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)|
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|
|Arsenal v Brighton – ALL Away Games|
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):