Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Brighton preview: Final third efficiency the key to three points

Morning.

A very quick Brighton preview, because I’m not quite sure how much there is to say about this game other than we need to get back to winning ways after last weekend’s game at Villa Park.

Mikel Arteta made eight changes for the midweek game against PSV, I suspect he’ll make another eight today we go ‘full strength’ for the visit of Brighton. If I had to guess, it’d be the exact same team that started against Villa, with Gabriel Martinelli fit again, and those who rotated in will rotate back out. Kai Havertz started the Champions League game, but I expect him to keep his place today, unless the manager shuffles his pack a little for this one.

Leandro Trossard is an option if he does, another might be Jorginho at the base of midfield with Declan Rice playing further forward, but as I said I think we’ll probably be unchanged from Villa. That was a game we got nothing from because we didn’t take our chances, and asked about Brighton and why their recent record against us at the Emirates has been so good, Arteta said:

They are a really good side. Last year when we had the game under control was when we conceded a goal and then the game completely broke up and we struggled, especially in the last 15 minutes of the game so we have to play better and be very efficient, which is key against them.

Very efficient. We can’t miss those chances again today, against a side who have become something of a bogey team for us. I think it’s more one of those weird quirks of results than anything else, but it’s something to put right today. Arteta referenced the pain of last season’s defeat as a motivating factor today, and I hope that helps us. Brighton have been far more inconsistent this season, in part due to injuries, but also because I think people have figured them out a little bit after Roberto de Zerbi’s tactics took many by surprise last season.

That said, they have some very dangerous players that we’re going to have to watch. Evan Ferguson and Kaoru Mitoma are obvious, but Pascal Gross is one of the most underrated players in this league, and he’s someone Arsenal will have to play close attention to. It will be interesting to see where he is deployed, in his last three Premier League games he’s started at right-back, left-back and in central midfield. Only Man City, Liverpool and Sp*rs take more shots.

Our front five certainly have the potential to cause Brighton problems though, and this comes back to the efficiency the manager mentioned. We got into good positions against Villa, but too often the final ball lacked precision and on a couple of occasions we couldn’t find the finish. Let’s hope there’s been some shooting practice this week.

A win today would put a little bit of pressure on Liverpool before they go out and absolutely destroy the most hapless Man Utd anyone’s seen in a long time, but after City dropped some points late on against Palace yesterday, it’s even more important we take all three today. These are little moments, little chances that you must make the most of if you’re going to win a title, so fingers crossed.

Right, let’s leave it there. Join us for live blog coverage later, and all the post-game stuff on Arseblog News.

Catch you later for the game.

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