Arsenal will be aiming for three more points when they lock horns with Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.
Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday sparked hopes of the club’s potential comeback after a disastrous start to the season. It was an important result that not only helped take some pressure off Mikel Arteta’s shoulders but also made a huge impact on the league table, with the Blues now a mere outsider in the title race.
On Tuesday, the Gunners will be aiming to continue on their road to redemption as they face Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. This game marks the start of an important run of fixtures for Arsenal, who are set to play their next four matches against teams that are in the bottom half of the league table.
Arteta’s men will also be aware of the fact that creating a winning momentum during this period could offer them an ideal opportunity to get back into the top half of the league table. In fact, they are trailing ninth-placed Southampton only by five points heading into this game so securing a victory against Brighton this midweek could be imperative.
Speaking of Brighton, they have endured a difficult period recently, having failed to secure a win in any of their last six league matches. Earlier this month they also became one of only two teams to fail to win against bottom club Sheffield United this season. As a result, Graham Potter’s men are now flirting with relegation.
A loss at home against Arsenal could further drown the Seagulls into the drop zone, especially with Burnley having a game in hand. So it promises to be a riveting encounter with stakes already high as we near the end of 2020. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this highly important fixture in the Premier League.
Team News & Tactics
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion will once again be without the services of key player Tariq Lamptey, as confirmed by Potter during his latest press conference. Adam Lallana is another face who could miss out against Arsenal, although the ex-Liverpool midfielder will go through a late fitness test.
Nevertheless, Lamptey’s absence means Ben White is in contention to start at right wing-back once again. However, we could potentially see Joel Veltman starting in that position as Potter looks to ring in a few changes from the side that drew with West Ham at the weekend.
The Dutchman’s return to the side should allow White to feature in his preferred centre-back position alongside the two premier defenders in Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster. Solly March, on the other hand, could retain his place in the side ahead of Bernardo as the Seagulls look to maintain a left-sided overload.
Lallana faces a race against time to recover before Tuesday’s clash so we could see Steven Alzate operating in the double-pivot alongside the star performer against West Ham in Yves Bissouma, who is a target for a host of Premier League clubs. It will be interesting to see how the holding midfielder fares against an equally aggressive figure in Granit Xhaka this midweek.
Moving forward, we may see Danny Welbeck spearheading the Brighton attack against his former side. The striker will be naturally desperate to impress, with additional support from Leandro Trossard and Pascal Gross.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Sanchez; White, Dunk, Webster; Veltman, Bissouma, Alzate, March; Gross, Trossard; Welbeck
Mikel Arteta will have to make some wise decisions in regards to his team selection this midweek as he continues to miss out on the services of Gabriel Magalhaes. In addition, David Luiz is a doubt, so we may once again see Pablo Mari forming the central defensive pairing alongside Rob Holding.
It remains likely that Arteta could stick to a four-man backline given their performance over Chelsea. However, it won’t be surprising to see the left-back Kieran Tierney moving into a central role, considering Brighton’s 3-4-3. Hector Bellerin, meanwhile, should once again feature at right-back ahead of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Cedric Soares.
The biggest boost for Arsenal heading into this game, however, is the potential return of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese international is believed to be fit to start after settling for a place on the bench in the last game. He will be desperate to get back among the goals, with additional support from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli in the final third.
That said, a bigger selection problem for Arteta will be in the number nine slot. Emile Smith Rowe made quite an impact in the win over Chelsea, but Alexandre Lacazette played an even bigger role. But with Aubameyang back in contention, the Frenchman will now have to compete with Smith Rowe for a place in the starting lineup.
It is fair to point out that Arsenal do need a reliable ball carrier in the middle of the park so the young playmaker will definitely fancy his chances of getting the nod ahead of Lacazette. He will be supported by Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in the defensive midfield positions this midweek.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Aubameyang
- Arsenal Draw No Bet @ 1.61
- Full-Time Result – Draw @ 3.40
- Brighton won home and away league games against Arsenal last season – they’ve never won three in a row against the Gunners in league competition before.
- After winning the first two top-flight away games against Brighton, the Gunners are winless in their last five league visits to face the Seagulls.
- Brighton have lost their final league game in just one of the last seven calendar years, doing so against Ipswich in the Championship in 2015.
- Arsenal lost their final league game in both 2018 and 2019 – they’ve not lost their final league game in three consecutive calendar years since doing so between 1947 and 1949.
- Brighton have won just one of their last 16 home Premier League games in 2020, though that victory did come against Arsenal back in June. No team in Premier League history has won as few as one home game across an entire calendar year (excluding teams that were promoted/relegated).
Player to Watch
Gabriel Martinelli’s return from injury has been a boon for Arsenal in recent weeks. It was evident in the youngster’s performance against Manchester City while he also played a starring role in the 3-1 win over Chelsea.
Martinelli has offered that extra energy and directness that Arsenal have been missing from their offensive unit throughout the course of this campaign. His pace has also made the Gunners much deadlier on the counter while also allowing the likes of Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette to roam more freely in the final third.
Against Brighton, the Brazilian could be a vital cog in the Arsenal attack once again, especially considering the fact that the Eagles will have to deploy either Ben White or Joel Veltman in the right wing-back position. Both of them are relatively slow on the turf so it will be interesting to see how Potter’s men plan to stop the Arsenal speedster this midweek.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Arsenal
Considering the inconsistencies of both teams heading into this encounter, this is indeed a difficult game to predict. However, it is certain to be a low-scoring encounter and we might be in for a cagey affair. That said, Arsenal do have the momentum and with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli causing quite a menace, we expect the visitors to secure a narrow win on Tuesday.