Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Arsenal 1
The season has got so bad that even Arsenal have beaten the Albion.
The Seagulls had so much of the ball in the first and had more than enough decent efforts to score but still cannot convert on a regular basis when it is vital to do so.
Chris Hughton’s team always at least converted a majority of their chances with Glenn Murray the mainstay and Anthony Knockaert always chipping in from midfield.
The club have spent so much money on players such as Jurgen Locadia (£14 million), currently not performing so well in the MLS, and Neal Maupay (£20 million) and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£17 million) both currently not performing so well in the Premier League .
The Seagulls still have Florin Andone on the sidelines and it will really be a case of cutting off their noses to spite their face not including the Romanian international in the squad – his indiscipline and comments about the club were well publicised but 10 goals from when he is due back from injury in late January until the end of the season could be priceless for the Albion.
But the Seagulls have another player currently on loan in the Belgian League, South African Percy Tau. Albion cannot currently get a work permit for Tau, but things could look different with the changes in various legislation on Friday 1 January.
However, Tau has only scored 14 times in 50 odd appearances in Belgium but a surfeit of strikers at the club might be what the Seagulls need.
Against Arsenal it was Groundhog Day, with excellent build up play and a high percentage of possession but no end product.
It was a shock in all honesty to see Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister up front, both preferred to Neal Maupay and Danny Welbeck.
Mac Allister seized on an error from Kieran Tierney but with Pascal Gross and Alireza Jahanbakhsh both well placed the Argentine blazed over.
Jahanbakhsh had a great chance from close range but Bernd Leno saved well down to his right .
Arsenal hardly had a valid attack – Davy Propper strode through the Gunners defence but instead of shaping to shoot tried to play an intricate ball to Jahanbakhsh and the chance was gone.
Just as happened on Sunday at West Ham, for all the Seagulls’ first-half pressure Arsenal came out stronger and more hungry for the second half.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw Albion keeper Robert Sanchez make a point-blank save as the former looked certain to score.
The first-half tenacity and industry was gone from Albion as they were restricted to half-hearted efforts from Gross and Jahanbakhsh again.
In the end it was Alexandre Lacazette, on the pitch for 21 seconds as a substitute, who won it for Arsenal.
Albion have got into that awful awful habit of playing well for the majority of the match but not winning.
You feel that if they eventually and for the first time ever drop into the Premier League bottom three, they may never climb back out.
The Seagulls take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Amex on Saturday (2 January). I wonder who’ll be up front this time.
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