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Mikel Arteta’s £90million gambit that just might save Arsenal’s season

Arsenal were poor going forward on Saturday but managed a 0-0 draw with a superior Brighton side thanks to an impressive defensive display in the rain at the Amex

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Gabriel searches for his missing tooth at the Amex

Arsenal struggled against a dominant Brighton that out pressed, out passed, and outplayed them.

But the Gunners came away with an equal share of the points after a valiant defensive display despite shortcomings in other areas of the pitch.

Despite the shortcomings, boss Mikel Arteta picked out a number of positives, all of them in Arsenal’s defence.

“I think a point gained [instead of points lost against Brighton] because I don’t think we deserved anything more than that,” said Arteta after the game. “If we did deserve it’s because we defended well the last 15 to 20 meters of our pitch.”



Ben White returned to Brighton for the first time since his summer exit with Arsenal on Saturday
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Image:

PA)




Talking about his new centre-back partnership, the youngest in the league, he added: “They’re getting a really good connection. Good chemistry.

“I think their qualities match and complement each other really, really well and I think both of them today were terrific.”

And about new No.1 Aaron Ramsdale, he said: “I’m really happy with his performances and what he’s bringing to the team. That’s why I think defensively we’ve been difficult to concede goals.”

New signing Takehiro Tomiyasu struggled against Brighton but has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, playing with a presence of mind and calmness beyond his years in his other games.









Meanwhile, Kieran Tierney has been an undimmed bright spark at the Emirates for years now.

Much was said over the summer about the Gunners’ transfer business.

The north London side spent nearly £150million across the window bringing in a plethora of young talent, with most of this going on their defence.

Brighton’s own Ben White was bought for £50million, twice relegated Ramsdale for £24million, and the relatively unknown Tomiyasu for a fee of around £17million.

This £90million gambit was not well received as many thought Arsenal had overpaid for the players.



Arsenal kept a clean sheet despite being Brighton being the better team
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Image:

Offside via Getty Images)




White’s transfer was ridiculed as far too expensive and compared to that of Raphael Varane’s – ignoring wage expenses.

Many were uncertain whether Ramsdale would play second fiddle and if so for such a figure would be one of the more pricey backup keepers.

And a number of pundits simply did not know enough about Tomiyasu, writing him off before he stepped foot on the pitch.

However, since the members of Arteta’s £90million gambit have been regularly starting, Arsenal have been a team transformed.

Since their 5-0 drubbing from Manchester City, the Gunners have conceded only one goal.







Arsenal’s recent success has been built on clean sheets created by these players.

Against Brighton, Arsenal struggled as Brighton played with the possession and passing the Gunners could only dream of.

Tomiyasu struggled out wide and Ramsdale was forced to pull off some vital saves as White returned to his old stomping ground without really impressing.

And yet they kept a clean sheet, again, and because of that Arsenal came away with a point.

Arsenal’s attack may be toothless, the midfield looks unimaginative, but if their defence continues like this then there will be hope for Arteta’s season yet.


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