Football News

Arsenal vs Brighton predicted XIs: Team news as Mikel Arteta faces ‘season-derailing’ dilemma at left-back

By Ben Green

Published: 13:45, 8 April 2022

Arsenal face Premier League-secure Brighton in a must-win showdown on Saturday as they look to leap back into the top four (3pm kick-off, UK time).

Mikel Arteta’s men endured a humbling just across the M25 on Monday night as Crystal Palace put their fellow Londoners to the sword in a shock 3-0 win. That has ensured Tottenham remain in the top four, but the Gunners do boast a game in hand on their bitter rivals and simply cannot afford to watch further points fall by the wayside if they are to get back into the Champions League spots.

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Arsenal team news vs Brighton: Arteta has a left-back dilemma

  • Outs: Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu
  • Doubts: Nicolas Pepe, Thomas Partey

Kieran Tierney faces the daunting possibility of missing the rest of the season as he requires knee surgery, meaning Arteta has a bit of an issue at left-back. Nuno Tavares was given the nod against Crystal Palace on Monday night, but he was hooked at half-time following a very shaky showing, particularly for the Eagles’ second after Jordan Ayew evaded his marking to race through on goal and tuck into the back of the net.

Speaking at half-time in the Sky Sports studio, Jamie Carragher said he would have been “surprised” if Tavares came back out for the second half. “He is at fault for the second goal but it’s not just this goal,” Carragher said. “They’ve got to bring him off. I’ll be very surprised if he comes out for the second half.

“This is something you’re taught as a young kid, when you’re a defender, you’ve got to think the person next to you is a dummy and a poor player. Tavares stops, Ayew keeps running because he thinks Gabriel’s going to miss it, Tavares thinks he’s going to cut it out, so he stops.”

Carragher’s assessment echoes the opinion of Football London correspondent and Arsenal specialist Kaya Kaynak, who told the Squawka Talker Podcast: “He’s never been a great defender, he’s not the most switched on player in the world when it comes to marking, tracking runs and positioning.”

Ultimately, though, he feels the 22-year-old should be given time: “Last season losing him (Tierney) really threw their season off the rails in terms of the Europa League and I think they’ll be hopeful this doesn’t happen again this time around.

“I would keep Nuno [Tavares] in the side and I would change the midfield. Partey may be fit for this game against Brighton and if he is fit then I’d play him in a double pivot alongside Xhaka and have him drop into the left defensive side to give license to Nuno to go forward.”

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Predicted Arsenal XI vs Brighton:

  • Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Xhaka, Lokonga; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette. (4-2-3-1)

Brighton team news vs Arsenal: Moder faces lengthy layoff

  • Ins: Moises Caicedo
  • Outs: Jakub Moder
  • Doubts: Adam Webster

Jakub Moder faces a protracted spell on the sidelines after rupturing his Achilles against Norwich last time out. He came on for Solly March in the 83rd minute, before withdrawing just five minutes later for Jeremy Sarmiento after going down. Elsewhere, Adam Webster has missed the last six Premier League matches with a groin strain, but he could return here. The 27-year-old faces a late fitness test. Moises Caicedo meanwhile, returns from illness.

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Predicted Brighton XI vs Arsenal:

  • Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Cucurella; Lamptey, Bissouma, Gross, March; Trossard, Welbeck, Maupay. (3-4-3)

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