Arsenal v Brighton Preview and Predicted Line-Up
An early Sunday kick-off so we can be shown on BT is maybe not ideal for the team, but it suits me fine. In the early morning there is my man Max Verstappen racing against the big guns of Hamilton and Raikkonen for a place on the podium in the Malaysian GP; and after the game, I will be off to enjoy a Tchaikovsky symphony with my daughter (her first ever). A day full of excitement lays ahead and watching our boys against Brighton will no doubt be the second highlight of the day.
I think there is no risk of underestimating the task that lays ahead. We do not have a team that will steamroll over any team and Brighton did not start too badly with already seven points in the bag, with a draw away to Watford and home wins against West Brom and Newcastle. Brighton & Hove Albion FC, as the full name goes, will have nothing to lose and will play free as a bird. They managed to keep a clean sheet at Watford which is an indication that they can be solid at the back and as a team, and the Gunners need to play with focus AND intensity to send the Seagulls back to their beautiful home – one of the finest cities on these shores.
But how does a Seagulls’ supporter look forward to this game? Retsub’s mate Len was kind enough to send us the following ‘pre-view’:
This is one of the matches that most Albion fans have been looking forward to. We have played Watford and Bournemouth in the Championship so it didn’t have the feel of the Premier league about it. However.. the Emirates… the Arsenal…. this is the real thing and not unsurprisingly comes the fear.
Man for man Arsenal are clearly the better team so do we park the bus or attack from the off- like Watford did with disastrous effect?
What doesn’t help is that our only fit centre forward, Tomer Hemed, is banned for 3 matches so upfront our options are limited- I expect Chris Hughton to play Izzy Brown (on loan from Chelsea) in a false number 9 position.
We have a solid defence and midfield.
Matthew Ryan is our goalkeeper- he is the Australian number 1 goalie but a touch on the small side so no lobbing please. Tim Krul is the deputy in waiting.
In defence we have our captain, Bruno, who will be celebrating his 37th birthday. He is the ultimate professional and living the dream at this stage in his life.
Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk will be our central defence- both great in the air and good at blocking shots but can be beaten by the tippy-tappy football style of Arsenal. On the flip side, you can expect these two to be prominent if we are lucky enough to get a corner.
Markus Sutner completes the defence. We bought him from German club Ingolstadt along with Pascal Gross who will be biggest threat to Arsenal. He is our number 10 and a very intelligent footballer- great at set pieces.
Dale Stephens will play in the middle along with Davy Propper – both are yet to establish themselves in the Premiership and this is where Arsenal can dominate. Either side of them is Solly March and Anthony Knockaert. March is our local boy – a bit on the lightweight side but will cover for the defence well (and that’s probably what he will be doing for most of the match). Knockaert is a talented player- as long as things are going his way- if he gets frustrated then he tends to throw his toys out of the pram. This is a day that he has been looking forward to and will be pumped up for it (“he only cost a mill- he’s better than Ozil” etc).
On the subs bench we are looking forward to seeing our record signing Jose Izquierdo show his worth- he is a small winger. Similarly, we bought Ezequiel Schelotto from Sporting Lisbon and is called the greyhound- so far he hasn’t left the trap.
Glenn Murray may make the bench (if he passes a late fitness test) and we have two other excellent centre backs in Uwe Hummemier and Connor Goldson.
With success come the plastic fans – so Brighton’s 3,000 contingent of supporters will not necessarily contain the true supporters who watched in cramped conditions at the Withdean athletic stadium (yes I am bitter about not getting a ticket!).
Chris Hughton has won as a manager (Newcastle) at the Emirates in 2010, so he knows what to do and I expect us to look for a 1-0 robbery (from a set-piece), so this will not be a pretty game.
Realistically -avoid a thumping and we will be happy!
Thanks Len, that is a very interesting read and nice to see that a club dares to buy less well-known players to survive in the PL. I will be looking fwd to seeing David Propper who I watched a few times whilst playing for PSV.
Wenger has ruled out a start for Ozil and Iwobi may or may not be fit for tommorow’s game. I would love to see Wilshere play again tomorrow but surely this would be too much for him right now. So my money is on Elneny playing again next to Xhaka and Rambo playing right wing (read man in the hole). Or maybe….. Theo will get another start on the right, with Rambo playing next to Xhaka again…. You tell me!
Enjoy the game fellow Gooners.