Title contenders Arsenal will host European contenders Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League following different performances in the exceptional Bank Holiday gameweek.
Last Saturday, Mikel Arteta’s team defeated Newcastle United 2-0 to secure a top two finish, while the Seagulls were shockingly defeated 5-1 by Everton.
As they continue to put pressure on Premier League (PL) leaders Manchester City, Arsenal passed what may have been their toughest remaining test this season with a courageous 2-0 victory over Newcastle. They’ve passed the 80 points threshold, but they’re still in a catchup mode, so all they can do is keep winning and hope their opponents make mistakes. Three games remain, and Mikel Arteta, the manager, cautioned: “We’re still there.”
The Gunners’ penultimate home game is against Brighton & Hove Albion, who have won the last two head to head meetings here. As they attempt to extend their six games unbeaten PL home streak (W5, D1), they should anticipate another test. Arteta’s team scored at least three goals in each of those games, although they have never done so against Brighton in the Premier League (W2, D1, L2).
That might cheer up the visitors, who will be hurting after their hopes of qualifying for Europe took a hit following Monday’s shocking 5-1 loss to Everton. Despite Roberto De Zerbi’s belief that they must “improve very fast” to reach their goal of finishing in the top six, his team still enjoys a comfortable lead over those around them thanks to games in hand.
It’s make or break time for the Seagulls with three difficult league away matches remaining, including trips to Newcastle and Aston Villa. The Seagulls should be a threat having scored in each of their last 11 PL road games (W5, D3, L3), though it’s important to note that they have a mixed league record in the capital this season (W2, D1, L3).
Martin degaard reached the 15 goals mark this Premier League season after opening the scoring in both of Arsenal’s most recent games; five of his most recent six goals came before the break. Since Alex Mac Allister has scored after the 75th minute in both of Brighton’s last two games, he might be more likely to score after halftime.
Along with the season long absences of Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny due to knee injuries, it has been reported that William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko will also miss the remainder of the season for Arsenal. Arteta has refuted these claims, however.
Due to Saliba’s sluggish return from a back injury, many Arsenal supporters had given up hope of seeing him play this season. Meanwhile, Zinchenko suffered a calf injury against St. James’ Park and will probably be replaced by Kieran Tierney for the remaining matches of the month.
Leandro Trossard, a former player for Brighton, should accept a seat on the bench against his old employers despite Jorginho’s success in the engine room at Newcastle, which may have been sufficient to keep Thomas Partey out of the team once more.
Salt was added to Brighton’s wounds against Everton when winger Solly March, who was substituted in at halftime, left the game with a thigh injury. De Zerbi has announced that the player would sit out this game along with Adam Webster.
In addition to Jeremy Sarmiento (ankle), Tariq Lamptey (knee), Joel Veltman (thigh), Adam Lallana (thigh), and Jakub Moder (knee), March and Webster’s absences add to the visitors’ ongoing fitness issues. Only Veltman may have the slimmest chance of competing at the Emirates.
After such a horrifying humiliation, De Zerbi will consider changes to the lineup, including the additions of Levi Colwill, Julio Enciso, and Evan Ferguson, the latter of whom might drive former Arsenal player Danny Welbeck to the bench.
Arsenal possible starting lineup
Ramsdale, White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Tierney, Odegaard, Jorginho, Xhaka, Saka, Jesus and Martinelli.
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup
Steele, Gross, Dunk, Colwill, Estupinan, Caicedo, Gilmour, Enciso, Mac Allister, Mitoma and Ferguson.
We predict: Arsenal 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Arsenal’s buildup play will suffer severely without Saliba’s passing contributions from the back or Zinchenko’s ability to break lines, and the Emirates has recently been a pleasant hunting ground for Brighton.
The shell shocked Seagulls would benefit greatly from a team revamp, but De Zerbi is coping with his own untimely injury problem, and Brighton lacks a reliable road winning formula, which should cause them to lose at the Emirates as Arsenal maintains its title contention.