Brighton vs Arsenal: Minor home comforts for Albion and Mikel Arteta's never-ending Mesut Ozil dilemma
Given five of their remaining nine games are at home, few clubs were more vocal about finishing the Premier League on a home-and-away basis than Brighton
Arsenal visit the Amex Stadium this Saturday as Brighton, who are two points above the drop zone with nine matches remaining, resume their Premier League campaign. Playing behind closed doors seems to have all-but eradicated home advantage as we knew it but Albion still believe they can gain an edge by playing in their own stadium.
Arsenal arrive having resumed their season on Wednesday in the worst possible fashion at Man City. They were hammered 3-0, had David Luiz sent off and suffered two injuries to important players. They have not won away in the league since December, and haven't won at all at the Amex since Brighton were promoted to the Premier League.
Albion won 2-1 at the Emirates earlier this season thanks to goals from Adam Webster and Neal Maupay. Their last win however at the Amex was against Bournemouth in December and they have yet to record a win in 2020.
With an unfriendly fixture list of Leicester, Manchester United, Man City and Liverpool still come Brighton really need something from this, while defeat for Arsenal would seriously dent their chances of European football next season.
It's Albion's first match since March 7 and their first behind closed doors. They have lost four times at home this season to Leicester, Southampton, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace but also recorded impressive wins against Tottenham and Everton. This really is a giant leap into the unknown.
Brighton v Arsenal kick off: Amex Stadium, Saturday June 20, 3pm.
Televised: Live on BT Sport 1, from 2:45pm. Live stream: BT Sport subscribers can stream via the video player and the BT Sport app.
Team news Brighton: Jose Izquierdo hasn't played for a year and remains out with a knee injury. Steven Alzate is said to be fit but managing a groin problem. Top scorer Neal Maupay is expected lead the attack for the Albion.
Arsenal: David Luiz is suspended, Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari are doubts after limping off against Manchester City. Mesut Ozil, was left out at City for ‘tactical reasons’.
Brighton possible starting lineup: Ryan; Montoya, Webster, Dunk, Burn; Mooy, Propper, Stephens; March, Maupay, Connolly
Arsenal possible starting lineup: Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Saka; Ceballos, Guendouzi; Pepe, Willock, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Potter on Arsenal: “We hope the break will have done us good, but unless you play well and fight and do everything you can to try to win, whatever advantages you’ve got make no difference,” added Potter.
“Arsenal are certainly not going to say ‘that’s what happened a few months ago so here’s a good start for you’ - we have to earn the right to win the game.
“We know results haven’t been what we’d like, but we have only lost three games in that time [since the start of 2020] so the margins have been quite small.
“That’s just the nature of the competition in the Premier League, it’s not easy to win matches in this division - that’s a fact.
“But we know if we play well, do the things we are good at, stick together and fight then we’ve got a chance and we’ll do our best to do that.”
Arteta on Brighton: "They are a threat, they showed at the Emirates that if you're not at it on the day, they're going to create a lot of issues. We better be ready because it's going to be a really tough game for us."
Arteta on Ozil: "I have been very open with Mesut from day one," explained Arteta. "Since I joined I thought that he was fit and he was willing and he wanted to perform at the level he can do.
"He has played every game with me I think. So that it is. The moment I see that he is ready again to do that, I will treat him like anybody else. I think I have been more than fair with him and I think he has responded in many games the way I want.
"That's it. A lot has happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the timing of every player that needs sometimes a little bit of time. I am the first one that wants Mesut at the best and I want to put him on the best when he can give his best."
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Stuart Burt, Peter Kirkup. Fourth official: Keith Stroud. VAR: Michael Oliver. Assistant VAR: Richard West. Replacement official: Paul Kelly.
Brighton Premier League last six: LDDDLD
Arsenal Premier League last six: DDWWWL
Odds: Brighton to win: 11/5, Arsenal to win: 7/5, Draw: 5/2
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