The Gunners travel to Falmer Stadium as the headlining match on New Year’s Eve. The league leaders take on a well-run and high-performing Brighton who sit seventh. By the time Arsenal’s match kicks off both Newcastle and Manchester City will have played, letting Mikel Arteta know exactly where their Premier League lead stands.
The Gunners have an overall favorable history against Brighton. The two sides have played 26 times with Arsenal winning 14 and drawing an additional five. Recently, however, Brighton has had the upper hand. The Seagulls have won the last two matches in the series - the League Cup tie before the World Cup break and a 2-1 victory over Arsenal last April. In fact, Arsenal has just two wins in their last ten matches against Brighton. Expect a difficult test on Saturday.
And make sure to check out the Q&A with We Are Brighton ahead of this match.
- Fabio Vieira
- Mohamed Elneny
- Albert Sambi Lokonga
- Kieran Tierney
- Takehiro Tomiyasu
- Rob Holding
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: Gabriel Jesus (injury), Reiss Nelson (injury) & Emile Smith Rowe (injury)
- For the most part, the starting XI remains unchanged from the win over West Ham. The biggest question is at left-back. Will Kieran Tierney get another start or is Oleksandr Zinchenko now fit enough to go from the opening kick? Zinchenko came on late in Monday’s match, so Saturday looks to be his return to the starting lineup for the first time since the November 12th win over Wolves after sitting out all three friendlies over the break.
- Tomiyasu missed out on the bench against West Ham, but Mikel Arteta’s comments make it seem as though we will see him this weekend. “[Tomiyasu] is getting closer and closer. He’s been training with us, so he’s available.” Perhaps he could be in contention to start the FA Cup tie against Oxford United on January 9th. However, Emile Smith Rowe still seems to be a few days away, “[Emile] has made some big steps in the last week or so. He’s taken part in a few training sessions lately and he’s looking good. We’re looking forward to having him back soon.” While the team is working well, his return would be a great boost heading into the matches against Newcastle (January 3rd) and Tottenham (January 15th).
- Nketiah’s strike against West Ham was his fourth goal of the season, just one shy of his total last year. The Gunners now have six players with at least four goals. But Eddie will remain in the spotlight while Gabriel Jesus rehabs and throughout the January transfer window. Can Arsenal manage with Nketiah up top, spelled occasionally by Martinelli, until Jesus’ return? Focusing on next season and Folarin Balogun’s return from a highly successful loan in Ligue 1. Or could we see an experienced striker added on a short-term deal to support Nketiah for the next few months?
How to watch
Saturday (12/31) at 12:30 pm ET / 9:30 am PT on NBC.
Arsenal - 2
Brighton - 1