Before the season was cruelly curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, Arsenal had been unbeaten since December and poor Brighton had not won one game in the same time period, but we are now in a situation which is like starting the season again and a win for the Gunners is not quite so clearcut.
Arsenal have already had a tough game against Man City and are likely to be a bit fatigued after not having played for so long and having such a draining restart, while Brighton are feeling refreshed and ready to turn their season around.
The Brighton keeper Maty Ryan thinks that playing just three days after the demoralising defeat to City, and losing Pablo Mari through injury and David Luiz to a red card, could give the Seagulls a bit of an advantage over Arsenal today. “You could argue it benefits Arsenal to have already played a game, but you could also argue that they got an injury and a suspension on Wednesday night, so some people may think it wasn’t an advantage to play that match,” Ryan said on the official Brighton website.
“We have already proven that we can get a result against them this season. In the past we have also had a win against them at home in a previous season, so we will take confidence from that.
“We have hit the restart button and I have noticed a difference around the group, around training and then around matches we have played up until now in practice and training matches. We’re working hard to make sure that helps us get some positive results in the matches going forward, doing what needs to be done to maintain our Premier League status for next season.”
Ryan admitted that his side will have to play a tight game anyway, considering the underlying class of Arteta’s team, but he seems pretty confident of getting a result. “They have got a number of quality individuals in the team and a lot of flair that we have to be on our toes for,” he added. “You don’t want to play an open style game against them because those sorts of players have raw skill and pace to really hurt you, so we want to make sure we stick to our game plan and put them under pressure.
“But it’s all been going well in preparation and on Saturday now we’ll look to showcase it to everyone.”
“I think the break has done us a world of good in terms of trying to reset and refresh mentally. We were in a little bit of a slump form and results wise, but that has come to an end now.”
So, I wish I could say that Arsenal are also feeling confident this morning, but I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling that it won’t be as easy as it would have been before lockdown…