Brighton wasted so many chances. We lost nearly every 50/50 and our passing was abysmal. Hey ho.

  9. Well, don’t let anybody tell us Arsenal know nothing about defending…..
    And to all those saying Xhaka has no place in the sqad…you had your wish…and you’ve seen the result.

  10. Most of our problems related to the speed at which the ball came back towards us . For all of his assets Aubameyang is hopeless at holding the ball in forward positions .It was only when Lacazette came on that we started to hold the ball and bring players into the game .
    It was his quick lay back to Partey that sprung Smith Rowe through .
    In attritional games like this he should start over Aubameyang as he acts as a focal point and is the axis for runners to play around him.

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