The Gunners are nearing the end of their congested festive schedule, and they find themselves fifth in the league table, level on points with Chelsea but behind on goal difference. Depending on what the Blues do, Arsenal could take that fourth spot from them, and on paper, they should beat 13th-placed Brighton, who have lost their last three matches.
But amid a spate of injuries, particularly on the defensive side of the pitch, Unai Emery has had to get creative with his lineups, and it’s clear that the team is far from its optimal configuration. Granit Xhaka, who has spent the last few games at center back because Arsenal don’t have many of those at the moment, is missed in the midfield, and the team doesn’t really have the sort of defensive prowess on the wings that it needs to cover for its shaky back line.
Injured center backs include Rob Holding (ACL, out for the season), Dinos Mavropanos (lingering groin injury) and Shkodran Mustafi, who the team has ruled out for this match. Moving up the pitch, we have—deep breath—Hector Bellerin definitely out and Nacho Monreal doubtful, Henrikh Mkhitaryan gone for at least six weeks with a recently broken right foot, Emile Smith Rowe on the sidelines for another week or so, and Danny Welbeck out for the season after surgery to repair a broken ankle.
For Brighton, Jose Izquierdo and Alireza Jahanbakhsh will sit this one out with injuries, and Lewis Dunk is serving a suspension after his red card against Bournemouth. Meanwhile, the Seagulls will get Shane Duffy back, with his suspension now over.
WHAT: Arsenal at Brighton & Hove Albion
WHERE: The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton and Hove, Sussex
WHEN: Wednesday, December 26th 9:15 AM PT | 12:15 PM ET | 5:15 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN. Stream here.
For international streaming information, go to livesoccer.tv. No discussion of illegal streaming links, please!
Here's how Albion line up for today's @premierleague match against @Arsenal at the Amex Stadium...— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) December 26, 2018
3⃣ changes for the Seagulls - Shane Duffy, Dale Stephens and Glenn Murray return to the side.
Matchday Live presented by @SnickersUKcom#BHAFC ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/C8IjR7CUcL