I'm Scott and I've been a Brighton fan since my parents took me to my first game at the Goldstone Ground at the age of 2. Remarkably, they were not locked up for this piece of child neglect in forcing a lifetime of disappointment upon me.
How not having an available striker will impact on the Albion's chances
Brighton have conceded in the first half just once this season - can that continue at the Emirates?
Why the Lewis Dunk for England campaign could gather pace
What is becoming increasingly clear about Brighton's chances of surviving in the Premier League this season is that home form is going to be paramount. We've taken six points out of nine at the Amex so far and all of a sudden "only" losing 2-0 to Manchester City in the other game doesn't look like a bad result given the hammerings they've been dishing out since.
This is our first away trip to one of the Premier League's 'Big Six' and given that we look to be taking the Burnley Blueprint to survival, it almost represents a free hit. Only those with the most blue of blue tinted spectacles among the 3,000 strong Albion contingent - the away allocation sold out pretty much immediately, such is the appeal of a first ever visit to one of the countries finest new stadiums - will go expecting anything, and so if we do manage to cause an upset by getting something off of Arsenal, it will be a huge bonus to our seasons points tally.
One thing that may work in the Albion's favour is the discontent among the home fans. Some sections of the Arsenal support have been calling for a walk out in the 27th minute to protest against the fact they've only won three FA Cups in the last four seasons or something. Or it might be to do with only qualifying for the Champions League for 19 consecutive seasons. Incidentally, in those 19 years Brighton have been homeless for 14 of them, playing their home games in the bottom division 75 miles away in Gillingham before a "temporary" stay at an athletics track with no roof that lasted 12 years.
We're no strangers to walk outs either. In 1997, Albion fans walked out 15 minutes before the end of a 1-0 home defeat against Hereford. We even boycotted the visit of Mansfield a week later. This was to protest against our board of directors asset stripping the club, selling the Goldstone Ground to pocket the profits with no viable alternative lined up and effectively attempting to drive the club out of business, all while being bottom of the entire Football League.
It must be a real chore being a Gooner in comparison.
Arsenal have spent their entire history being good and Brighton, well, haven't. Our only league meetings came in our one and only previous top flight spell in the early 1980s, Arsenal winning five games to Brighton's two with one draw.
We've given Arsene Wenger's stiffs a couple of frights in the FA Cup in the last five seasons, pushing them close in 3-2 Amex defeats in both the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons but Arsenal are as dominant in this fixture as you would expect and it is unlikely to change this Sunday.
We'd probably find it difficult enough to score at the Emirates with all three of our forwards fit and available. As it is, Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray are both in the treatment room and Tomer Hemed has been banned retrospectively for his stamp on DeAndre Yedlin in last weeks win over Newcastle United.
Your guess is as good as mine as to who plays up front now. Chris Hughton tried Jamie Murphy as a false nine in a front three away at Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup last week but, given that one Albion fan was rumoured to have slipped into a coma with boredom at the Vitality Stadium, it must be unlikely he would do that again.
Record signing Jose Izquierdo could make his first start as a striker. Although signed as a winger, he remains the quickest player in the Albion squad and given that we will probably be relying on counter attacking football and that Arsenal have been known to be susceptible when faced with a bit of pace, he might be the square peg asked to fit into a round hole.
Brighton's defence has been outstanding this season. It took Man City over an hour to break through the barricades and we have generally looked solid in every game bar Bournemouth away when Eddie Howe's substitutions turned the game.
That all comes down to the centre back pairing of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk, who must be one of the best outside the top six in the division. If Dunk in particular hasn't caught the eye of Gareth Southgate yet, then Southgate might want to consider investing in some prescription lenses. It's another big test for the two of them but they'll be confident of blunting one of the top flights best attacking sides.
(On the theme of 'Dunk for England', he is still available at 20/1 with BetVictor to make the World Cup Squad. Given the paucity of central defenders ahead of him, that seems like a pretty big price if he can continue this form throughout the campaign).
We don't have a striker. Arsenal to win to nil looks a big price when you bear that in mind.
We've only gone into the break behind in one game out of six so far this season and given that Hughton will probably go with an ultra-defensive set up, it may take Arsenal a while to break us down.
Dec 13th, 2017, 0 comments
Dec 13th, 2017, 0 comments
Dec 13th, 2017, 0 comments