Brighton vs Arsenal – Match Preview
Much has been made regarding the Premier League’s three-month hiatus and whether the form in the first phase of the campaign, will act as a precursor to what happens within the upcoming nine-round sprint.
If that is to be the case, it does not make for particularly good news as far as Brighton are concerned and after failing to win any of their last nine Premier League outings, manager Graham Potter will be looking to hit the reset button.
The Seagulls are just about keeping their heads above water, as far as relegation is concerned and although their current standing of 15th looks comfortable enough, they are almost in something of a false position.
Should that failure to win continue, Brighton may find themselves in a terribly similar situation to last season and one that although saw them avoid relegation, it did eventually cost their previous manager his employment status.
With Graham Potter recently signing a new contract extension, the likelihood of him getting sacked at the end of the season may not be as prevalent and although his job security is not fundamentally at risk, relegation is certainly not on the agenda.
For them to avoid the drop to the EFL Championship, they will need to get out of the blocks quickly and with the visit of Arsenal this Saturday, the hope will be that the Gunners are tired from their Wednesday evening exploits against Manchester City.
Exploits that weren’t looking all that bad to start with, of course, that was until David Luiz entered the field of play and with the Brazilian defender being at fault for the first two of City’s goals, the fact that he is suspended will arguably be more of a relief than anything else.
The trip to the Etihad was one that saw Alexander Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe rested and with the pair not starting for Arsenal, the logical conclusion was that Mikel Arteta felt it best not to expose them to a game that was less than winnable.
In addition to that, there was no room for Mesut Ozil in a 20-man matchday squad and although Arteta said after the game it was for ‘tactical reasons’, the absence of the German was a damming indictment.
Whether room for the former Real Madrid man can be found this Saturday remains to be seen, although when you consider the lack of pace and dynamism he now offers, it looks as if Arsenal now have a very expensive white elephant on their hands.
While expense is going to be required as far as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is concerned and with a new deal yet to be agreed, we could also be witnessing the last few appearances in red and white from the Gabonese hitman.
Before the game against Manchester City, Arsenal had gone unbeaten in their last 8 league matches and the hope from within that camp is that defeat to the soon to be former Premier League champions is a minor blip.
Of those eight games unbeaten, it was a split of four wins and four draws and although they may not be blowing teams away with sheer attacking guile, they are at least proving to be hard to beat on most occasions.
A trait that Brighton may also consider themselves to have, as even though they have not won any of their last nine league games, they have only suffered defeat in four and it is that chink of optimism that will carry them through to this weekend.
The last time these two teams met, was at the Emirates back in December of last year and it was a game that saw Brighton pick up a shocking underdog win – one that going into the game saw them at odds of +413 on the money line.
Therefore, Arsenal will certainly be plotting revenge in this upcoming encounter and at odds of +140 to win, they do seem a good bet to bounce back from Wednesday night’s woes and return to winning ways.