Brighton vs Arsenal tactical analysis: Albion dominate but fail to strike, and Marc Cucurella shines...again
Brighton did everything right against the Gunners except stick the ball in the net
It was a top performance from Brighton against Arsenal in an entertaining 0-0 at The Amex - the only thing missing were goals.
Albion absolutely dominated the Gunners for 75 minutes but in that time not a single shot was registered on target for The Seagulls.
The Sky Sports Saturday night main event finished with Albion having two shots on target from 21 attempts, the first coming in the 80th minute through a weak Trossard effort, the second being a similar hit from Solly March.
The football is slick, the link up play is sharp, the pressing is precise and intense, the dominance from the back is intimidating, the chances are created in abundance. It's all there. Albion played Arsenal off the park.
But the major problem of last season has reared its ugly head once more - Brighton could not score.
This was due to a combination of half chances, Arsenal defending their box well, an inspired performance from Aaron Ramsdale, and a couple of good opportunities missed.
For all of the progression made this season, this game certainly felt like a bump in the road for Albion. It was a chance to go joint top of the league with Chelsea, instead they will have to settle for fifth.
It's clear to see, however, that Albion have an identity, a vision and a team spirit forged over the last three years under Graham Potter. The only way is up.
I'd much rather be a Brighton supporter than an Arsenal one right now. Other than a bigger pay packet, I'm still confused why Ben White jumped ship.
Brighton have come on leaps and bounds this season. We must not forget that. They have averaged two points per game this campaign. That's top tier level. And that's why they're mixing with the big boys.
It's a Catch-22 situation, though, Brighton will be able to sign a top striker once they climb the table; but they will only climb the table once they sign a striker. Which one will come first is the question.
If Albion can unearth an absolute diamond like Marc Cucurella for £15million, then why can't they find someone to partner Maupay up front?
The new left-wing back has been an absolute revelation since signing from Getafe in the summer.
He has slotted in with ease and looks like he's been playing in this team for years.
Arsenal right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu, who I believe has won plaudits so far this season, will be having nightmares about Cucurella tonight.
The former Barcelona player was a ball of positive energy.
He was winning headers, pressing with a high-intensity, going past players, and after all that, he still had the composure and technique to whip in some dangerous balls into the Arsenal box.
The La Masia graduate was rightly handed man of the match by Sky Sports and was duly praised by Glenn Murray, Alan Smith and Jack Wilshere in the studio.
It is an absolute pleasure to watch someone who has received the highest footballing education at Barcelona play the game in Sussex-on-the-Sea. Take a boo, Marc Cucurella.
Aaron Ramsdale was another diamond on the pitch tonight in fairness to him. He gave a very insightful and honest interview after the game.
The keeper said Brighton's press was hard to beat because it was of such a high intensity. But, he added, even when Arsenal tried to go to beat the press and go long the trio of Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Dan Burn won everything in the air.
Duffy won the most aeriel duels with four, Dunk came second with three and Burn came third with two. Giants.
Arsenal were dominated. Across the ground and in the air.
You could see it in the way Ramsdale was speaking that he was relieved Arsenal escaped with a point.
That's what it was, an escape. Brighton cannot afford to let team's sneak out the back door with a point if they have real plans of breaking into the top 10.
Let's just hope this is a minor bump in the road and the goals keep coming for Albion. If not, it might be time for Tony Bloom to break the bank.