Arsenal v Brighton Preview/ Lineup: Just Two Changes From the Boxing Day Starting 11

Arsenal v Brighton Hove Albion – December 29th, 2020

Founded in 1901, and nicknamed the “Seagulls” or “Albion”, Brighton played their early professional football in the Southern League, before being elected to the Football League in 1920. The club enjoyed greatest prominence between 1979 and 1983 when they played in the First Division and reached the 1983 FA Cup Final, losing to Manchester United after a replay.They were relegated from the First Division in the same season.

By the late 1990s, Brighton was in the fourth tier of English football and were having financial difficulties. After narrowly avoiding relegation from the Football League to the Conference in 1997, a boardroom takeover saved the club from liquidation. Successive promotions in 2001 and 2002 brought Brighton back to the second tier, and in 2011, the club moved into the Falmer Stadium after 14 years without a permanent home ground. In the 2016–17 season, Brighton finished second in the EFL Championship and were thus promoted to the Premier League, ending a 34-year absence from the top flight.

The building of Falmer Stadium started in December 2008. On 31 May 2011 the club officially completed the handover and was given the keys to the stadium with an initial capacity of 22,374 seats, signifying the end of 12 years without a home. During January 2012, the club submitted an application to Brighton and Hove City council to increase the stadium capacity by a further 8,000 seats as well as to add additional corporate boxes, new television facilities and a luxury suite. This was granted unanimously by Brighton & Hove City Council’s planning committee on 25 April 2012. The stadium was then expanded to 27,250 for the start of the  2012–13 season and then further to 27,750 during December 2012 before reaching 30,750 during May 2013.

Brighton’s first season back in the Premier League was largely successful, with the club rising into the top half several times in the season. Despite falling to one point above the relegation zone in January, victories over Arsenal and Manchester United in the final months of the campaign helped secure a finish of 15th.

Brighton’s second season in the Premier League was inconsistent. Despite a promising start, the team endured a poor second half of the season, achieving just 3 wins in their last 18 games. In the FA Cup, Brighton reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1983, losing 1–0 to Manchester City. Albion ultimately survived relegation with a 17th-place finish, but Hughton was sacked following the end of the season due to the poor run of results.

Following Hughton’s sacking, Swansea manager Graham Potter was appointed as the new manager on a four-year contract. The contract was extended by a further 2 years in November 2019. From March to June 2020, the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following a 0–0 draw with Newcastle in July 2020, Brighton secured a fourth season in the Premier League, eventually finishing the season in 15th.

Arsenal v Brighton Away Games (Div 1)
18-Aug-791  40
04-Apr-811  10
10-Apr-82  112
07-Sep-82  101
Total :20263

Arsenal’s away record in the Premier League at Brighton is less than stellar, in the three games we have played we are yet to win and we have only gained one point out of nine. All of the games have been low scoring affairs with Arsenal only managing one goal per game.

Arsenal v Brighton EPL – Away Games
4-Mar-18  112
26-Dec-18 1 11
20-Jun-20  112
Total :01235
Arsenal v Brighton – ALL Away Games
Division 1:20263
Total :21498

Despite our sad away record I believe that we will build on our impressive victory over Chelsea and come away from Falmer Stadium with all three points.


TA’s Preferred Lineup:

The boys had a few days rest but most if not all will be ready to shine again. Mikel will want to keep momentum going and at least for the first 60 minutes or so he can play the same, or a similar, team. I am more worried about the last 20 minutes or so as fatigue will start to show then. With just three subs available this is a concern. Saka, Martinelli, ESR, Tierminator and Mari are especially vulnerable to fatigue and injury, I would imagine. With Mari the only natural left CB – Luiz and Gab are still out – Arteta will have to play him I reckon, but it will come at a risk. Arteta may have to opt for Mustafi late on or even move Xhaka in to the LCB position.

I feel it would be sensible to start with AMN rather than Tierney, as he could well be in the ‘red zone’. Just for confidence it would be good to start with Marti, Emile and Saka behind the CF again, but this is where Arteta will have to make a few subs again. I expect Auba to start and Laca to either start in the ‘Three’ behind him or to come on later on. Saka may also be in the red zone, so a start for Nelson may be on the cards.

BHA are a good team that will play football rather than just sit back. I have enjoyed watching their games this season. They have some fine technical players in Trossard, Lallana, March and Maupay, and of course our friend tut tut tut tut, Danny Welbeck, will be keen to show us what he is still capable of. This will not be easy and we will have to treat this game as an FA Cup game if we want to bring home all the bacon.

