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

:Headline: Preview: Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal, including team news and predicted lineups.

Brighton & Hove Albion's search for their first Premier League win of 2020 will continue on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Arsenal to the Amex.

The Seagulls are currently 15th in the table following a nine-game winless run, while Arsenal sit ninth in the division, eight points off fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of this weekend's matches.

Match preview

Brighton are still outside of the Premier League relegation zone with 29 points to show from their 29 matches, but there is no question that the club are involved in a battle at the bottom of the division.

Indeed, Graham Potter's side are only two points ahead of 18th-placed Bournemouth, while as mentioned, they have not picked up a single Premier League victory since the turn of the year.

The Seagulls have only suffered three league defeats during that run, though, and have drawn four of their last five, including a 0-0 away to Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out.

Only Norwich City (5) have won fewer Premier League matches than Brighton (6) this season, which is slightly concerning, but 11 draws have been enough to keep them outside of the drop zone for the moment.

Arsenal will be regarded as the favourites to triumph this weekend, but Brighton are actually unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against the Gunners, picking up two wins in the process.

Indeed, they beat the capital side on home soil in March 2018 and also recorded a 2-1 victory at the Emirates Stadium in December 2019. A record of just one defeat in five Premier League games with Arsenal is excellent, while they have never lost a home Premier League game against the London club.

Arsenal were due to face Manchester City on Wednesday night, which could have handed Brighton an advantage in terms of fitness. The match in question was called off due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, though, meaning that neither side has been in action since last weekend.

Brighton will still feel that they have enough quality to stay clear of the relegation zone heading into the final straight, but a defeat this weekend, coupled with results elsewhere, could well see Potter's side drop into the bottom three during a key stage of the campaign.

As mentioned, Arsenal were due to be in action at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, but the fixture was postponed as a "precautionary measure" after Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus.

A number of the club's players are believed to have met with the 52-year-old when the two teams recently locked horns in the Europa League. As a result, the clash against Man City was postponed, meaning that Mikel Arteta's side have not been in action since last weekend.

Alexandre Lacazette came off the bench to score the winner against West Ham United on Saturday, making it six victories from the team's last eight matches in all competitions.

Much has been made of the team's problems this season, but they are unbeaten in the league in 2020 and have now won their last three against Newcastle United, Everton and West Ham.

The Gunners would have actually moved above Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table had they overcome Man City on Wednesday, but for now, Arteta's side are still ninth in the division.

It is difficult to imagine the team doing enough between now and the end of the season to sneak into the top four, but the gap to Chelsea is only eight points, while fifth could yet be enough for a Champions League spot depending on what happens with Man City's European suspension.

All Arsenal can do for now is keep picking up victories, and another win on Saturday would lead them nicely into a home game against basement side Norwich City on April 4.

The capital side are still in the FA Cup, meanwhile, and will travel to Sheffield United, who are enjoying an incredible season in the top flight, in the quarter-finals of the competition on March 22.

Brighton Premier League form: LDDDLD

Arsenal Premier League form: DDDWWW
Arsenal form (all competitions): WWWLWW

Team News

Brighton's squad is in good shape at the moment with Jose Izquierdo their only confirmed absentee, meaning that Potter has plenty of options to choose from.

Pascal Gross was an unused substitute against Wolves last weekend but could return to the starting XI, although there are not expected to be too many alterations.

Indeed, Neal Maupay should again lead the line with support from Aaron Mooy and Leandro Trossard, meaning that Alireza Jahanbakhsh might have to accept a spot on the bench once again.

As for Arsenal, Calum Chambers, Lucas Torreira and Sead Kolasinac are all out, but defensive trio Cedric Soares, Shkodran Mustafi and Kieran Tierney are making progress in their recoveries and could be available.

Hector Bellerin should feature at right-back despite concerns over a troublesome groin issue, while Lacazette could earn a recall at centre-forward following his winner against West Ham.

There are not expected to be many changes from the side that started against the Hammers with Nicolas Pepe set to keep his spot in attack, while Dani Ceballos should again get the nod over Matteo Guendouzi in midfield.

Brighton possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Burn, Dunk, Webster, Montoya; Bissouma, Propper; Trossard, Gross, Mooy; Maupay

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka; Ceballos, Xhaka; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette

Head To Head

As mentioned, these two teams have met on five occasions in the Premier League, and Brighton lead the head to head two victories to Arsenal's one, with the further two games being drawn.

Brighton recorded a 2-1 victory when they travelled to the Emirates Stadium back in December, although Arsenal do lead their overall head-to-head record 12 victories to four.

We say: Brighton 1-2 Arsenal

There is no question that Arsenal have shown huge improvement under Arteta, and we expect the Gunners to continue their strong form this weekend by picking up a narrow victory at the Amex.

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