Agh. Frustration the word of the day really as a lacklustre Arsenal were held by an at times dominant Brighton side.
It felt like a missed opportunity for Mikel Arteta’s men to really kick on and show what they were made of but alas, a 0-0 draw was the outcome. Not the end of the world.
On a brighter note, Brighton makes for an enjoyable away day. Despite the weather - rain slapping us in the face from Finsbury Park all the way to Falmer - an enjoyable day was had, marred only by the slightly strange experience of not being sat with the Arsenal fans.
We arrived at the ground about two hours before kick off to have a drink inside.
Again, as everyone at the ground was, uncomfortably cold in our now soaked again clothes.
The AMEX is a lovely ground to be fair, and the pitch just about withstood the torrential rain leading to an actually playable game. Unlike Aldershot Town who had their game postponed, most Premier League clubs are now blessed with draining facilities which can withstand most that England’s skies throw at them. The distance and pleasantness of Brighton made it an all round enjoyable trip (ignoring the footballing frustration).
The game itself was less enjoyable. Despite an energetic and controlled first 10 minutes, the Arsenal boys dropped off and Brighton came knocking.
You could see from then onwards where the game was headed - a frustrating battle against a deceptively good side.
The conditions throughout the game were terrible, making it hard for our star players (who underperformed anyway) to get into the game.
Ødegaard was poor, failing to retain the ball in key areas, whilst Aubameyang’s first touch yet again deserted him to stagnate any attacks that we did have. Saka, despite a promising start, was kept quiet by Dan Burn who was clearly told by Graham Potter to get tight to his man and not allow him space to abuse the blatant mismatch in pace.
Bukayo also didn’t help out Tomiyasu enough, with Brighton’s new man Cucerella completely dominating down the left-hand side. Tomiyasu didn’t have his best game to be fair, admitting himself after the game that “we did not win enough duels outside of our own box”.
Smith Rowe battled hard and was probably our best player on the day, threatening to break the deadlock at times. Our two CBs Gabriel and Ben White were again solid, developing a real rapport whilst our GK Aaron Ramsdale, who surely now is our No1, came up with a vital save late on - he, like Tomiyasu, again admitted to the performance level being way below par.
A really frustrating day. Compounded by the same frustration having to be pent up as me, Layth, and four other Gooners sat behind enemy lines. The procedure of celebration was of course discussed, but the goal we had promised ourselves never came.
Getting out of the ground was a nightmare. Freezing cold winds, a long queue for a train from Falmer, and rising tension between satisfied Seagulls and irritated Gooners - who were packed together onto the platform - made for an excruciatingly long journey home.
I said to Layth though, at least the 0-0 draw came an hour from home rather than somewhere like Newcastle.
One Arsenal fan in the queue (before realising we were Arsenal fans too) decided he’d get onto us - clearly looking more like seaside dwellers than hard core North London lads as I always intend - for being content and satisfied with a draw.
Maybe he was an American, not used to and consequently driven mad by the dull and unfulfilling nature of a 0-0 draw. Either way, a man clearly riddled with the same dissatisfaction as the rest of us.
All things considered, 10 points from the four games since the international break is not something to be sniffed at - especially given the three stern tests of Burnley, Spurs, and Brighton after Norwich.
Although not as fast as it could have been, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal train is now moving. Despite all the frustration of today, we could have easily collapsed and there is something to be said for the grit that this Arsenal side has been able to show over the past month, along with the capability to tear through teams (although not yet consistently).
Two must win home games in five days, not before we again must survive the inevitable boredom of the two week break though. Until then, Gunners.
Lowell Hornby will also feature in the pages of the next Gooner Fanzine, out later this month.
Lowell plans to attend every Arsenal Premier League game this season and will be writing about it for the Gooner Fanzine.
Read the brilliant Lowell's previous pieces below:
Learn more about Lowell in his own words.
My name is Lowell Hornby.
I’ve been a devout Gooner for all I can remember. I was taken to my first Arsenal game in 2007 and never looked back.
I’ve never really thought of football being in my life as a conscious choice, more of a genetic deficiency.
The relationship my Dad (who some of you may know: Nick Hornby, author of Fever Pitch) has developed with football inevitably has rubbed off on me.
It feels like it’s a lot more than results; it’s the club, the feeling, the fans, the friends - everything.
In my year off, after an unimaginably painful 18 months of fan-less football, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than follow my beloved Arsenal up and down the country as I attempt to go to every Premier League game this season.
The pieces I write will document not just the games, but my experiences, the cities, the journeys, the people.
I hope in doing so I can capture, express, articulate and transmit the visceral emotions of myself, fellow Gooners and football fans as a whole.
I live and breathe football, and I hope these pieces and my project this season can convey that in a way that’s enjoyable to experience vicariously.
If you’d like to be following me more casually, and be notified of any pieces of course, my Twitter handle is @weststandlowell and I’ll be tweeting over there. COYG.