Anyway, here is my preferred lineup which probably is not too far removed from the actual one (if two players are mentioned the one on the left is most likely to play imo):

44 thoughts on “Arsenal v Brighton Preview/ Lineup: Just Two Changes From the Boxing Day Starting 11

  • LeG wrote just at the end of the previous post:

    A new right fb, a quality central midfielder – i definitely agree with that
    In a near future, my ideal XI would be
    ??? (Bellerin, MNiles) – Holding (Saliba, Chambers) – Gabriel – Tierney
    Partey (Azeez, Olayinka) – ??? (Cottrell, Patino)
    Saka – SmithRowe (Saka) – Martinelli (Nelson)
    Balogun (Martinelli, Nketiah, JohnJules, Moller)
    So what about the question marks? – in the right FB position, I honestly don’t know; i haven’t seen enough of the other english/european teams this year; the only lad who impressed me was Everton’s Godfrey when he played left FB against us, even though he’s right-footed …
    I think some time ago, you suggested we should try Reiss in that position, TA, I’d be very, very curious to see that – but it would take a lot of convincing, I think (young attackers don’t like being told they won’t make it upfront)
    Upfront, we’re packed with some of the most wonderful talents in europe, I just don’t get why we should spend any money on an attacking midfielder, when we have Emil/Bukayo in store
    Alongside Partey is the poisition where we might/should spend big, imo.
    There’s this wonderkid camavinga who has been playing for rennes – i can only dream of what his partnership with partey would bring us
    I know ALL of the usual suspects (Real, Barcelona, Bayern, Juve, pPSG, City/Chavs/Utd…) are on him, but i do believe we stand a chance:
    He’s only 18, and four full seasons in the PL and in Europe, without the competition and the pressure he’d get elsewhere, under the responsibility of a young, talented coach like Mikel, is just what he needs before making it to Real (this is where he’ll end up, eventually); from what i’ve seen of him the kid looks very bright and would see this point very clearly
    But of course, he’d come at a price … but i’d rather we spent very big on him than on a whole bunch of average players (you’ve been very, very kind to Soares/Willian, TA, …)

  • Cheers GN5 for a very informative piece about the recent history of the stadium and our opponent in general. Good stuff and really nice to read one of your typical previews again!

  • LeG, I am not sure I suggested Reiss should be a full back but you know with a bit of alcohol etc one can say daft things…. 🙂

    I think he he could play right midfield in a 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 all day long, though.

    Never wrong to be kind, LeG. 😉

  • Well said TA about team selection. I think it would be criminal not to start with the same starting 11 as against Chelsea……everybody played their part in that game and the energy and desire was there. But yes after about 60mins some legs will definitely be more likely to tire…..Martinelli and Mari are really just catching up with match fitness after long injuries. Also Tierney seems to have endless energy up and down that left defending and attacking, incredible…..And yes Saka, so important to us but needs resting and protecting to avoid increasing a chance of injury. It’s difficult as those players are so important to us. I know we might have to use Mustafi but personally whenever he plays he’s a mistake waiting to happen. Chambers could play central defence or right…..Kolasinac although not as good as tierney can give him a breather or maitland niles……maitland niles seems to play everywhere! Elneney might need a breather too this week.

  • I’d not seen that HH regarding KSE making funds available and I’ll believe it when I see it but I hope that Ornstein is right because there could be some bargains to be had over the next two windows…

    As for Cantwell, I recall people saying similar about Grealish a couple of years ago HH and now he’s up there with some of the best in europe, likewise Maddison, it’s just having a good eye for a good player who isn’t quite at his optimum and taking a chance before they fully develop and are out of your price range. It’s a gamble of course and it can go south, I guess that Buendia would be the immediate cure to our midfield as it is.

  • Cheers Braveheart 😊
    We are all worried about a cameo by Mustafi late on. Let’s hope he will have a good day if he is needed to come on. Same would go for Kolasinac.

  • Another nice preview GN5, Arsenal had a 100% League and Cup record against Brighton until we finally lost at the old Goldstone Ground in 1982, it was my only visit to their old stadium, their new stadium looks really nice.

  • I’d be inclined Total to play an unchanged team, Brighton will park the bus and look to hit us on the break so we’ll need youthful energy to break them down. Nelson for Saka would be a good choice as Reiss links up well with Hector and Bakayo probably needs a breather.

  • Maitland Niles can actually play anywhere Braveheart as you say, left back/right back/midfield/left wing/right wing he’d be my go to player to rotate and rest players during this intense period.

