Karen Carney has expressed that she was baffled by Arsenal duo Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard ‘not tracking back’ when out of possession against Brighton, as she told Premier League Productions (02/10/21 at 6:30 pm)
The former Arsenal women’s winger stated that Adam Lallana was ‘pulling them apart’ in the middle of the pitch, as they recorded a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium on Saturday evening.
Arsenal did have a number of big chances during the game, especially with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Smith Rowe.
But Brighton will question how they didn’t find the back of the net because, especially in the first half, there was relentless pressure from the home side.
Nonetheless, Carney was critical of Smith Rowe and Odegaard without the ball, as it was another clean sheet for the London-based side.
“The issue they have got is that Smith Rowe and Odegaard are really good in possession,” said Carney.
“But they don’t want to do the other work, which is tracking back. He’s highlighting this all the time Lallana. He is checking his shoulder all the time. He’s thinking, ‘right, where is the space? The space is there (on the right-hand corner of the penalty area).
“Odegaard is trying to point it out. Who are you pointing to? Track your run. And he was trying to do Lallana, all the time.
“Smith Rowe isn’t picking up that run. He knows he is going to run off the back of him. But they are pulling them apart in midfield, Lallana has seen those gaps and they aren’t tracking his runs.”
Mikel Arteta’s side were on a high after that win against Tottenham, but it was a different story yesterday.
Whilst it was the Gunners hitting their neighbours with speed, free-flowing play and forward-thinking intent last week, it was Brighton doing that to them this time around.
On one hand, fans will be disappointed with the performance and they will question Arteta again.
But, on the other, they kept a clean sheet, something they wouldn’t have done before the last international break, and are showing fight and guts from a defensive standpoint.