We aim to return to winning ways when Brighton & Hove Albion head to north London, although the Seagulls have been a rather unwelcome visitor to Emirates Stadium down the years.
The Sussex side have returned home with victories on each of their last three visits, and their four successes from seven matches at Emirates Stadium is the highest win rate (57 per cent) of any visiting English side at our home since it opened in 2006.
However, following our 3-0 defeat by Roberto De Zerbi’s team in May, we have remained unbeaten in our 12 subsequent home games in all competitions, and now that our Champions League campaign is in hibernation, Mikel Arteta will be hoping that run continues as we focus solely on the Premier League during the festive period.
Seagulls flying in Europe
A highly impressive sixth-place finish last term saw Brighton clinch European football for the first time in their history, and they have enjoyed their Europa League adventures having reached the knockout stages with a game to spare after advancing from a tough group including Marseille, Ajax and AEK Athens.
However those adventures have had a knock-on effect on their league form, especially with injuries mounting. An incredible start to the season saw them win five of their first six games, before a 6-1 defeat at Aston Villa started a run of six winless matches as they struggled to juggle domestic and continental action.
Recent weeks have seen things get back on track, with successes over Nottingham Forest and Brentford sandwiched between a loss at Chelsea, while they drew 1-1 with Burnley to head into this weekend eighth in the table. However the Seagulls conceded first in each of those four games, and have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League this term.
What the manager said
Arteta: “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.”
Read every word from Mikel’s pre-match press conference
Mohamed Elneny limped off against PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday after feeling something in his hamstring, but a scan revealed that “it doesn’t look too serious so he’s going to be with us I think very soon,” Mikel Arteta said.
Gabriel Martinelli missed the trip to the Netherlands with illness but should be fine to play on Sunday, but Thomas Partey, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fabio Vieira and Jurrien Timber remain out.
De Zerbi has been hit with a raft of injuries in recent weeks, with on-loan Barcelona forward Ansu Fati ruled out for a couple of months, while Tariq Lamptey and Pervis Estupinan are also out long-term with muscle problems, Solly March has undergone knee surgery and Julio Enciso has been out for the majority of the campaign with his own knee injury.
Adam Webster has also been out of action for around a month with an unspecified problem, but Danny Welbeck should be fit to return to the bench back at his old stomping ground.
Adrian Clarke, writing in the official matchday programme: De Zerbi’s stock formation is a 4-2-3-1, but his full-backs regularly invert into central midfield positions during the build-up phase, making it more of a 3-3-3-1 when his side has possession. When they don’t they like to draw rival teams onto them when playing out from the back.
Averaging an incredible 62 per cent share of possession – fractionally more than Manchester City and ourselves – Brighton are a side who are slick, cohesive and very intelligent in their movement.
They also work insatiably hard to win the ball back, with their central midfielders often jumping out of their domain to apply pressure inside the final third. They limit opponents to 10.6 passes per defensive action, one of the lowest figures in the division, and only three teams (us, Manchester United and Spurs) have produced more shots from high turnovers.
De Zerbi has instilled a positive mentality that sees his players perform with adventure and bravery, home and away, and they have scored on average over two goals per game in league action. On the flip side, the Seagulls are one of three clubs yet to produce a clean sheet in the Premier League, with lapses in concentration, caught out by overplaying in tight areas, meaning they are not solid defensively.
Facts and stats
The home side has won just two of the last 10 Premier League meetings between us and Brighton.
Since losing 3-0 to the Seagulls in May, we are unbeaten in 12 home games in all competitions (W10 D2), scoring at least twice in 11 of those matches.
Brighton have scored in their last 32 Premier League games and conceded in each of their last 20. It’s their longest-ever scoring streak in their league history, while it’s their joint longest run without a clean sheet (also 20 games between September 1947 and March 1948).
We have only fallen behind at any stage in six Premier League games this season, fewer than any other side. We’ve avoided defeat in four of those matches (W2 D2), while we’ve not lost any game in which we’ve led this season (W11 D2).
Bukayo Saka has been involved in 13 goals in his last 11 appearances at Emirates Stadium, scoring eight and assisting five. The only game in which he hasn’t registered a goal involvement in this run was in our 5-0 win over Sheffield United in October.
Martin Odegaard turns 25 on the day of this game; the last Arsenal player to score on their birthday in a Premier League match was Mesut Ozil against Swansea in October 2016. Against no side has Martin been involved in more Premier League goals than he has against Brighton (4 – 2 goals, 2 assists).
Pascal Gross has been involved in five goals in his last four Premier League appearances, scoring one and assisting four.
Tim Robinson is handed his third Gunners game of the season, and so far things have gone well for us when he has been the man in the middle. We beat Sheffield United 5-0 in October when he handed us a penalty, and then he was also in charge of our late win at Brentford last month.
Having been added to the regular pool of Premier League referees ahead of this season, Robinson has officiated 10 games in the top-flight and has brandished 45 yellow cards in that time but no reds, while the only penalty he has awarded came in our thrashing of the Blades when Fabio Vieira converted from 12 yards.
Referee: Tim Robinson
Assistants: Eddie Smart, Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth official: Darren Bond
VAR: Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies
Recent visits from the Seagulls
Having been winless in their first eight trips to N5, Brighton have gone and won the last three, and were the last club to taste victory at Emirates Stadium courtesy of a 3-0 win back in May when Enciso, Deniz Undav and Estupinan got on the scoresheet.
That was the first of two successes the Seagulls had at our home last season, as they knocked us out of the League Cup in November 2022. Despite Eddie Nketiah putting us in front, a Welbeck penalty plus second-half strikes from Kaoru Mitoma and Lamptey ended our interest in the competition.
They also triumphed back in April 2022 when Leandro Trossard got on the scoresheet during a 2-1 win, meaning you have to go back to May 2021 for when we last tasted success over the Sussex side on our own patch, when a Nicolas Pepe brace saw us win 2-0.
Nick Bright and Adrian Clarke are in the My Arsenal Rewards box to present Breakdown Live for this weekend’s game, while Carl and Tyler from GayGooners will be joining us pitchside. Former Arsenal Women’s player Angela Banks will drop by the studio and we’ll look back on our final Champions League group stage match of the season.
Adrian will break down everything we need to know about Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton, before handing over for live commentary from Dan Roebuck and Jeremie Aliadiere.
You can also find out how to watch the game live wherever you are in the world
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Olivia Martin is a dedicated sports journalist based in the UK. With a passion for various athletic disciplines, she covers everything from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis.