Arsenal were too good for Brighton – but if De Zerbi believes European spot can be nabbed, let’s believe

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta shares a moment with Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi ahead of the Premier League match at the Amex on Saturday, which Arsenal won 3-0 (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta shares a moment with Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi ahead of the Premier League match at the Amex on Saturday, which Arsenal won 3-0 (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta shares a moment with Brighton coach Roberto De Zerbi ahead of the Premier League match at the Amex on Saturday, which Arsenal won 3-0 (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Ever the eternal optimist, and still with 21 points to play for, while it’s still mathematically possible, I still have to believe Albion will finish this groundbreaking season by qualifying for Europe for the second year on the bounce.

Then reality rears its ugly head – and while they are capable of getting results at the Amex against Chelsea, Villa, Manchester City and Manchester United and on the road against Burnley, Bournemouth and Newcastle, there’s the stark realisation that time and a horrendous injury list has caught up with Roberto De Zerbi and his exciting young squad.

Saturday’s 3-0 reverse at home to title-chasing Arsenal was testament to this. The Gunners are flying in their pursuit of their first title in 21 years, but the Albion looked decidedly leggy and at times bereft of ideas.

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VAR, or the lack of it, also reared its ugly head with the first half penalty award for Arsenal after Tariq Lamptey was adjudged to have fouled Gabriel Jesus. VAR went with the ref’s decision although the footage, exactly what they saw in the bunker at Stockley Park, has shown that Lamptey got the ball, so by the laws of the game did not commit a foul.

One can only wonder what VAR would have decreed if the challenge had been at the other end of the pitch on Danny Welbeck?

But dubious penalty or not, Arsenal were good for the win.

Like many fellow Albion fans I was extremely disappointed by the conduct of former Albion defender and one-time Worthing resident Ben White who feigned injury during Saturday’s encounter, apparently in the hope of getting Albion’s Pervis Estupinan sent off.

In what was was fleeting ‘handbags’ White went down clutching his throat – thankfully the ref didn’t fall for it.

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Albion’s momentous season has been a huge learning curve. But success has its downsides and now there is increased speculation over the future of De Zerbi.

My opinion has not changed: I don’t believe he’s working his ticket out of the Amex. He’s a passionate winner and being so close to success only to be thwarted by an horrendous injury list must be extremely frustrating.

RDZ still thinks a Europa Conference League spot is on... who are we to doubt him?

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