|Brighton can stop Arsenal's run but will the Gunners allow them? (Photo credit: GOAL)|
Whatever happens in this fixture, Arsenal would enter the new year as the league leaders and it’s laudable considering where they were last year and the season before the last.
Coach Mikel Arteta has thrown Arsenal in the title race and for a team that had the target of the top four at the start of the season, seeing them lead by five points at this stage is something not many saw coming and they can only become better.
Arsenal had to do it the hard way against Westham on Boxing Day; the Gunners went behind early in the game through a Said Benrahma penalty but like many expected, the entire front three of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Eddy Nketiah got on the score sheet to dismiss the Hammers emphatically.
Brighton beat Southampton 3-1 to give themselves some confidence ahead of this fixture which they have enjoyed over the years. Liverpool’s win over Leicester on Friday means to win or lose, Brighton won’t be able to finish the year in the top six but being 7th, above Chelsea is a feat to celebrate.
Arsenal remains the favorite here despite how well Brighton plays against the Gunners but they have to be humble and go about their business professionally. William Saliba appeared rusty against the Hammers, he must get over the World Cup final loss by now and come correct for the club.
Brighton will miss key figures, Moses Caicedo is suspended after accumulating five cards while Mac Allister is still on holiday mood and won’t feature until the new year. Danny Welbeck is unavailable to face his old club as well.
Arsenal can welcome back Alex Zinchenko back to the starting lineup while Nketiah will continue upfront; the Gunners are in the transfer window to shop for a replacement for the injured Gabriel Jesus and one would expect them to seal things quickly.
Solly March is on top form, he’s a man to watch out for in the game on Saturday while Leandro Trossard will also pose some threats. Martinelli and Saka are the obvious men to watch at Arsenal but keep an eye on Martin Odegaard as well.