Brighton and Hove Albion – Arsenal: Stalemate played out following questionable Unai Emery substitutions (1-1)
Unai Emery’s 4-4-2 diamond system dominated early on, but Arsenal’s post-goal game-management cost them dearly in the end. Emery’s second half changes made matters worse, because they killed the connection between defense and attack. Brighton capitalized and took a deserved point against a top six team.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
Three changes were made by Chris Hughton, most likely for rotational reasons in such a busy period. Florin Andone made way in attack for Glenn Murray as Jürgen Locadia stepped back into a wide midfield role. In the midfield, Yves Bissouma was replaced by Dale Stephens and Lewis Dunk was out through suspension, so in his place came Shane Duffy.
After bouncing back against Burnley to get back on winning terms, Emery made three changes to the side that started that game. Again starting in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, Stephan Lichtsteiner came in for Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right back, Laurent Koscielny came in for the injured Nacho Monreal at center-back and Lucas Torreira replaced Mohamed Elneny in the middle.
Arsenal’s diamond holds early control
Emery’s side had a clear focus in the first half: to attack down the right. In their midfield diamond, they constantly recycled the ball back and forth, in and around the right halfspace. If you divide the field in five vertical lanes, the halfspaces are the lanes that are not on the wing and not in the center. Because there is no touchline like on the wing, players have freedom to go everywhere. But this zone often is not as well . . .