The win over Tottenham, while still a game to savour, is now over. While Arsenal are on a high after four wins on the bounce in all competitions and it’s a run they must extend against Brighton.
As the final Premier League fixture before an unwanted international break, the opportunity to carry that momentum into that two-week stretch is one that can’t be let up.
It’s too soon to say whether Arsenal have turned a corner. There are clear individual and collective improvements witnessed over recent weeks, yet wins over Norwich, Burnley and an appalling Spurs side can still be viewed as matches Mikel Arteta’s side ‘should’ have won.
The Seagulls find themselves in the lofty heights of sixth place in the league table after Neal Maupay’s last-gasp equaliser away at Crystal Palace, a goalscorer at a time of scoring Arsenal know all too well.
Arsenal could have major squad boost ahead of Brighton with Graham Potter waiting on the fitness of six players including Yves Bissouma
With Granit Xhaka the only injury casualty from the 3-1 victory last time out – albeit set to be a sickening three month absence – Arteta can head to the AMEX Stadium on Saturday with a strong squad, something Graham Potter can’t claim as confidently.
As per Sussex Live, Brighton have a mounting injury list after their exploits at Selhurst Park, losing Steven Alzate to a nasty ankle injury with Danny Welbeck also coming off with a hamstring problem.
Other absentees from the 1-1 draw were defender Adam Webster, who also has a hamstring issue, as well as summer signing Enock Mwepu who missed out with a groin strain. Most notable of all, however, was Yves Bissouma.
Not included in the squad after sustaining a knee injury in the previous outing with Leicester, Potter is sweating on the fitness of up to six players for the Gunners’ journey south, even if he is more hopeful of the Malian returning in time.
“Bissouma is making decent progress, this game [Crystal Palace] came a little bit soon for him,” he said.
“We are hopeful he can be available against Arsenal but we will have to see at the back end of the week. Steven [Alzate] looked like he had quite a bad one [injury]. He rolled his ankle but somebody also landed on it.”
Without Bissouma in the starting lineup Brighton struggled for the same level of presence and tenacity against Patrick Vieira’s side compared to what they usually have, two of the 25-year-old’s finer qualities.
Arsenal have to focus on themselves and have confidence high for their trip to the south coast but there is nobody who will deny the absence of a midfielder that the vast majority of Premier League fans would like to see in their respective teams isn’t a bonus.