Arsenal make the trip to Brighton today after a disastrous return to action in midweek.
Our side made the trip to Manchester to take on City on Wednesday night in our first match following the Coronavirus outbreak put a halt to the League program, and things couldn’t have gone worse.
Our team not only lost two key players in Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari inside the opening 20 minutes, but the latter’s replacement David Luiz then gifted our opponents a 2-0 lead and a one-man advantage to all-but end any hope of a result from our opening match after the resumption.
That loss will add a lot more importance to this match-up, and I can’t help but think that a failure to win against Brighton today will end any hopes of an unlikely Champions League entry, and also leave us with only a slim hope of the Europa League also.
The Seagulls will be keen for a fresh start after the break, as they haven’t won a competitive match since December 28, but if they watched our outing at the Etihad they will have reason to be confident.
This Arsenal team did not look fit and ready for action, and were largely out on their feet in the latter part of the match, so I think a number of changes will have to be made to the line-up, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe all likely to start having been overlooked against City.
The fresh players in attack will cause Brighton a whole host of problems, but our issues in midfield and at the back have only been worsened.
David Luiz is forced to miss out thanks to his red card in midweek, while Pablo Mari may miss the rest of the season thanks to his injury, and there is talk that Kieran Tierney could be used as a makeshift CB, while we also lack a strong defensive minded midfielder which will also put extra pressure on us at the back.
I actually predicted us to break the mould and get a win at the Etihad in midweek, but those injuries were certainly not part of Mikel Arteta’s plan, and now I’m struggling to expect a win against a lowly Brighton & Hove Albion side. How the tide can turn just like that…
I certainly hope I am wrong, but I feel like this could end up being a 2-2 draw. There is always the possibility of some Bernd Leno heroics, so I pray that he pulls off another of his trademark displays and helps us come away with the full three points.
Should I be more confident of our chances despite our growing issues? What are your score predictions for today?