Squandered chances proved costly, but seamless football confirms Brighton’s present stature amongst England’s elite
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Robert Sanchez embraces Shane Duffy of Brighton & Hove Albion after he tackled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal (obscured) during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on October 02, 2021 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

There were so many positives to take away from Brighton & Hove Albion’s goalless draw against Arsenal on a bleak Saturday evening by the South Coast, despite failing to bypass the opposing backline.

Forget about the score-line, forget that Graham Potter’s side have gone two matches without victory for the first time this season; such points are almost trivial. 

Brighton managed 21 shots on the night against a team boasting a three-match win streak and a burning desire to reestablish themselves as an exciting European team next season.

There was a composed and assured presence across the pitch that complimented the quality from the home side, it was just that clinical ability in decisive moments that prevented the elusive win. 

Two points dropped? 

A telling takeaway from the goalless draw was that Arsenal left satisfied with a point after enduring a barrage of dangerous attacks in the closing stages. 

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Brighton managed seven shots after the 80th minute, highlighting their technical ability and resolve in the decisive stages, whereas the Gunners' final attempt of the evening arrived in the 79th minute. 

Statistically, Albion bested Arsenal in all the key areas, although both sides finished the match with a meagre two shots on target. But the fact that the club are matching performances with results is a vastly promising prospect for the sides chances this season and beyond. 

From top to bottom, Potter's side look sharp and willing to compete against anything that the Premier League throws at them; Arsenal were simply second best, affirmed when Arteta admitted to being satisfied with a point at the AMEX.

Cucurella flourishing

Marc Cucurella showed glimpses of a glistening career in England after his debut appearance against Brentford. 

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Since his maiden display, Cucurella has continued to impress in blue and white, and possibly played his best match against Arsenal with a number of key contributions to earn his side a point and a clean sheet.

The Spaniard found himself entangled in a battle with Gunners full-back Takehiro Tomiyasu and often emerged the superior following their exchanges. 

In fact, Cucurella won 6/7 duels and created four chances - more than any other player on the pitch. 

The confident, energetic presence in Brighton's team will prove invaluable in their endeavours this season as he provides a reliable creative output down the left flank. 

Bissouma’s absence not felt 

Yves Bissouma missed the second match in succession following a knee suffered against Leicester City last month.

There was a feeling of angst emanating over those associated with Brighton once it became apparent that the Malian would be out of action for the foreseeable future, but such worries were swiftly quelled. 

Against Crystal Palace, Albion did struggle through periods and defeat looked imminent, but a draw was achieved in the dying moments and the squad performed with tenacity and grit to finally bypass the opposing defence. 

Following the previous result, there was a real assurance from the centre of the park that embodies the tactical approach of Potter; determination and a collective understanding of assigned roles enables the manager to have faith in his stand-ins to complete the job effectively. 

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Adam Lallana, Pascal Gross, and Jakub Moder linked up well in the middle of the park and overpowered the advances of the Arsenal midfield, highlighting the depth and cohesion presently blessed upon the Seagulls

Is Europe realistic?

The prospect securing football amongst Europe's elite upon the season's finish is tantalising for Albion supporters. 

The majority of level-headed fans will be delighted by the progress the club have made since achieving promotion to the division, scarcely looking like a team fated for the drop across the five years spent in the top-flight. 

However, after such an emphatic start it is only natural for minds to drift longingly towards the roar and jubilation of European nights, right on the South Coast. 

Regardless of whether this monumental feat is achieved or not will become apparent closer towards season's end, but the leaps and bounds made since the beginning of the calendar year have been extraordinary.