Brighton missed the chance to go top of the table on Monday but the way they snatched a point right at the end of their game against Crystal Palace will still give them a big lift. The Seagulls have made a really impressive start to the season, but Arsenal are on a bit of a roll at the moment.
That run won’t last for too long – not a lot has changed about the Gunners, really, because I still think they will go on streaks of good or bad results just like last season – but they will be smiling on Saturday evening anyway.
Albion have earned five wins during this run, as many victories as in their previous 29 top-flight matches at the Amex Stadium. Their tally of seven clean sheets in Premier League home matches this calendar year is exceeded only by Manchester City and Chelsea, who each have nine.
The Seagulls have conceded 24 top-flight penalties since promotion in 2017 – the only sides penalised more often during this period are Tottenham and Leicester, with 26 and 25 respectively.
Graham Potter’s side have faced just 16 shots on target in this season’s Premier League – only Manchester City have fared better.
Neil Maupay has scored with 44.4% of his shots in the top flight this season (four of nine, excluding blocked efforts), the highest rate of any player with more than five attempts in the current campaign.
You have to go back almost 40 years for the last time Arsenal played Brighton in the top flight while below them in the table, with that game at Highbury in January 1982 ending goalless. That was an Arsenal side in transition back then, as it is now. Even if the Gunners, buoyed by three consecutive league victories, win on Saturday evening they cannot overtake Graham Potter’s team, testament to Brighton’s good start to the season. Granit Xhaka’s injury is a blow to Mikel Arteta, who will still hope to carry on the momentum from their emphatic win against Spurs on Sunday. Conrad Leach
They have got to a strong start with four wins in six games. Brighton have only lost just one game so far this season. The club is looking sharp with their performances and they will look to produce the same against Arsenal. Brighton are currently sitting at the sixth position in the points table.
Arsenal on the other hand are in the process of a turnaround. The North London club had a disappointing start to the new season. They received three straight defeats in the first three games. But since the International break, Arsenal have come back stronger.
The Gunners have registered three straight wins in the Premier League. However, the most recent win had the best performance so far. Arsenal crushed Tottenham Hotspur by three goals to one at the Emirates Stadium last week. Mikel Arteta’s team produced a fine attacking display.
The 25-year-old said recently that he’s the best midfielder in the Premier League, so it makes sense for Potter to hand him an immediate recall if fit.
“I don’t want to be arrogant, but it’s me because in my head I am working to be the best,” he told Brighton legend Glenn Murray on Football Focus when asked who he considers the best midfielder in the Premier League at the minute.
“So I cannot say another name, I know in the Premier League there are so many good midfielders, but for me, it’s me because that gives me the confidence and the energy to work hard to show people I am here and I am Bissouma.
“I just want to be focused on football, to play in every game, every week to be good, to help my team win and the rest we will see.”
The Gunners can enjoy local bragging after they beat Spurs 3-1 last weekend but that result can only go down as a turning point under Mikel Arteta if they build on it.
That will not be an easy task against a Brighton side who are only one point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool following a strong start to the season under Graham Potter.
Arsenal have recovered from a poor start to the season under Arteta. The north Londoners lost their three opening games but head south looking for a fourth consecutive win.
NAME: Brighton & Hove Albion – Arsenal
DATE: 2 Oct 2021
TIME: 16:30 UTC
VENUE: American Express Community Stadium, Falmer, England