04-Mar-2018 17:51:43 | The Guardian
Spirited Brighton throw visitors’ lack of personality into a stark light to leave their season hinging on a daunting trip to Milan
It was the body language that damned Arsenal most of all. The hunching of the shoulders and shuffled attempts to retreat into position, internationals of considerable repute with their heads down, trudging around the pitch as if wading through treacle. Arsène Wenger described them as “passive”. About as animated as they became during that dreadful opening half-hour was when Mesut Özil flung his gloves to the turf in frustration, even if that was all for show. The same could be said for the anguished glances to the heavens at each misplaced pass, or the yellow cards collected as if to be used as evidence of commitment.
The hope had been that this team would be stung into a response after those high-profile defeats to Manchester City last week. In previous years they have somehow summoned a performance in the wake of choking disappointment to paper over the cracks. This time around, they were limp and dysfunctional, a team the hosts sensed were there for the taking throughout that opening period, and a collective utterly bereft of spirit, organisation or belief – qualities Brighton & Hove Albion boasted in abundance.
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