  • Hi Kev

    I don’t think they will park the bus. They didn’t do so when we played them last. Happy to start with same line up but I prefer a clinical finisher in away games. Auba is our best attacker still.

  • You’ve made it again, GN, thanks a lot
    A few months ago, our trip over there was the first turning point in Mikel’s coaching career
    Our performance was soulless, and I recall Kev wondering afterwards whether a back-3-setup would be worth a try
    What a masterstroke that was – that’s exactly what mikel did, and doing so he treated us to a delightful run of games ending up with the 14th FA cup triumph
    Another night in Brighton, another setup. Mikel will use saturday’s 4-2-3-1 again, that’s for sure, and I agree with TA about fatigue being the key point about predicting tonight’s lineup
    This will look like anathema to most of you, lads, but I would start neither Bukayo, nor Marti; Bukayo because – I wrote it before – I fear we might be overplaying him, and Marti because two starts in a row, after being sidelined for a year, and at this cold moment of the year, doesn’t seem wise to me, to say the least. The kids would be formidable weapons anyway, should they be brought in around the hour, provided things hadn’t turned out as well as expected so far
    And I wish Mikel gave – at last – an opportunity to shine in midfield to Ainsley, but I know that’s wishful thinking, unfortunately
    So that we’d get something like:
    Joe was very good against City, he deserves that chance, and lastly Laca (another anathema??) is a better, more complete CF than Auba imo; Auba can do what he does best: sneak into the centre from the left, and poach goals)

  • Morning all.
    Here are the results of last weeks competition:-
    1st Gooneris with 5/6 plus 4 bonus points
    2nd PB and JWL with 4/6
    3rd GN5, Total & Kev with 3/6
    All season results
    1st Kev with 63
    2nd Gooneris with 55
    3rd JWL with 43.33
    4th PB with 42.33
    5th GN5 with 41
    6th Total with 37

  • I can see your thinking, LeG, and that is not an undesirable lineup. If we play three attackers I don’t like Auba as the CF but in this sort of 4-5-1 formation, I think he will thrive. He will have free movement and thus be able to find space to score goals. Auba on the wing on the Three… I don’t think that will work as he really is a different type of player compared to Martinelli, but those are just my views and I like that you have come forward with your suggested 11. You could also be closer to the final starting 11 than me…

  • These are my choices for this weekends games:-
    Manchester United v Aston Villa
    Tottenham v Leeds
    W.B.A. v Arsenal
    Newcastle v Leicester
    Chelsea v Manchester City
    Borussia Dprtmund V Vfc Wolsburg

    There will be an extra two points for the correct score between Chelsea & Manchester City.

  • Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel has tested positive for coronavirus.

    The Gunners had announced on Saturday that the 23-year-old was self-isolating after a close contact tested positive for the disease.

    He missed Sunday’s win over Chelsea and will be out for the games at Brighton on Tuesday and West Brom on Saturday.

    “Gabriel has tested positive for Covid-19 and is isolating according to UK government and Premier League protocols,” said an Arsenal statement.

    “We will continue to monitor and support Gabriel, and we are hoping he will be available again after our next two matches.”

    The Gunners are scheduled to face fellow Premier League side Newcastle in the third round of the FA Cup on 9 January.

    Gabriel, who signed for the Gunners from Lille in September for £23m, had only just returned after serving a ban following his red card in the draw against Southampton on 16 December.

    Fellow defender David Luiz and midfielder Willian were both unwell over the weekend, but have recently tested negative for Covid. Both have returned to outside training and are set to rejoin the rest of the squad on Thursday.

  • From the last post to Le Gall.

    The reason we buy an attacking midfielder is because we have 0 creativity outside of ESR. ESR has an extensive injury history and we have gone from an abundance of creativity under Wenger to almost 0 (never replaced Santi, Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky and Wilshere).

    You want depth and competition at every position and we severely lack players who can take the ball and beat a man, to drive play and break down a low block on their own. Saka is a winger and both he and Arteta see his long term future there. He’s at his best when he’s the secondary creator on the team and there’s less focus on him (provides more room to create his magic, see Chelsea).

    There will likely be an exodus of players to come and we need players around the age of 23-26 to carry us forward back to the CL until the likes of Cirjan, Flores, Hutchinson and Patino etc. are ready. Every top club has at least 3 creative midfielders. Partey is a box to box that can create but is at his best in a slightly deeper role, as we need his pace and defensive awareness to protect the back line in a back four.

