Brighton 1 Arsenal 1
Locadia 35, Aubameyang 7

Pierre-Emerick Aubamryang scored his fifteenth goal of the season as Arsenal looked set to grab a second festive fixtures win in succession. However they found themselves pegged back when Jurgen Locadia pounced to level for the home side ten minutes before the break. The Gunners could and should have been out of sight by then, with Aubameyang seeing two golden chances thwarted by Mat Ryan. The Australian back peddled to tip over the bar from the Gabon striker from Matteo Guendouzi’s pass. With his side still in the ascendency, Aubameyang was favourite to double their lead from Lucas Torreira’s through ball, only to see Ryan dive down to his right and make the save. Unai Emery made three changes from the side which beat a tenacious Burnley, and although the point here is more than Arsenal’s last visit to the south coast at Southampton, he will be frustrated having seen his side dominate without taking full advantage while defensively Arsenal seem to be unable to get any coherent strategy.

Having set the tempo for making substitutions on the half if things hadn’t been gong to plan, Emery did the same  here, and elected to remove Mesut Ozil for Alex Iwobi. Ozil continues to divide opinion in football. Brilliant when he’s in the mood as we saw in last week-end’s win over Burnley, but enigmatic when more is required of him. Needless to say that had Ozil a defensive inclination which Emery demands of him, the German would be the first name on the Arsenal team sheet. With him at Brighton, Arsenal created chances. It was Lacazette’s determination high up the pitch which led to the game’s opener.

The france striker hustled and continued to do so before cutting back to put three Brighton defender’s on their rears. The ball found it’s was out to Aubameyang on the left, ten yards out from goal to curl beyond Ryan. Given their command and fluidity at that the, one suspected that the Gunners would get more goals. Aubameyang did threaten, but it was the home side who levelled from an Arsenal attack.

A long ball out caught the Gunners out of position. Stephan Lichsteiner’s header did nothing but put the ball into the path of the on rushing Locadia. Had Ozil tracked his run, the outcome might have been different. However with just Guendouzi and on the on rushing Bernd Leno to worry about, Locadia kept his calm to strike home into the empty net.

With the removal of Ozil at the break, Arsenal never really created anything of note. Brighton on the other hand sensed a chance, and Davy Propper, Solly March and Locadia all had chances to take the lead. Still it almost came to a bizarre Arsenal goal when Iwobi saw the ball fired off him towards Ryan, but it squirmed just past the upright for the game to conclude at 1-1.

Emery was left frustrated at the final whistle.

“I think the key to the match today was the first 45 minutes, when we controlled the match as we wanted to. We scored and we had the advantage, with another two good chances for Aubameyang to get the second. Their goalkeeper saved with two good actions and from then, they equalised. In the second half we tried again to control the match, to create the chances, but we didn’t do that. We had control with possession but not with creating chances against them. It wasn’t enough to win the game today.”

On the effectiveness of his substitutions, the Arsenal head coach felt his side couldn’t impose themselves. Taking off Lacazette who had been a menace in the Seagulls’ side seemed to be an odd choice after 62 minutes, and especially given that his replacement Aaron Ramsey wasn’t able to effect the game in the way Emery had hoped.

“Tactically, some matches I did that and I wanted to control it better with the positioning on the pitch. But in the second half we couldn’t do our ideas on the pitch for imposing ourselves and this imposing positioning can give us more options in attacking moments to score. We created less chances in the second half and not clear [chances].”

Arsenal next travel to Anfield on the 29th December, where in form table toppers will provide another stern away day test.