Arsenal v Brighton: Goal-shy Seagulls to slip to defeat

Arsenal were swept aside by Crystal Palace, but Kevin Hatchard believes they'll find life easier against struggling Brighton...

Arsenal must respond after Selhurst smash

Although Mikel Arteta admitted his Arsenal team simply didn't play well enough in Monday's 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, sometimes you just have to accept that the opposition played exceptionally well. The Eagles made a barnstorming start at Selhurst Park, getting a raucous crowd fully involved, and they truly merited the 2-0 lead they took in the first 24 minutes. Arsenal defended poorly, took a long time to really develop any kind of rhythm, and missed gilt-edged chances when they came along.

The defeat, and the nature of it, was a real shock to the system. The Gunners had won six of their previous seven PL games, and had racked up five straight top-flight wins on the road. They were hoping to record six straight Premier League away wins for the first time in two decades.

To make matters worse, Kieran Tierney picked up a knee injury ahead of match, and probably won't play again this season. Thomas Partey was injured during the game, and his is an absence Arteta can ill afford.

At least Arsenal can take solace from their home form. They have won eight of their last 11 league matches at the Emirates, and their only defeats on home soil have been against the top three. They have kept six clean sheets in the last ten home games in the league, and have scored 14 goals in that sequence.

Tierney's absence means that Arteta must make a decision on the participation of raw young left-back Nuno Tavares, who was hooked at half-time at Selhurst Park. Granit Xhaka moved out there for the second-half, but that isn't a long-term solution. Gabriel Martinelli may start after coming on as a half-time sub on Monday.

Brighton leaving points on the park

We've all heard the one about Brighton missing chances in the Premier League, but until you actually drill down into the figures, you can't really see just how badly they've been failing in front of goal in recent seasons. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Brighton have scored 105 Premier League goals. Their Infogol Expected Goals For figures suggest they've racked up an xG of 150.3, a staggering differential of 45 goals. Even if you accept that xG is just a handy indicator of trends rather than the be-all and end-all, that's still a remarkable disparity.

The goalless draw with Norwich City last weekend was a classic example. Striker Neal Maupay skied a penalty and missed other presentable chances. Brighton have now scored one goal and claimed one point from their last seven Premier League games, and while there is no real danger of demotion, manager Graham Potter must somehow address the team's attacking deficiencies. It isn't as simple as demonising Maupay, as the former Brentford forward's tally of eight PL goals this term is pretty much in line with his personal xG figure for the season.

Brighton have lost their last two away games at Newcastle and Manchester United, and they have only won two of their last 12 on their travels. They lost 2-0 on their last visit to Emirates in May, and they have failed to score in their last three meetings with the North London giants.

Polish international Jakub Moder is out for the rest of the year after rupturing his ACL against Norwich, while Adam Webster is also on the sidelines. Maupay is likely to spearhead the attack, despite his disappointing display last weekend.

Gunners can bounce back

Arsenal were very poor on Monday night, but they have generally played well on home soil, especially against bottom-half sides. Brighton are in awful form, and look like a mid-table side that's grasping for motivation.

I wouldn't put you off backing Arsenal to win at 1.69 in the Match Odds market, but we can use the Sportsbook to boost that price to 2.2 by backing Arsenal to win and Under 3.5 Goals. Only three of Brighton's 30 Premier League matches this term have featured four goals or more, while there hasn't been four goals in an Arsenal home game in the top flight since October.

You could also use the Asian Handicap to back Arsenal -1.0 at 2.26. If Arsenal win by a single goal, you get your stake returned, but you get a full odds-against pay-out if they win by a bigger margin.

Youngsters to sparkle

Although Emile Smith Rowe drew a blank against Palace on Monday, he still got into some good positions, while Bukayo Saka worked hard in a losing cause. Brighton will be under pressure here, and they give up a shade under four shots on target per game in the Premier League. Arsenal have 4.69 shots on target per game, and Smith Rowe (1.16 SOT per game) and Saka (0.93 SOT per game) have respectable numbers in that regard.

If they both start, back Smith Rowe and Saka to both have a shot on target at 2.06 on the Sportsbook.

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