Mikel Arteta will seek to get the top-four hunt back on track when Arsenal welcome a struggling Brighton & Hove Albion to the Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal took the week to reflect and understand what went wrong on Monday night when Crystal Palace ran out 3-0 winners at Selhurst Park. The heavy defeat was surprising considering the Gunners were on a five-game winning streak away from home, damaging their hunt for a top-four finish.
Tottenham’s big win over Newcastle United pushed them ahead of the Gunners on goal difference. The pressure was on Arsenal to get a win and reclaim their place on the table, and they now find themselves chasing their north London rivals, albeit with a game in hand.
Mikel Arteta, despite injuries to two of his key stars, will be hoping to shrug off the result against Crystal Palace and take three points against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates. Losing further ground will be a big blow for Arsenal’s ambitions to play Champions League football next season, and it will also hand Spurs the initiative in the top-four chase.
The morale-sapping draw against bottom-placed Norwich City is not the ideal preparation Brighton would have wanted before their trip to the Emirates. Graham Potter’s men have endured a dreadful run of form lately, failing to score in six of their last seven games. Their stalemate with the Canaries was only meaningful in ending a six-game losing streak.
Potter will be hoping his team re-visits their performance against Arsenal earlier in the season, which ended in a draw at the Amex Stadium. The Brighton manager will look to address a goalscoring problem in the side, knowing well that his players need to take the chances against the Gunners, who have kept a clean sheet in three consecutive clean sheets against them.
Team News & Tactics
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 7, 2022
After barely shuffling his lineups since the end of January, Mikel Arteta will make changes for the Brighton clash. While Kieran Tierney was ruled out this week for the remainder of the season after knee surgery, Thomas Partey also suffered a muscle problem. The issue will force the Ghanaian to miss a few weeks of action.
Albert Sambi Lokonga is no stranger to deputising for Partey and will come in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka. Arteta will likely revert to a double-pivot, as a 4-3-3 without Partey is considered less effective. Meanwhile, Nuno Tavares, who came in for criticism after the Crystal Palace defeat will continue at left-back in Tierney’s absence.
Takehiro Tomiyasu is expected to remain out of action, meaning Cedric Soares will keep his place at right-back, as he has since the end of January. Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Aaron Ramsdale will complete the defensive setup, hoping to keep a clean sheet against Brighton.
Alexandre Lacazette’s lack of goals from the centre-forward role is becoming a problem for the Gunners. The French striker has gone 19 hours and 23 minutes without scoring a goal from open play in the Premier League, which has led to calls to start Gabriel Martinelli in the leading role.
Arteta might stick with Lacazette and probably start Martinelli on the left, with Emile Smith Rowe giving way to the Brazilian. Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka will complete the attacking lineup for Arsenal, hoping to get back on the scoresheet against the Seagulls.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Lokonga, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette
Brighton & Hove Albion
Graham Potter delivered positive news during his pre-match press conference. There could be potential returns for Adam Webster, Adam Lallana and Moises Caicedo into the matchday squad, although none of them is expected to start the game against Arsenal.
Great to see Webby out there. 👊 The squad setting their sights on Saturday! 🔜 pic.twitter.com/sEkhEd41Y2
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) April 8, 2022
Jakub Moder lasted just five minutes against Norwich as he ruptured his ACL and should be out for many months. Yves Bissouma, who was an unused substitute against Norwich is in line to start the game. He could potentially have Pascal Gross and Alexis Mac Allister on either side in the central areas.
With Webster unlikely to start, Potter will retain the same backline that drew against Norwich. Robert Sanchez will keep his place in goal, while Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk and Marc Cucurella will continue their run in central defence. Solly March and Tariq Lamptey are expected to play as the wing-backs on either flank in this setup.
Leandro Trossard should be the ideal candidate to start as the second striker behind Neal Maupay. The potential forward partnership between the Belgian and the Frenchman will force former Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck to be relegated to a bench role at the Emirates.
Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Cucurella; Lamptey, Gross, Bissouma, Mac Allister, March; Trossard; Maupay
- Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in three consecutive games against Brighton in the Premier League.
- Alexandre Lacazette has gone 19 hours and 23 minutes without scoring from open play in the Premier League.
- With 10-wins from 14-games at the Emirates, Arsenal have the third-best home record in the Premier League this season.
- Brighton have failed to score in 6 of their last-7 matches in the Premier League.
- Brighton have failed to win their last-7 matches in the Premier League
Player To Watch
💬 “There’s ups and downs and we are here to try and help him and make his career better, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 8, 2022
Tavares may not be the most glamorous name on the pitch on Saturday, but he certainly has big shoes to fill in Arsenal’s end of the season run-in. The Portuguese youngster had a nightmare evening at Palace, with the left-back considered faulty for the first two goals, he will have to come up with a positive response.
Last season, Arsenal suffered a derailment due to Tierney’s absence through injury, and this is why they got in Tavares. The Portuguese full-back needs to show his early form at the club and put in a performance that screams simplicity than doing anything that would hurt his team’s chances against Brighton.
Arsenal 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Arsenal fans were in for a surprise after their defeat to Palace, and will certainly be hoping there’s no repeat performance from Monday. The Gunners’ home form certainly boosts their chances against Brighton, who come into this game on a difficult run of form.
Expect Arsenal to get back on track and collect three points in what promises to be a cagey encounter against the Seagulls. Brighton have the defensive capabilities to shut out any attack, although of late they have been dismantled with even an average attacking lineup, while the Gunners boast massive talents to get a result here.