Arsenal’s formidable armour took a dent this week, with the Premier League table-toppers crashing out of the Carabao Cup at the first opportunity.
It was the first detrimental loss of the campaign for the flourishing side, with previous defeats to Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven failing to knock the Gunners from the top spot in the league and Europa League respectively.
Despite taking the early lead, Albion responded in resounding fashion to ignite an impressive turnaround and sink the Gunners to their first home loss of the campaign.
In a display strewn with errors, there was one shining light that managed to leave another impression on boss Mikel Arteta.
This is Reiss Nelson, who produced a sublime weaving run down the centre of the park to give the Gunners the early initial lead, serving a finely weighted pass for Eddie Nketiah to slot a brilliant looping strike into the Brighton net.
The 22-year-old winger put in a shift for his team, recording a team-best rating of 7.6/10, as per SofaScore, effectively providing an offensive output.
Alongside his assist, the former Hoffenheim loanee completed 24/17 (89%) of his passes, completed 2/2 (100%) of his dribbles and won 5/7 ground duels.
He also fought valiantly against the flowing Brighton offence, helping his struggling defensive teammates with two interceptions and one tackle – he also blocked a shot on his side’s goal.
Indeed, the fiery flanker’s impressive contribution takes his seasonal tally to two goals and assists apiece, having scored both goals and his preceding assist off the bench during Arsenal’s recent 5-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest in the Premier League.
During that outing, Nelson put in a dazzling display, recording a rating of 8.7/10, the highest of any player on the pitch throughout the thrashing.
The £6m-rated ace is well on the way to igniting the correct response to his peripheral role under Arteta’s tutelage, and with his two best displays of the season coming against Premier League opposition, the Spaniard will have to offer him further opportunities to impress.
Quite simply, he is a threat, capable of finding the opposition net and aiding the efforts of his teammates; with his manager labelling him as “evolving”, there is evident faith in his rise to prominence, which may yet be at Arsenal.
The premature Carabao Cup exit will certainly be a blow to Nelson’s hopes for further opportunities from the start, but the action will only intensify following the 2022 World Cup, and the £38k-per-week ace will be striving to sit in the thick of it as the Gunners look for silverware across multiple fronts.