It was business as usual on Boxing Day for title-chasing Arsenal, who produced a second-half comeback against West Ham to strengthen their grip on first. Questions have been asked about the make-up of Mikel Arteta’s men and whether they can sustain a title bid against an Erling Haaland-inspired Manchester City. The Gunners are yet to flinch 15 games in.
They remain five points above City, who bounced back against Leeds to put their defeat to Brentford behind them, and this weekend represents another interesting chapter in this unexpected race for the summit. With just five points dropped this season, Arsenal are very much riding the crest of a wave, and they will want to maintain that form on the South Coast.
When Graham Potter left in early September for Chelsea, Brighton’s bright start looked like it would fizzle out. But, ever the diligent club, the Seagulls seem to have pulled off a shrewd appointment in Roberto De Zerbi, who has continued the good work of his predecessor, and already beaten Arteta in the EFL Cup. His side are in seventh and continue to look up, daring to dream of reaching the European places.
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Brighton vs Arsenal match stats
Bukayo Saka was arguably England’s best player out in Qatar for the World Cup, and he translated that form back to the Premier League on Monday night as he equalised for Arsenal’s eventual 3-1 turnaround against West Ham. Of course, the 21-year-old has been impressive for some time. In fact, since the start of last season, only Mohamed Salah (159) has had more shots with his left foot in the Premier League than Saka (94).
It was Martin Odegaard’s scuffed shot that eventually set up Saka on Boxing Day, but as far as assists go, they all count. A playmaker wizard, the Norwegian sensation has been pretty nifty in front of goal as well. He is Arsenal’s top scorer on the road in the Premier League this season (four goals), netting braces at both Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
09 Apr 2022 – Arsenal 1-2 Brighton – Premier League
02 Oct 2021 – Brighton 0-0 Arsenal – Premier League
23 May 2021 – Arsenal 2-0 Brighton – Premier League
29 Dec 2020 – Brighton 0-1 Arsenal – Premier League
It was only last month that these two sides faced off in the League Cup. De Zerbi secured a 3-1 win over Arteta’s rotated side to book his side’s ticket in the Fourth Round. Goals from Danny Welbeck, Kaoru Mitoma and Tariq Lamptey ultimately settled the tie.
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