Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Dale Stephens insists that today’s game with Arsenal at the Amex Stadium is a challenge the side are relishing.
Chris Hughton’s men play their first of two matches in four days in front of the home supporters this afternoon, and Stephens acknowledged that the game with the Gunners is one to embrace in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
He said, “It’s a big game in front of our home supporters and I think our record at the Amex Stadium speaks for itself.
“It’s proved to be a big thing for us both last season and during this campaign, and it’s one that the fans will look forward to.
“We have good memories of this fixture last season, we have to use those experiences, we’ll approach it full of confidence and I know everyone will be ready to go. We can give anyone a game at home, that’s how we’ve been since I’ve been at the club.”
The Seagulls currently sit in 13th position, having picked up 21 points from their 18 top-flight matches so far, and the midfielder positively assessed the side’s first half of their second season in the Premier League.
“So far, we feel like we’ve done well, we made a good start and picked up a lot of vital points that seem to have set us up for this busy festive period.
“The overall aims for the season haven’t changed from our perspective, maybe there’s a little more expectation surrounding the place at the moment but that’s only because of how well we’ve done already.
“But our aims and goals remain the same, we’re about right in terms of where we expect to be at this stage. We’re looking forward to this busy schedule because we know we can get a lot of points on the board in a short space of time.”
Last time out Albion were on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline against AFC Bournemouth and slipped to a narrow defeat to Chelsea in their last game at the Amex, but Stephens emphasised that the team’s fortunes would soon turn if they kept performing at their recent level.
“The start we’ve had is testament to the fact that we’ve lost a few games recently and still consider ourselves to be in a good position.
“We’ve had some tough matches against the likes of Chelsea, and even when we were behind we rallied well and gave a top team a real challenge.
“We took a lot of credit and confidence from that, and that should stand us in good stead ahead of this busy period.
“I think that the finer details in each match recently could have easily changed them, and we’ve played well too so I don’t think it’s too much cause for concern."