03 October 2021

Brighton 0-0 Arsenal: Well, at least Maupay didn't maim anyone...

Yes, it's a point claimed, but, more importantly, Neal Maupay didn't jeoardise anyone's careers like he did towards the end of the 2019-20 campaign, going in for a pointless and reckless challenge on Leno, crashing into Leno, who had already claimed the ball. That gave rise to and eventual sale of Emi Martinez, may have ended Leno's position as our #1 keeper, and almost certainly spelt the end of Matteo Guendouzi's tenure as well. All of that because of the actions of the kind of smirking, malevolent, thirteen year old who'd step on the heels of your sneakers, swipe  your Galaxy Minstrels, and act like he invented the calculator trick in which you type 55378008 and turn it round for some naughty word-play. As if to show that his juvenile delinquency has spread throughout the club, Brighton tweeted out an image of Maupay in a mock-crying pose because, well, playing the part of the antagonist from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is apparently something to aspire to. #Lifegoals, Neal. #Lifegoals indeed.

Enough about that pissant other than to say it's a pity he didn't have a go at Ramsdale, who's built like a brick shithouse and would have sent Maupay to the shadow realm, never to return. There was bound to be an emotional letdown after thrashing Spurs last weekend, even moreso because the result suggested to us that we had rounded a corner and were set for smooth sailing. Unfortunately, Graham Potter knows what he's doing (as evinced by the fact that we faced him and his squad this week as opposed to last week).

The proof is in the pudding. As was to be expected, Brighton were well-drilled, organised, and stout defensively whilst also being adventurous going forward. They had a number of point-blank chances, some they fluffed, some Ramsdale saved, and we should certainly see this as a point earned rather than two dropped. Our brightest lights were strangely dim aside from a few flashes here and there, and credit Potter and his squad for keeping us on the backfoot for most of the match. Potter himself said in the post-match that "in terms of performance, it was as good as I can remember...this performance gives us a lot of hope and belief going forward." It's perhaps a sign of how different our fortunes lie that a scoreless draw prompts such optimism from our opponent while we have to clench our teeth and grumble. Then again, it's not as if our manager selected a side that left more than one million pounds in weekly wages on the bench as Ole At The Wheel did when he left Ronaldo, Pogba, and Sancho on the bench. But I digress.

At any rate, we've now taken 10 points from our last four matches and have moved from the bottom of the table to the top 9/20th. For as good as our defense has been since the debacle at the Etihad, there are some urgent questions still to be asked about our attack. We've scored just five goals in the league so far, three of those against Tottenham, and we're only club in the top half of the table with a negative goal difference. We have a number of tricky but winnable fixtures coming up after the international break— visits from Palace, Villa, and Leeds (that one in the League Cup) and then a trip to King Fox to face Leicester. That's four matches in 12 days. It would be just splendid to see us take a minimum of seven points from the nine on offer while advancing to the League Cup quarterfinal, seeing as how that's step one of our domestic treble. We'll have to find a more a remedy for this toothless attack, though.

Speaking of toothlessness, we may have escaped AmEx without serious injuries, but I'm bemused to report that Gabriel has once again lost a tooth against Brighton. That's two.