Thursday night’s 3 – 0 defeat at home to Manchester City plunged Arsenal into a deeper crisis than the same result four days earlier in the Carabao Cup final. In 2018, the Gunners lead the way in defeats suffered by a Premier League club across all competitions.
While there is something impressive in a club of Arsenal’s side sinking that low, it is of grave to concern to all concerned with fallen Premier League giants. Everywhere you look in the media, there are pictures of broken cannons and a manager sat on the touchline helpless as his team is bamboozled on the pitch.
The last thing he needs is a trip to a club which needs three points in its’ fight against relegation. That’s exactly what Arsenal have as they travel to Brighton and Hove Albion this Sunday.
Chris Hughton’s side may be twelfth in the table but they are only four points above Swansea City, currently occupying the last relegation spot. Unbeaten in six (W4, D2), the Seagulls have lost just one of the last eight at home (W5, D2).
Their three home defeats this season came against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea where they were comprehensively outplayed in each game. In those matches, they shipped eleven goals, scoring just the once (vs. Liverpool).
Since the Chelsea defeat, Brighton’s three home games yielded 10 goals with one conceded in each. The games themselves saw over 3.5 goals at least.
Gunners in Freefall
Arsenal meanwhile are in freefall. Four of the last five ended in defeat, with just two of the last 10 away games ending in victory (D4, L4). Their three Premier League away games all came in 2017, with the three in 2018 all lost. Only twice in the last 10 on the road have Arsenal scored over 2 goals.
Arsenal have been drawing and losing at half-time/full-time in the last three matches; a run which the form book suggests may well continue this weekend. With Betfair offering up to £100 in free bets, this is a bet to consider for the match in the Amex Stadium.
The Gunners have won the last three meetings between the two sides with the two FA Cup ties in Sussex ending 3 – 2 in Arsenal’s favour. The Premier League meeting in north London earlier this season finished 2 – 0 to the Arsenal.
Brighton go into the game with Steve Sidwell and Jiri Skalak missing with Chris Hughton not expected to change his line-up from the weekend’s 4 – 1 demolition of Swansea City.
Arsene Wenger is without Santi Cazorla, Alexandre Lacazette and Nacho Monreal while an ankle injury may stop Jack Wilshere featuring. Changes might normally be expected following the two 3 – 0 defeats of the past week but Wenger’s options are limited at the back and even fewer up front.
Petr Cech still waits on his 200th Premier League clean sheet and such is Brighton’s form, this may yet be some time in arriving. The Arsenal backline will need to be vastly improved from recent tragedies suffered, with the usually goal-shy Glen Murray hitting a rich vein of form with seven goals in his last 10 games.
While it’s expected this will be a tight affair, it’s one game where Arsenal unexpectedly occupy the position of underdogs.