A very good friend of mine is a devout Brighton Supporter, so I asked him if he wouldn’t mind putting together a short piece on his beloved team ahead of the cup tie. To protect his anonymity, I am going to refer to him as Asad (Arabic for lion).
For many years Asad and I trawled the Middle-East, visiting clients and prospects. In countries where we could, we would often share a beer in the evening and talk about our teams. If ever Asad saw a rich Arab he would suggest we asked him if he would like to invest in the ‘Seagulls’. At the time Brighton were playing in a rented athletics stadium, and I had the pleasure of attending a couple of games and it was pretty grim.
Asad and I often visited Abu Dhabi and he was a little upset to hear that they were investing in Manchester City. By chance, Brighton were playing City in a Carling cup match and Asad decided to convince Abu Dhabi they had made the wrong decision. The following may sound a little far fetched but it is true (I have photographic evidence). With the help of some Arab friends posters were designed in Arabic, saying things like “you bought the wrong club”, and Brighton supporters are better looking than City supporters. These were then paraded around the ground by Asad and the Brighton cheerleaders shortly before the City game kick off. 99 per cent of the stadium would have had no idea what the posters said, but Asad was reaching out to the Abu Dhabi party who were visiting. It had some effect because lowly Brighton beat City and kicked them out of the Carling cup.
That night a plan was hatched to wind Asad up. With the assistance of our friends in our Middle-Eastern office, the following morning Asad arrived at his desk and received a call from one of our Abu Dhabi office telling him that having 1) seen the posters 2) noticed the result and 3) discovered that the City sponsors would be Etihad ( Abu Dhabi’s new airline), it had been decided that Etihad, which translates to ‘Unite’, wasn’t appropriate for City shirts. The deal was in danger and maybe Brighton would be considered. They also told him the Abu Dhabi press had got hold of the story and it was causing quite a stir.
A number of us told Asad that we had also heard about it and poor old Asad was jumping with joy. He telephoned a number of his Seagull supporting friends to tell them the exciting news, while we sat behind him with tears rolling down our faces. He then decided he would call the Brighton press office to alert them to the news. An executive decision was quickly made that we would have to end the fun and tell him it was a wind up…….he wasn’t happy.
I have to be honest, I don’t consider to be much of a tactical genius but in order to stimulate conversation this is the way I expect our team to line up on Sunday.
Keeper. Szs. I don’t want to give Brighton any clues, so this will be ‘for your eyes only’, but I understand Szs will be given a ‘Licence to Kill’. Hopefully, he won’t ‘Die Another Day’, but let’s face it, you ‘Only Live Twice’, and If Brighton try the long ball Szs is well equipped to deal with the ‘Skyfall’.
Full backs. Bellerin and Gibbs. I’d be tempted to rest the BFG and Kos and pair Nacho and Chambers; this might tempt fate, but a BFG rest is long overdue and I get the impression that Kos needs to look after his injuries.
Double DM Pivot. Le Coq is a must for me with Rambo alongside. It worked so well against City, its got to worth another shot. Dependent on the way the Seagulls line up, Rambo would be given permission to roam
In midfield. I would go With Little Mozart, the Ox and Ozil. Rosicky and Ozil need game time and the OX is still in need of a confidence boost.
Giroud up front.
So, now I hand over to my good friend Asad for an honest appraisal from a Seagull. With TA’s permission I will invite Asad to join the debate to answer any questions etc.
The Mighty Seagulls versus the Gunners.
So, a giant killing this week on the cards? Especially after our surprising victory over Ipswich midweek?
Speak to most Brighton fans and you will find they are more realist than optimist.
This is more of a showcase for our new ground, our wonderful hospitality and don’t forget the pies (best in the League). Brighton supporters will be the ones purchasing the half and half scarves as a reminder that matches like this can happen.
Any Arsenal supporter with a ticket will have a wonderful day and can expect progress into the next round. What can Brighton offer ? We are recovering from an inept Manager and now hopefully a better one that will set us on the correct path. Our goal is not to be relegated and return to playing enjoyable football (dare I say the Arsenal way?).
Key players left the club last season and joined the elite in the Premiership (Upson /Bridcut/Ujjoa / Buckley / Barnes). Their replacements have not been good enough for the third push in succession into the playoffs, but our hopes have risen of better times with the return to the side of young Rohan Ince (he is a Vierra type player- you will like him and perhaps ask like us why he wasn’t picked by Hyppia).
Our top scorer is our centre half which says a lot for our forwards. Craig Mackail-Smith has all the endeavour of Sanchez except he cannot score. Miracles do happen, and perhaps Wenger may field a reserve team but please enjoy the day, the match, the pies, the local ale (Harveys). Come into the North stand at the end of the match and have a drink with our supporters (this really does happen most weeks), and go away hoping we can join the Premiership as it is a great place to come back to again.
Ohhh, forgot my match prediction:
Sadly for the Seagulls, Arsenal will knock The Living daylights out of them. Two nil to the in form Gunners, with a thunderball from Rambo (sorry wrong film). Szs to perform like an Octopussy.
Written by: Retsub and Asad.