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Preview: Arsenal vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Arsenal vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:381565: from db_amp
Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Thursday's Premier League fixture between Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion.
By , Senior Reporter | 1mo

Arsenal face Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night looking to end a six-match winless streak in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, the Seagulls make the trip to North London having suffered three successive defeats in the top flight, a run of form which has left the club in 16th position in the standings.


While there remains frequent speculation regarding the long-term successor to Unai Emery, interim boss Freddie Ljungberg is aware that he must find a way to keep his squad focused ahead of a potentially pivotal period of the season.

Having failed to win a Premier League fixture since October 6, it could be argued that Arsenal have gotten off lightly by remaining in eighth position in the table, just one point adrift of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

However, the Swede knows that his players must produce much-improved performances over the next few games in order to get their campaign back on track before a busy Christmas period.

The main positive to take from Sunday's 2-2 draw with Norwich City was the Gunners twice coming from behind to earn a share of the spoils at Carrow Road.

That said, the visitors were heavily reliant on goalkeeper Bernd Leno, with the overall display very similar to the ones which led to Emery's departure.

Ljungberg's team selection also raised a few eyebrows due to Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka being handed rare starts and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe remaining as an unused substitute.

The former Arsenal midfielder has insisted that he will pick his team based on how players perform in training rather than on reputations, a stance which feels important in his bid to enhance the desire and work-rate in a squad which has come in for fierce criticism.

Nevertheless, Ljungberg will also accept that he has minimal time to stake his claim for this job on a full-time basis, which will inevitably lead to question marks over whether he can afford to keep the likes of Pepe out of the picture going forward.

Recent form: LDDLDD
Recent form (all competitions): DDLDLD

Brighton & Hove Albion

During the early part of November, Brighton were placed well inside the top half of the standings, seemingly primed to become a permanent fixture in the hotly-contested race to claim a top-six position come the end of the season.

However, three successive defeats - to Manchester United, Leicester City and Liverpool respectively - have resulted in the Seagulls sitting just three points above the relegation zone.

Given the teams that they have faced recently, some context is required, especially having produced relatively strong performances against the division's top sides in their last two outings.

Nevertheless, Graham Potter will want to see his team end their losing run as soon as possible in order to ease the pressure heading into the Christmas period.

On the plus side for Potter, the trip to the Emirates Stadium will mean that Brighton will have made visits to the Etihad Stadium, Anfield, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford and Arsenal's home ground before the midway point of the campaign.

The recently-appointed manager, who has just signed a contract extension, will also feel that the visit to North London has come at the perfect opportunity, with Southampton having shown a week-and-a-half ago that Arsenal are struggling to cope against expansive play in front of their own fans.

That said, Brighton have not prevailed on their travels since their opening day success at Watford, which may leave Potter in two minds over his tactics on Thursday night.

He erred on the side of caution with his team selection at the weekend, but it would not come as a surprise if more of his flair players were recalled for this contest.

Recent form: LWWLLL

Team News

While there have been calls for Pepe to return to the starting lineup, the Ivory Coast international could remain among the replacements.

Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are both pushing for places in the first XI, with Bellerin close to overcoming a tight hamstring and Tierney remaining as an unused substitute at the weekend.

Lucas Torreira will also hope to come into the team for either Matteo Guendouzi or Granit Xhaka, but Dani Ceballos remains out with a thigh injury.

As for Brighton, Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay will each expect to return in attack, with Aaron Mooy and Arron Connolly potentially dropping out.

Steven Alzate is also an option in central midfield, although Mooy may drop back into a three-man combination.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Tierney; Xhaka, Torreira; Aubameyang, Willock, Ozil; Lacazette

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Montoya, Webster, Dunk, Burn; Propper, Stephens, Alzate; Gross, Maupay, Trossard

Head To Head

Thursday's contest will represent just the 20th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Arsenal registering 12 wins in comparison to just three victories for Brighton.

However, despite the dominant record for the Gunners, it is the Seagulls who have fared the better since their promotion to the Premier League in 2017.

Brighton are currently on a three-match unbeaten streak, with a 2-1 triumph in March 2018 being followed up by two 1-1 draws during the last campaign.

We say: Arsenal 3-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

Arsenal have made a habit of being involved in high-scoring encounters in front of their own supporters this season, and we feel that it will be no different on Thursday. However, while the visitors will likely cause problems for their hosts, we are backing Ljungberg to get his first win on the board in an entertaining contest.

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