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Match Previews

PREVIEW: ALBION V ARSENAL

2 March 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Albion welcome Arsenal to the Amex Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Brighton & Hove Albion play their third home match in as many weeks - when they welcome Arsenal in a Premier League fixture at the Amex Stadium this Sunday, kick-off 1.30pm.

Albion will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to seven games in all competitions, and move further clear of the relegation zone after last week’s convincing 4-1 victory over Swansea City.

Chris Hughton’s side currently sit 12th in the table and four points above the bottom three, with 31 points from their 28 games.

The Gunners occupy sixth place and will be targeting all three points to reignite their fading chances of a top-four finish.

TEAM NEWS:

Hughton revealed that Jiri Skalak has returned to training after being ruled out with an ankle injury, while Steve Sidwell remains unavailable (back and ankle). Otherwise the manager has a  fully-fit squad to choose from.

Nacho Monreal will miss Sunday's game after being forced off injured with a back problem in the Carabao Cup Final defeat to Manchester City last Sunday. Alexandre Lacazette is also ruled out with a knee injury.

REVERSE FIXTURE:

Lewis Dunk in action against Arsenal

Albion succumbed to their fourth league defeat of the season at the Emirates back in October, as goals from Monreal and Alex Iwobi gave Arsenal a 2-0 win in north London.

Monreal gave Arsene Wenger’s side the lead after 17 minutes with a close-range strike, before Iwobi fired home a second with 56 minutes gone from an audacious back-heeled assist from Alexis Sanchez.

Despite the result, Albion showed plenty of endeavour, with both Solly March and Davy Propper having good chances in the match.

FORM:

ALBION: The Seagulls have taken eight points from their last four Premier League games -– a run which started with a 1-1 draw away at relegation rivals Southampton on 31st January, before a 3-1 victory over West Ham United and a dramatic 1-1 draw away at Stoke City.

Albion then scored four goals for the first time this season, as Swansea were beaten 4-1 at the Amex last week, thanks to Glenn Murray’s brace and a goal each from Anthony Knockaert and Jurgen Locadia.

Alongside their impressive league form, Hughton’s men also claimed their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable 3-1 win over Coventry City.

Brighton are now unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, following the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on 20th January.

ARSENAL: The Gunners head into Sunday’s game after consecutive 3-0 defeats to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final and in the league.

Arsenal were also beaten 2-1 by Swedish side Ostersunds FK in the Europa League Round of 32 second-leg tie at the Emirates, but their 3-0 first-leg victory in Sweden was enough to see the Gunners progress 4-2 on aggregate.

Preceding that 3-0 first-leg victory was a 1-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on 10th February, which came after a resounding 5-1 success over Everton at the Emirates a week previously.

LAST TIME OUT: ALBION


ALBION 4
Murray 18 (pen), 69
Knockaert 73
Locadia 90

SWANSEA CITY 1
Dunk 85 (OG)

ALBION: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert (March 79), Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo; Gross (Kayal 90+1); Murray (Locadia 82).
 
SUBS NOT USED: Krul (GK), Bruno, Goldson, Ulloa.

LAST TIME OUT: ARSENAL

Albion in action against Manchester City

 
ARSENAL 0
 
MANCHESTER CITY 3
B Silva 15
D Silva 28
Sane 33
 
ARSENAL: Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Welbeck; Aubameyang.
 
SUBS NOT USED: Ospina (GK), Holding, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Elneny, Nketiah, Iwobi.


PLAYER TO WATCH:  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The Gabon international joined Arsenal for a club-record £56 million fee from Borussia Dortmund in a January deadline day deal.
 
Aubameyang arrived in north London with a superb goalscoring record for Dortmund, after finding the net 141 times in 213 games, including 21 in 24 matches this season.
 
He scored on his debut in the emphatic 5-1 victory over Everton at the Emirates on 3rd February, but has yet to add to that tally after featuring in the derby day defeat to Tottenham and both of the 3-0 losses to Manchester City.
 
Aubameyang is expected to lead the line for the Gunners again on Sunday and will be eager to add to his solitary Premier League goal to date on the south coast.


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