Albert Sambi Lokonga is likely to start in place of Thomas Partey, while Gabriel Martinelli could come in for Emile Smith Rowe against Brighton.
Mikel Arteta will be hoping to bounce back from the surprise defeat against Crystal Palace on Monday night. Arsenal have the chance to reclaim the fourth spot when they face a struggling Brighton & Hove Albion, although the Gunners will have to make do without two key stars.
While Kieran Tierney has already been ruled out for the remainder of the season, Thomas Partey is likely to face the same fate. The Ghanaian midfielder suffered a muscle injury that Arteta confirmed will keep him out for a few weeks. At this stage of the campaign, such injuries are likely season-enders.
Tierney had suffered an injury at a similar time last season, which derailed Arsenal’s run-in. Nuno Tavares will likely play in place of the Scotsman for the duration of the remainder of the season. The Portuguese defender came in for criticism after the Crystal Palace game, but Arteta insisted the left-back needs a rhythm of games to get back to speed.
During his press conference, Arteta said, “His confidence probably wasn’t the best because he wasn’t playing a lot of minutes, and he needs the rhythm, the competition and the understanding with his teammates.”
“We have to help him to do that, but at the end of the day, when you’re in a match you have to decide if something can change the game and how can we make it better and on Monday we made that decision.”
Arteta also touched upon Partey’s injury and said, “It is a little bit ambiguous, but he has a significant injury and we’ll have to keep assessing him, but he will be out for some weeks. It could be (an issue), but it could also not be because it’s an area where he had a previous injury as well and he felt it straight away. It’s not quick. “
Albert Sambi Lokonga is the ideal candidate to replace Partey. The Belgian midfielder produced an impressive cameo against Crystal Palace and is likely to brace himself for an extended run in the team. Granit Xhaka will partner him in the middle of the park and Arteta will likely revert to a double-pivot.
Meanwhile, Gabriel Martinelli is expected to come back into the lineup and replace Emile Smith Rowe on the left side of the Arsenal attack. After Alexandre Lacazette finished yet another game without a goal from open play, there were calls for the Brazilian to replace the Frenchman up front.
However, Lacazette’s experience could be considered vital at this stage of the season by Arteta and hence, the Frenchman might remain in his role. Meanwhile, Smith Rowe could be a high-quality option off the bench, and he will join Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe there. Bukayo Saka is a certainty on the right-wing, while Martin Odegaard will reprise his usual no. 10 role against Brighton.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Lokonga, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette