Brighton Vs Arsenal PL Preview
Arsenal got back to winning ways in the bruising 3-1 victory over Burnley, and the festive fixture madness means that our players have no time to rest on their laurels as another match is hot on its heels.
This game sees Arsenal drive down to the South Coast to take on Chris Hughton’s Brighton and Hove Albion, and the Gulls are desperate for a win so will fight tooth and nail for the slightest sniff of a point.
Just three days after this game though, sees us travel to Anfield to take on league leaders Liverpool – will this have an impact on Emery’s team selection?
Fatigue will come into play too, but Brighton are no fools, and anything less than full throttle will play into the home side’s hands. They will play a committed brand of football that touches on the physical approach with speedy wing play, and the counter attack – especially with Pascal Gross fit again – means we need to be on our guard.
Talking of guard, we may have a few problems there…
We’ve got a bit of a situation gathering in defence. Hector Bellerin is still injured and won’t be back until the New Year, placing more importance on the shoulders of young Ainsley Maitland-Niles and the experienced Stephane Lichtsteiner.
We are missing Nacho Monreal, who went off during the first half our win over Burnley through injury, and Rob Holding is most likely out for the majority of the season.
We also have Shkodran Mustafi still not fit, and with Laurent Koscielny still off the mark when it comes to sharpness, it means the likes of Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac are vital.
In midfield, the stats for the pairing of Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka are hugely impressive – their win percentage is nearly perfect, but with Torreira one booking away from suspension and therefore possibly missing the Liverpool game, the Uruguayan could sit this one out. That means another possible start for Mohamed Elneny, who performed well in the furnace against Burnley.
In attack, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in red-hot form, but will he be rested with Liverpool in mind? That could mean the sole striking spot goes to Alexandre Lacazette, and Mesut Ozil could also be dropped to save him for the trip to Anfield - but expect a few changes for this one, with the likes of Alex Iwobi coming in. With Henrikh Mkhitaryan out for the next 6-8 weeks, Ozil could avoid the chop.
How This Will Unfold
Brighton are no strangers to keeping it on the deck, but with talismanic Lewis Dunk suspended for this game, they could stack the midfield and attempt to strangle the game, and supply, to our strikers.
I expect Hughton will have instructed his players to hit the ground running in the first twenty minutes as we are hardly quick starters lately. If we can keep them out until then, I expect we will go on to win it.
It is hard to predict with any certainty how this will go as rotation will almost certainly come into play for this fixture. However, we rotated against Burnley and we did well – our squad is more than equipped for this, and our fringe players need to take their chances.
If we are clinical – unlike against Tottenham in our Carabao Cup loss – then we can take the 3 points back to London. If we are profligate and lax at the back, Brighton have the personnel to hurt us.
This is just as vital as the game against Liverpool. They both amount to the same points if we win them, so let’s keep the bandwagon rolling with another win.
Up The Arsenal and a Merry Christmas to you all