Arsenal can take advantage of Brighton's inferiority complex
Under-fire Gunners value to hit back
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Brighton boss Chris Hughton peddled the obligatory “this could be a bad time to be playing Arsenal” line during his Friday press conference but deep down the former Spurs man has got to reckon the Gunners are there for the taking.
No team have lost more games in 2018 than Arsenal, who chalked up a seventh defeat of the year when crashing painfully at home to Manchester City on Thursday night.
The pressure on Arsene Wenger has been ratcheted up to near snapping point. His side are tailed off in the race for the top four and surely fearing rather than savouring a showdown with on-fire Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.
So, contrary to what Hughton says, this probably isn’t the worst time to be taking on an Arsenal team whose confidence appears to be through the floor and while he may be expecting a Gunners bounceback, it’s not guaranteed.
The real concern for Hughton should be taking on any of the top-six teams, which Arsenal, for all their woes, still are.
Brighton have lost only three times at the Amex this term, against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, by an aggregate 11-1 scoreline. Home and away against the big six, it’s seven losses out of seven and an 18-1 aggregate score.
There’s something about Brighton which seems to lift the spirits of the big boys, as demonstrated by Chelsea who visited Falmer in January on the back of a run of five straight draws and near humiliation at the hands of Norwich. An upset was on the cards – but Chelsea romped to a 4-0 triumph.
Arsenal, who are unbeaten in 34 Premier League games against newly-promoted sides, can turn on the style on the south coast and they look a fair bet at 10-11.
It isn’t as though Arsenal have been getting battered by rubbish teams. Their last two were at the hands of Manchester City, who just about everyone loses to. They carved out chances against City at Wembley and the Emirates although they were strictly second-best both times.
They have gone ten league games without a clean sheet, although the threat from Brighton might not be that potent as Albion endeavour to inch their way to safety. Hughton’s team aren’t big scorers - they rely far more on organisation and will defend with ten behind the ball when necessary.
But they haven't kept a clean sheet in seven and can occasionally be accused of overplaying their way out of defence.
They are on a great four-match unbeaten run in the league but an inferiority complex against the top dogs could show itself once more.
1pt 19-20 Betway
Jiri Skalak, Albion’s lone recent absentee, is back in training.
Nacho Monreal, Alexandre Lacazette and Santi Cazorla are out. Jack Wilshere is a doubt.
Arsenal have not won any of their last six domestic away games.
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