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Arsenal enter the weekend out of the Champions League places, just behind our North London rivals after a abysmal 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace. The loss alone is disappointing, although Crystal Palace have shown the ability to perform well against the Top 6 clubs especially at home. What is more unfortunate is the injury crisis that Arsenal now face. With Kieran Tierney out for the season, and Thomas Partey and Takehiro Tomiyasu out for the next few weeks, Mikel Arteta is left with some key decisions moving forward.

The Arsenal of the past couple of years has been susceptible to turning one disappointing loss into a disastrous run of form. However, this season, Arsenal have shown the ability to bounce back- look at the Aston Villa performance after the loss to Liverpool. The manager spoke to that after the match Monday, and Martin Odegaard echoed the same sentiment- the team must continue to take one match at a time, and that means moving past the poor performances.

As I have said on the Avenell Roadcast, I am generally an optimistic Arsenal fan, especially about this current group of players. While I definitely have concerns about Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga being thrust into the starting lineup, I back the manager, and the squad as a whole, to provide the encouragement and platform for the two youngsters to succeed. Whether I am proved right, or I fall victim to “It’s the Hope that Kills” yet again is still to be determined.

About the Visitors

Brighton & Hove Albion have looked very good in the early part of the season, but has had a hard time beating their closest during their last 5 games, recently drawing against Norwich FC. Graham Potter has done wonders with the Seagulls, giving them a much improved competitiveness over the last couple of seasons, but they have had a hard time keeping a consistent goal threat, usually underscoring their xG.

Setting up in either a 442 diamond or a 541 formation, Brighton looks to use their front players to force long passes up the pitch, that their midfield and defense can head back towards the awaiting midfield. The formation lends a lot of room for their wide backs, Lamptey and Cucurella, who try to use their speed and technical ability to upset the opposition with darting runs either down the flanks or diagonally across the midfield.

 Wide cross from the right flank early in the match, Fraser sitting totally unmarked on the far post

Defensively, Brighton looks to use their front 3/4 to hound the opposition defense and force long passes which then can be swooped up by the likes of Duffy, Dunk or Veltman and redistrubuted to the midfield. Usually the likes of Cucurella and Lamptey stay very high and try to help with the press in midfield or attack. If play is allowed to develop, the Seagulls drops into a much more defensive low block, having their main outlet be the wide areas.

Offensively Brighton is looking best when unlocking their wide areas. They look to set a passing triangle up on the edge of the box and then look to drag the opposition out enough to slip someone into a underlapping position. Having the likes of Trossard and Cucurella gives Brighton’s left side a much more venomous look than their right, where Lamptey is struggling to keep his composure in close quarters. Against Newcastle, interestingly, Lamptey was initially set as a Left Striker position alongside Welbeck, but would drift into the wide right side space in the final third.

 Cucurella wide, having Moder and Trossard as overlapping partners

When defending against Brighton, Arsenal would do well to focus on press triggering against the Seagulls right side and isolating Lamptey. While it’s never wise to underestimate your opponent, Lampteys expanded offensive role does not look to fit him yet, and his initial partners in Veltman and Groß aren’t mobile enough to help him out, without Trossard joining the mix. Furthermore, if Arsenal manage to pin Brighton back, Brighton doesn’t seem to have an easy outlet to pass to up front, leaving Welbeck to fight it out on his own.

When attacking Brighton, Arsenal could very well use the fact that Brighton’s backline isn’t the fastest. Without Lamptey to catch runners, Potter’s men are very susceptible to transitional play. Setting up with the likes of Saka, Smith Rowe and Martinelli, Arsenal could very well cause a lot of stir on Brighton’s initially high line when in possession. This does also mean Arsenal needs to drop slightly back to a mid block in order to move Brighton up field.

 Willock carries the ball wide, outpacing Brighton’s defense

This should be a game where Arsenal exploit the bad form of their opposition and gain some much needed confidence before going into some tough games against their surrounding competition. Hopefully it’s boosts the teams morale.

What the Manager Says (courtesy

Throughout your career you have to go through difficult moments, and he’s had some really good periods since he arrived at the club and he was playing many more minutes than he was probably expecting. That’s the life of a player, especially at that age. 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.

They’re a team with a lot of personality, a coach that is very willing to play, that is very aggressive in the way they press, that wants to dominate the game and they have good players to do that but they are very difficult to beat. They don’t concede a lot of chances and opportunities in open play and also set pieces and they’re a threat.

Arsenal Record vs Opponent (League only)

3W 3D 3L

Goals Scored (Season Average)

Arsenal (Home): 1.6

Brighton (Away): 1.14

Goals Conceded (Season Average)

Arsenal (Home): 0.8

Brighton (Away): 1.14

xG per Match (via

Arsenal (Home): 1.76

Brighton (Away): 0.97

Match Officials

Referee: David Coote

Assistants: Ian Hussin, Nick Hopton

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR: Chris Kavanagh

Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis

Match Facts (courtesy

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in three Premier League meetings with Brighton (W2, D1).
  • Brighton have recorded one win in 10 away games against Arsenal in all competitions (D2, L7).
  • The reverse fixture this season finished 0-0 and ended Brighton’s run of 10 league matches without a clean sheet against the Gunners.
  • Arsenal have suffered two defeats in three league games after a run of one loss in 11 (W9, D1).
  • The Gunners are undefeated in 14 Premier League home games against teams below them in the table (W10, D4).
  • Arsenal have lost one of their previous 28 top-flight games at 3pm on a Saturday (W23, D4), with that defeat coming at Brighton in June 2020.
  • Alexandre Lacazette has gone 16 games in all competitions without scoring from open play.

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