At the Emirates, Eddie Nketiah handed the Premier League leaders the lead, but the 3-1 defeat dismayed some reserves. Arsenal lost a first-half lead against Brighton on Wednesday night and went on to lose 3-1, eliminating themselves from the Carabao Cup in the third round. Even though the Gunners are now in first place in the Premier League, Mikel Arteta’s club will probably need to add reinforcements in the January transfer window if they intend to continue challenging Manchester City for the title.
In Arteta’s lineup adjustments for the encounter, William Saliba was the lone starter from the 1-0 triumph at Chelsea on Sunday. The two academy products, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson, did stand out, and it was with their assistance that Nketiah scored the game’s opening goal in the first half. However, Brighton tied the game on a Danny Welbeck penalty when 20-year-old goalkeeper Karl Hein slipped up, and goals from Kaoru Mitoma and Tariq Lamptey in the second half gave the visitors a well-deserved victory.
The Performing Side:
Reiss Nelson: The winger was Arsenal’s best offensive player. He was the only player on his side who appeared assured and capable early on as his teammates battled. Therefore, it came as no surprise that Nelson was in the center of the first goal when it was scored. Nelson ran from deep to split Brighton before playing a superb pass into Nketiah’s path. After that, Nelson’s confidence just oozed out of him; it’s just a shame some of his teammates weren’t performing at the same level.
Eddie Nketiah: The League Cup is a true passion for the Arsenal striker. Nketiah needed a goal in this game after going without one in his previous four Europa League starts, so his 20th-minute goal will have made him happy. Nelson’s curling goal, his 11th League Cup goal in 12 outings, was reminiscent of the great Thierry Henry. Nketiah appeared to be a lot more at ease in his natural position as the central striker after being assigned to play the left wing in his previous two games. He was a continuous threat, and only a few excellent saves by Jason Steels in the second half prevented him from increasing his tally.
The Losing Side:
Fabio Vieira: The playmaker from Portugal had a terrible night. Vieria’s Arsenal career had a promising beginning, but in recent months he has truly struggled and failed to have any kind of influence in the closing phases of the Europa League group stage. Vieira had a bit of a nightmare show despite having another chance to make an impression. He had trouble handling some of the physical obstacles in his path, and he had trouble engaging in the game at all. He had awful passing when he did have the ball, and his small flicks and touches rarely worked. For the Porto man, it was just a night to forget.
Sambi Lokonga: Similar to Vieira, Lokonga had a great chance to make a good impression here. The young Belgian midfielder’s ability to prosper at Arsenal is being questioned more and more with each game that goes by. He is undoubtedly a competent player and is organized when in possession, but he hasn’t yet demonstrated the character to seize the initiative at either end of the field. Against Brighton, as well as the previous week against Zurich, Arteta employed him in a more advanced midfield position, but he never really seemed to be able to create much in the final third.
Karl Hein: The 20-year-old goalkeeper probably had a few nightmares going through his head before going to sleep last night about what might occur when he makes his Arsenal debut. Unluckily for Hein, one of such circumstances occurred in the first half when he tripped over an overhit through ball that was rolling in his direction. Danny Welbeck was able to advance to the ball first due to Hein’s slip, and the Brighton striker was then brought to the ground by Hein after he compounded the mistake. It was an obvious penalty that served as Brighton’s rallying point.
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