  • Kev, the difference is that Grealish and Maddison were actually always their team’s driving creative forces. Cantwell is not that for Norwich, yet Buendia is. Cantwell is more of a goal scoring mid in the mould of Willock than he is the team’s primary driving, creative force.

    Cantwell doesn’t start for Norwich week in and out in the Championship, didn’t do it in the premier league either. I’m not saying he can’t improve or won’t be good, but he’s not shown enough at either level of Grealish or Maddison for his team to lead me to believe there’s crazy untapped potential there yet. I’ve followed many Norwich blogs and live streams that confirm this.

  • Manchester United v Aston Villa: H
    Tottenham v Leeds: H
    W.B.A. v Arsenal: D
    Newcastle v Leicester: A
    Chelsea v Manchester City: A
    Borussia Dprtmund V Vfc Wolsburg: D

  • Yep, HH, I get your point, I really do
    But the thing is … if we buy an AM, he has to be be better than Emil, which sets a very high standard indeed, and if we do buy one player of that level, it’s game over at The Arsenal for Emil, which would break this old heart of mine.
    Injuries are a problem indeed, Guy Roux, the historic Auxerre coach, used to say that a player’s worth was (talent x availability), and Emil hasn’t scored very high on that scale so far. I hope he’s a robben-kind-of-player; Robben became the immense player he was in the second half of his career at Bayern, only after he stopped being injured; prior to that it looked like his body would never let him alone.
    So, I’d rather we had Emil as first choice, Bukayo backup as playmaker when needed, and from what I’ve seen of JohnJules (probably not enough, tbh), he strikes me as not being a genuine CF, I think he might bloom in the “10” position as well…
    But nobody’s more biased than I am!! My dream is one day to support a whole Hale-End-scholar-XI !!!

  • Le Gall, that is the worst way to assess a squad and is a small club mentality. Have one very good player at a position and pray for the best. Emile is a 20 year old player that is very talented, but has not proven himself at the top level and has not proven that he can stay healthy. At this point, Emile looks like he could be a good player, but it’s incredibly risky for a club with CL aspirations to depend on one player to stay healthy (see how much we lacked prior to him playing the Chelsea game). Having Bukayo as your back up is another option that will fail since it leaves you short on quality on the wings.

    With the amount of competitions we are in, there is 0 chance Emile can start every game. A creative midfielder is also different from an attacking midfielder. The idea of a pure attacking midfielder needs to be removed from everyone’s collective thoughts. Creative midfielders that are versatile and can play as a 10 or an 8 or as a winger are immensely useful to a team. Pure attacking midfielders almost don’t exist anymore in the game today and have more or less been outdated.

    You just look at the competition in the prem to assess the lack of creativity in our side for players that can play CM and you begin to see the significant hole we have there:

    Liverpool – Thiago, Wijnaldum, Firmino (as a false 9)
    City – De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden
    Chelsea – Ziyech, Havertz, Mount
    Leicester – Maddison, Unger, Tielemans
    Man Utd – Fernandes, Van De Beek, Pogba, Lingard
    Arsenal – ESR

    Tottenham are the only top side that don’t have as much central creativity, but they make up for it by playing Kane as a false 9.

  • Thanks once more for the preview GN5– as well as the ongoing competition!

    Manchester United v Aston Villa = Away
    Tottenham v Leeds = Away
    W.B.A. v Arsenal = Away
    Newcastle v Leicester = Away
    Chelsea v Manchester City = 1-3
    Borussia Dortmund v Vfc Wolsburg = Draw


  • Hey TA– think you, HH, and I had the same thought on this lineup over the past 2 days. Was wondering if Mikel would swap Auba for Laca. Here’s hoping Auba is as energized as Laca showed in pressing up front. That– was a key to dictating the flow of the action.

    C’mon Gunners!


  • JW, I dont think he can be as energized as Laca but he will be more clinical with the chances. In this formation there are three wild, energetic bunnies who can all pass, hold onto the ball, dribble and cajole the opponent. Let’s see how it goes but I reckon this is the stronger formation.

  • HH, I think you have a point with regards to De Bruyne, Fernandes and Maddison, but the rest of the teams don’t employ a really creative attacking midfielder in the proper position. Liverpool follows a different scheme to create chances, Alli is just a shadow of his former self and to our (and the PL’s) fortune Lampard seriously mismanages his squad by playing both Werner (ST) and Havertz (AM) in a winger capacity, as the latter is one of the world’s top3 attacking midfielders.

