Arsenal got bullied on the pitch against Brighton, but after the match, they finally fought back. Where was that fire during the match?
Going up against a team that is in a relegation battle, you always have to assume they are going to be fighting tooth and nail for everything. Arsenal is not the greatest at fighting tooth and nail and in this match against Brighton in particular, they looked like marshmallows.
They continuously got pushed over, kicked, slapped, shoved, and rather than fighting back, they fell over. Sometimes the foul got called, sometimes it didn’t, and in the end, the supreme physicality of Brighton won the day, leaving the Gunners with so much frustration that they went after Brighton—in particular Neal Maupay—after the match was over.
Everything that happened after the match would have been great to see during the actual match. Rather than flailing to the ground looking for a foul, stand your ground, buck up, and shove back. Worst case, you both get a foul or a card. Best case, the lenient ref let’s play go on.
Arsenal clearly has fight, but they’re using it all wrong
Take Yves Bissouma, for instance. He was a nightmare for the Gunners. And not because he was playing particularly well, but because he committed six fouls, probably another handful that weren’t called, and made himself a complete and utter nuisance.
He was shoving, slapping, kicking, etc. etc. And while that’s annoying as hell, it was clear the ref was letting the smaller stuff go.
Yet the Gunners showed no fight, no gumption to hit back when they were hit. They just took the blow and crumbled like scarecrows.
But again, after the match, they found their fight. After the match, when nothing matters, they went for a brawl when they should have been brawling throughout the course of the match. At least then they’d have forced the referees hand—either stop both sides and get a grip on the match, or let the match play out in ugly fashion.
The Gunners didn’t give him any need to take control because they just quivered every time they got so much as a small shove from a blue and white shirt.
Obviously there’s fight in the team. Neal Maupay would agree with that assessment. But you have to fight when it can actually amount to something other than retroactive punishment. Fight when there’s a ball to be won, when there’s pride to be won, not when you’re just frustrated that you didn’t fight earlier.