Mikel Arteta and Arsenal made some changes at the break to break down Brighton’s low block in a 1-0 win on Tuesday.
Arteta said his players needed a halftime reminder of intent at the Amex Stadium, and that made all the difference as 66th-minute sub Alexandre Lacazette scored a 66th-minute goal to put Arsenal onto 20 points.
[ MORE: Three things from Brighton – Arsenal ]
“First of all, the balls that we gave away, simple balls in our own half when we were open under no real pressure and they generated one or two half situations,” Arteta said, via Football.London. “And the second one the way we attack against a block. That we weren’t efficient enough, we didn’t have enough purpose, and we didn’t have the right intentions with the players around the ball with the movement and situations that we wanted to create. We talked about it and straight away it worked much better.”
Arsenal had 55 percent possession but was out-attempted 8-1 in the first half. The Gunners gave Brighton 55 percent in the second half and took over in shots 10-5.
That’s the growing “Here, take the ball” movement, we guess.
Bukayo Saka produced Lacazette’s goal, as the French finisher took a tidy touch and lashed home near-post in the win.
“We need big players and the senior players to step up in these difficult moments and he’s doing that for sure,” Arteta said of Lacazette. “I think Laca is working very hard. Since I’ve been here his work has never been an issue. His goalscoring record could improve and but it’s improving because he’s so willing to do it for us also.”
Lacazette has seven goals in 1,083 minutes across all competitions this season, five coming in 776 PL minutes. We argued last week that playing Lacazette could be one of the keys to fixing Arsenal’s attack. Hmmm.
Lacazette’s 0.58 goals per 90 minutes in PL play leads Arsenal and is 14th in the league, between Harry Kane (0.60) and hundredths of a point ahead of Wilfried Zaha. He was 28th in the league last season, (min. 20 apps) so it’s not a huge surprise to see the Frenchman delivering finish.
Arsenal heads to the Hawthorns to meet West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in search of a third-straight win (start time 3pm ET online via Peacock Premium).