    Having some competition is healthy and required for backup, rotation and development purposes. However Arsenal has the largest squad in the PL. The headcount of 31 (29% higher than Man City!) demonstrates some serious incompetence from the management – however might have little to do with Arsenal’s record breaking terrible start of the season.

    I have to go with Le Gall. With some proper succession planning ESR could have gradually taken over the the creative AM duties from Ozil last season, this one (and maybe even the next campaign), but already has slim chances to regularly play this year and it would (will) get only worse with January midfield reinforcements. Even though many fans are satisfied with Arteta’s youth development the case of Guendouzi, Nelson, Saliba, Balogun, eben including Emile Smith-Rowe’s 200 senior minutes we are seriously jeopardizing the immense pool of talents the academy provides…

  • Good first half discipline wise. Brighton are sitting back more than I anticipated (unlike Kevski). They are targeting Saka and Martinelli and protect their wings really well. Auba is struggling I have to admit, ESR had a few good passes but we need more. Elneny looks like this is a game too many for him.

    Second half we will up the tempo and more space we will get. Have to keep focused at the back though. Tough game.

  • A two-victory run in the PL!!!
    “Orbinho” will let us know how long it’s been since we last celebrated this
    2nd half was much better, the kids were alright – again
    TA’s “fatigue” moment came up at the 75th, which is a bit worrying since they played Sunday …
    Anyway, let’s enjoy!!!
    WBA 0 Leeds 5; good or bad for us?? I really don’t know what to make of that

  • These are my predictions for the weekend.

    Manchester United v Aston Villa – D
    Tottenham v Leeds – D
    W.B.A. v Arsenal – A
    Newcastle v Leicester – A
    Chelsea v Manchester City -A (1-3)
    Borussia Dortmund v Vfc Wolsburg – D

  • Nice win to make it 2 in a row. I reckon Bukayo is now our player of the season, it was between him and Gabriel for me but the young man has just been so consistent and is harder to replace. I love that Allardyce talked a lot about how he had a plan for Leeds before the game and took a beating;somehow becoming one of the few sides not able to score against them. That was icing on the cake for me but we have to be wary when we play WBA as Sam has a history of frustrating us.

    Our second half was so much better going forward and I cannot wait till we start to balance that across a whole game but tough to do with so many games. I also want to show appreciation for Kieran Tierney, what a player so consistent and a future captain. If only we could have that same sense of reliability and assurance in the right back position, Hector did have a good game and had a couple of vital defensive interventions.

  • This was a bread-and-butter win– in a more normal time. Still, one to look at through that same lense– in order to appreciate it. Arsenal should beat Brighton away! Yet, as GN5’s preview points out– that’s not been the case. Until today. With perseverance and a tweak.

    That 2nd-half showed that not only do The Kids listen– they perform. Solid, aggressive and a no-drama ending. What I liked quite a bit was how clean the team played– against a more physical side. Few fouls, no bookings. That’s how a more talented side is expected to play– and win. Nice job.

    Now it seems, El Jefe Arteta has a formula.
    Take it to West Brom on Saturday, ply it and refine it.


  • I used to watch us against teams like Brighton and be disappointed with results like this, being spoiled over the years. Now, since Brighton have dominated us lately, obviously I’m thrilled. But also because I see every big club, including the very top teams, struggle to even draw with all the lower teams. Its really the last few years that I now take no English opponent lightly, some Europa group teams are truly weak.. but what a fun, unpredictable premier league season. We are not even so many points off top 6 or better.

  • It is such an odd season though, west brom took points off a rested Liverpool who had no midweek fixtures, then get blown away by Leeds. So even if our form had been better getting this second win in a row away from home would still be commendable in this covid hit year. I have watched quite a few Leeds games and they have been the most entertaining team, maybe too entertaining at times, with how much they attack but leave gaps and concede too many. Still they are so refreshing and Bielsa is a mad genius.I think they play Spurs next or the game after and I am hoping they really take it to Mou.

  • Ok HH, but a couple + years ago Grealish was routinely criticised for his attitude, lifestyle and inconsistency, nobody at the time suggested that he would be the player he is today and Maddison wasn’t being touted for the top either and that’s why Leicester signed him and not Man City etc.

    You might be right about Cantwell, but I see him in the No.10 role and in two years time I reckon he’ll be a top player and out of our price range. But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like Buendia and if we get him I bet that his place in the team goes to Cantwell?

    Having said all that I’d rather we got Brandt.

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