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FIVE THINGS: ARSENAL

2 October 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Albion's players huddle together before the game at the Emirates Stadium.

Brighton & Hove Albion enter the international break after a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal. Below are five things we learned.

Lively at dead balls
After the well-rehearsed set-piece routine which culminated in Tomer Hemed’s winner against Newcastle last weekend, Hughton’s men almost converted another training ground drill. In the first half, Solly March was rolled the ball - when the Arsenal defence were preparing for a cross into the box - and his forceful strike from 25 yards crashed against the upright.

Passing the test
Too often when Albion tried to build a counter attack, the ball was lost in transition. The side’s passing accuracy of 77% was only marginally lower than Albion’s season average of 79%, but Lewis Dunk explained how it hindered the boss’s gameplan: “I think we just needed to show a bit more quality on the ball when we won it back. We set up to counter, but that first pass needs to be made to be able to counter well. We were making it hard for ourselves.”

Building blocks
Before Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off, Brighton had recorded the fourth most blocked shots in the league (28). On Sunday, they blocked 16 shots, crosses or passes as Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Dale Stephens all noticeably put their bodies on the line to stop Arsenal’s threatening forward players.

Singing seagulls
The Emirates faithful was the biggest crowd Brighton had played in front of this season, with 59,378 fans substituting their Sunday lunch for a taste of Premier League football. But the away fans did themselves proud, as around 3,000 travelling supporters out-sang the home support for most of the 90 minutes.

Heads above water
As Albion enter the international break, they are sitting two points above the relegation zone with seven points from seven. While some members of the squad will be donning their national team’s threads, the others will be working as hard as ever on the training ground. Izzy Brown, who made his return from injury against Arsenal, said: “The training here is intense and tough - the gaffer likes us to run a lot so we'll be doing a lot of that during the international break. If we keep doing it every day, I'll be fitter than I was before.”


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