Arsenal host Brighton at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening. The Gunners need to win to keep pace with Man City and their title dreams alive. The Seagulls suffered a 5-1 loss on Monday and will want to show a strong response here. The reverse fixture saw a six-goal thriller that ended 4-2 to Arteta’s team.
The Gunners have had two massive results in a row to show that they will take the title race down to the last couple of matches. A 3-1 home win against Chelsea saw them 3-0 up after 34 minutes. Last weekend, they weathered a Newcastle storm in a very impressive 2-0 win at St. James’ Park. It was a great response to being humbled 4-1 at Man City and seeing the league title taken out of their control.
That loss made it four league matches without a win as the pressure has told. They threw away 2-0 leads at Liverpool and at West Ham to draw both matches 2-2. A 3-3 home draw with Southampton saw them trailing 3-1 and needing two late goals to even rescue a point. That four-match winless streak came after seven league wins in a row.
Arsenal Team News
Mikel Arteta has four players ruled out for the foreseeable future. Takehiro Tomiyasu is out and William Saliba’s back problem has not improved. Oleksandr Zinchenko has picked up a calf injury and he misses out, whilst Mohamed Elneny is still absent.
Jakub Kiwior and Kieran Tierney are set to start in the back four. After two fine performances, Jorginho will keep Thomas Partey out of the XI once again. In attack, Gabriel Martinelli will start in preference to Leandro Trossard.
The Gunners could start this match four points behind Man City, who play before them at Everton. Regardless of the result there, this is a must-win game to keep the title race alive.
Arsenal will look to start fast and they may change style slightly to focus more on stopping Brighton and using transitions.
Brighton sit seventh in the table and could still finish as high as sixth for a spot in next season’s Europa League. They followed up a loss to Arsenal back in December with a run of one loss in 15 matches in all competitions. However, there has been a slight recent dip. After a 2-1 loss at Spurs in unfortunate circumstances, they “thrashed” Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in a one-sided affair.
Their last few results haven’t been quite as good. They lost in the FA Cup semi-final on penalties to Man Utd and then a tired display saw them beaten 3-1 at Nottingham Forest. They remained inconsistent as a 6-0 thumping of in-form Wolves followed at home. They then scored a last-gasp penalty in a deserved 1-0 victory over Man Utd. On Monday, they lost 5-1 at home to Everton despite outshooting them 23-10 and producing 0.98 more Expected Goals (3.26 xG in total).
Brighton Team News
Roberto De Zerbi could make a number of changes to the XI after the Everton thrashing on Monday. Adam Lallana and Jakub Moder remain out long-term and Joel Veltman, Jeremy Sarmiento, and Tariq Lamptey are injured too. Solly March is a doubt on the right wing.
Evan Ferguson is set to return at number ten and Levi Colwill could replace Adam Webster in defence. Julio Enciso will also come into the XI and Billy Gilmour is another option to freshen things up in the engine room.
The Seagulls won’t change their way of playing and will want to show a good reaction. They created chances in midweek but made bad mistakes defensively.
De Zerbi’s side will play on the front foot, look to go toe-to-toe with Arsenal, and will play for a win.
Arsenal have scored 2+ goals in 10 of their last 11 league matches.
Arsenal have lost just once in 13 Premier League matches.
Brighton have seen Over 2.5 goals in 5 of their last 6 league matches.
Brighton have won 3 of their last 5 away matches vs Arsenal (all competitions).
Brighton’s last 4 matches have seen 17 goals (9 scored, 8 conceded).
This match has the potential to be full of goals, much like the reverse fixture (4-2 to Arsenal). The Gunners should take three points but backing the goals market could bring you the most value.