Arsenal will hope to put the defeat up north at Manchester City behind them with a trip down south to the Amex Stadium for a Premier League clash against Brighton & Hove Albion; a side still without a win this calendar year.
Good day one an all.
Mikel Arteta’s return to the familiar surroundings of the Etihad did not go t all well, with the crushing 3-0 loss also putting an end to our unbeaten 2020 league run.
We always knew facing the reigning champions in our first game post-lockdown was going to be bit of a challenge… but to then lose Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari to injuries early on and having an error-strewn David Luiz sent off just made an already bad evening even worse. But you know, we just have to pick ourselves up.
The Gunners go into this match 9th-placed in the league table, eight points off the top-four. If we want to keep hope alive of a European spot, we simply cannot afford any more of those faux pas like at the Etihad. Our failure to stay switched-on has always been more of a problem than anything else.
Brighton have become sort of a bogey team to Arsenal since their return to the top-flight in 2017/18. They lost the initial encounter 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium and went unbeaten in the next four. Two of those games ended in wins, the last by 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in December.
However, their travails since may give us a chance to exact revenge. Being the only PL club yet to win a game in 2020, has left them embroiled in a fight for survival. And with games to follow against Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd. and Leicester in their run-in, the future looks pretty gloomy for Graham Potter’s side.
It wasn’t always this grim for the Seagulls. They got home wins against Totnum and Everton, and on New Years Day held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in front of a packed Amex. But with games being played in empty stadiums for the foreseeable future, it could be a struggle to rise to the occasion once more to maintain their good run against the Gunners.
With centerback Mari ruled out for the rest of the season, Sokratis still short of fitness and David Luiz suspended for our next two games, Rob Holding is expected to come into the fold to provide defensive cover.
Xhaka’s injury and Lucas Torreira only just returning to training after a fractured ankle, will cause Mikel a selection dilemma. But it also provides an opening for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to play in his preferred central midfield position.
That said; with the relentless nature of the revised schedule and five-sub rule, we are likely to see more rotation than usual. So the young’uns that started against City could all make way for their more seasoned counterparts.
The league resumption may have gotten off to a foul start for Arsenal but Brighton certainly got their share of bother. So while both sides are desperate to get back to winning ways… the Gunners may just edge this to help nudge the Seagulls back to the Championship. COYG!