Arsenal-Brighton & Hove Albion Preview

National Sports

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s recent work in the transfer market has laid the foundations for a successful rebuild.

Arsenal lost their opening three matches of the season and sat bottom of the Premier League heading into the last transfer window. However, September has been a fruitful month for the Gunners, who have won their last three top-flight games.

Their last victory seemed a momentous one, with Arsenal dispatching north London rivals Tottenham 3-1, turning in an exceptional first-half display.

“Momentum is down to confidence, it’s down to believing in what you do and really feeling it and trying to embrace it and adding something every week, making sure that the steps are forwards,” Arteta told Sky Sports ahead of Saturday’s clash with Brighton and Hove Albion. “In every project, that is impossible to happen every single week and sometimes you have to go a little bit backwards to go forwards. You have to realise that and not lose perspective.

“The changes we made this summer were probably the most significant that we have made since I’ve been here. Now you start to get a sense that we are all on the same page. Any project needs the right foundations and now we have clarity in what we want to do. We start to have some stability.”

Arsenal’s biggest signing in the transfer window was Ben White, who joined from Brighton.

“He’s a fantastic footballer and great guy. We all love him here,” said Graham Potter. “Apart from obviously this weekend, we wish him well – and I’m sure he will do well.

“I think everybody won from that situation. We got a good fee, they got a good player. Ben gets a chance to play at a club that he sees as a progression for him so everybody wins.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brighton and Hove Albion – Neal Maupay

After his last-gasp equaliser against Crystal Palace, Maupay has scored half of Brighton’s Premier League goals this season (4/8), and is looking to score in three consecutive league games for the first time since October 2020. Maupay has also scored the winning goal in two of his three Premier League appearances against Arsenal.

Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Aubameyang has scored five goals in his last five appearances in all competitions, more than he had in his previous 17 for the Gunners (four).

KEY OPTA FACTS

Brighton forward Danny Welbeck has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances against his former club Arsenal, with these strikes coming between 2011-12 (twice with Manchester United) and 2019-20 (with Watford).

Arsenal’s last eight Premier League goals against Brighton have been netted by just three different players – Aubameyang (three), Alexandre Lacazette (two) and Nicolas Pepe (three).

Brighton have won three of their last four Premier League home games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 22 at the Amex Stadium (W3 D10 L9). The Seagulls have kept seven home clean sheets so far in 2021, with only Manchester City and Chelsea (9 each) keeping more at home this calendar year.

This is just the second time Arsenal are facing Brighton in the top-flight while below them in the table, with the previous match being a 0-0 draw at Highbury in January 1982 (Arsenal 10th, Brighton ninth).

Arsenal are looking to win back-to-back away league games against Brighton for the first time since April 1981, following their 1-0 victory at the Amex Stadium last term.

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