A compressed schedule with World Cup action in the winter. The expectation was that injuries were inevitable this season and squads attempted to add depth to prepare. However, the exact injuries and timing hindered Arsenal’s ability to maintain control in the title race - Gabriel Jesus and later William Saliba. Now with Oleksandr Zinchenko ruled out for the rest of the year, along with Saliba, the pressure shifts to Kieran Tierney and Jakub Kiwior to keep the pressure on Manchester City or at a minimum have a strong finish to the season.
Arsenal’s history against Brighton since they rejoined the Premier League for the 2017-18 season has not been great. Played 12, won 4, drawn 3, and lost 5. Last season Arsenal just a single point in the two matches against Brighton. Earlier this year the Gunners were knocked out of the League Cup by Sunday’s opponent 3-1, before picking up three points in an entertaining 4-2 result at the Amex Stadium. On that day Saka, Odegaard, Nketiah, and Martinelli all scored, while future Gunner Leandro Trossard came on for the final half-hour.
- Gabriel Martinelli
- Eddie Nketiah
- Reiss Nelson
- Fabio Vieira
- Emile Smith Rowe
- Thomas Partey
- Rob Holding
- Reuell Walters
- Matt Turner
- Left Out: Oleksandr Zinchenko (injury), William Saliba (injury), Takehiro Tomiyasu (injury), & Mohamed Elneny (injury)
- With Zinchenko out for the remainder of the season, Kieran Tierney slots into the starting left-back role for the final three games. He’s been pushed down the order this year, but likely to feature more prominently next season with Champions League football factoring into the schedule. He’ll provide a bit of improved defensive coverage against Brighton’s wingers, but still expect for him to get forward at times and slide into midfield as Zinchenko typical does. A strong trio of matches to close out the year could be a good building block for next season.
- With Zinchenko, Saliba, and Tomiyasu all out, the back line only has one senior substitute - Rob Holding. Reuell Walters likely comes in for fullback coverage, but Arteta probably won’t bring in another U21 defender, instead opting to use Xhaka in case of an emergency.
- While Martinelli had a good match in the win over Newcastle, Arteta could easily opt to bring Trossard in to face his old side. He has been an impressive mid-season addition, sloting into the team seamlessly. Regardless of how this season finish, he will play a big part in next year’s Premier League and Champions League campaigns.
How to watch
Sunday (5/14) at 11:30 am ET / 8:30 pm PT on the USA Network.
Arsenal - 3
Brighton - 1
Brighton has been up and down lately. Combine that with Arsenal back at the Emirates and still chasing an outside shot at the Premier League title and I expect a strong start from the Gunners. Building on the confidence of the Newcastle win, Tierney adding some defensive strength, and Trossard facing his former teammates - another impressive win for the home side.