THE NOTEBOOK: Brighton batter Arsenal without ditching their style

THE NOTEBOOK: Brighton batter Arsenal without ditching their style, while Levi Colwill takes man-marking to a new level against Martin Odegaard and Vincent Kompany is spotted at the Emirates

  • Arsenal’s title hopes are all but over after they lost 3-0 to Brighton on Sunday
  • Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Etsupinan were all on the scoresheet
  • The Seagulls won comfortably without changing their high-risk style

Arsenal’s title hopes all-but ended on Sunday as they lost 3-0 to Brighton at the Emirates.

Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Etsupinan all scored as the Seagulls overtook  Tottenham into sixth place.

Man City are now four point clear of Arsenal and have a game in hand. They can win the league in their next game by beating Chelsea.

Having been eight points clear at the top of the league at the start of April, Mikel Arteta’s side have won just two of their last seven games.

 Sporstmail’s DANIEL MATTHEWS takes a look at some of things you may have missed at the Emirates.

Brighton beat Arsenal 3-0 in an impressive performance at the Emirates on Sunday

The loss all but ended Arsenal’s title hopes, with Man City now just one win away from the Premier League title

Brighton stick to their guns

Not many teams have come here and imposed their style on Arsenal with such bravery and bottle as Brighton. 

Even early on, when the home side looked the more threatening, this game was being played on Albion’s terms. 

Arsenal had joy in large part because Brighton were inviting pressure deep inside their own half. Under Roberto De Zerbi, they look to draw opposition teams on to them and launch counter-style attacks – without ever losing the ball. 

It is incredibly high risk and relies on tiny details. Such as players controlling the ball with their studs to lure pressure. Just as Lewis Dunk did straight from kick-off. 

At one point, Arteta could be seen gesturing to Martin Odegaard about that very trap. This was an engrossing tussle of ideas. 

 Odegaard takes swipe at mascot criticism

There was a (thinly) veiled message to Arsenal’s critics (barely) hidden in Martin Odegaard’s programme notes. The captain mentioned how he ‘always likes to have a nice chat with our mascot… to try to make it a memorable day for them.’ 

It comes a few weeks after Arsenal were accused – unfairly in Mikel Arteta’s view – of ‘ignoring’ a young girl mascot at a game.

Martin Odegaard took a thinly-veiled swipe at critics of Arsenal’s treatment of mascots in his programme notes before the game

Levi Colwill impressed for Brighton in a tight man-marking role that kept one of Arsenal’s more dangerous players at bay

He followed Martin Odegaard all over the pitch in a fascinating game of cat and mouse

Heat map? 

LevI Colwill was tasked with shackling Martin Odegaard and Brighton’s bold, often man-to-man approach meant the young centre back followed Arsenal’s playmaker all over the pitch. It was a fascinating game of cat and mouse. 

At one point, Colwill tracked Odegaard all the way to the edge of the Arsenal box, blocking his attempted clearance and then racing back into a more orthodox position, where 5ft 7ins Billy Gilmour had filled in. Hardly like-for-like.

Eclectic bunch in the posh seats 

Some Arsenal staff took a while to recognise Nicklas Bendtner after the retired striker returned here, wearing a retro Arsenal shirt, round sunglasses and cap, with hair flopping over his shoulders. 

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany looked rather sharper in his suit, sitting between Arsenal CEO Vinai Venkatesham and DJ Roman Kemp. Why? Who knows.

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany was among a host of famous faces in the crowd at the Emirates

Basketball royalty at the Emirates

Near Kompany in the posh seats on Sunday was Mike Dunlap. The basketball coach, who worked with Michael Jordan at the then Charlotte Bobcats, has been shadowing the Arsenal manager this week. 

He sat in on Friday’s pre-match press conference and was on a watching brief at the Emirates, too. 

Dunlap is in regular contact with Arteta as part of an international coaching group that also involves Australia rugby boss Eddie Jones, basketball Hall Of Famer George Karl and Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. 

They meet – typically over Zoom – to swap secrets and mine for inspiration across different sports. Dunlap, who works as assistant coach at NBA side the Milwaukee Bucks, has been studying ‘The Arsenal Way’, noting down the behaviours and culture and habits at London Colney.

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