Sunday, 5 May 2019

Arsenal vs Brighton: squad news & preview



Having put themselves in a prime position to reach a major European final this week , Arsenal are back in domestic action as they return to the Premier League against Brighton.

Unai Emery's Gunners ran out 3-1 winners against Valencia in the Europa League semi-final first leg at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, thanks to Alexandre Lacazette's first-half double and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's late effort.


Only two points off fourth place heading into the weekend, the North London side will hope results fall their way following a poor run of form in the top flight as they look to seal Champions League football.

Chris Hughton's side are assured of their Premier League status following Cardiff City's relegation, but they will no doubt be eager to send their fans into the off season on a high note after a dismal run.


Squads & Team News


PositionArsenal squad
GoalkeepersLeno, Cech, Okonkwo
DefendersSokratis, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Monreal, Koscielny, Jenkinson
MidfieldersGuendouzi, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Xhaka, Torreira, Maitland-Niles
ForwardsAubameyang, Ozil, Lacazette, Nketiah, Iwobi


With the second leg of their Europa League tie next week, Arsenal will likely make changes, though they will look to keep a strong side given their position in the race for the top four.

Bernd Leno has been given a recall in goal while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains up front alongside Alexandre Lacazette.

Lucas Torreira and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are back in the first 11 after missing the clash against Valencia, while Stephan Lichtsteiner makes an appearance.

Confirmed Arsenal starting XI: Leno, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Mustafi, Monreal, Torreira, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
PositionBrighton squad
GoalkeepersRyan, Button, Steele
DefendersDunk, Duffy, Bruno, Montoya, Bong, Bernardo, Balogun, Burn
MidfieldersBissouma, Stephens, Kayal, Gross, March, Izquierdo, Jahanbakhsh
ForwardsLocadia, Murray, Andone


Davy Propper remains out of the equation for Chris Hughton with a hamstring issue while Beram Kayal could be a doubt with a similar problem.

Solly March is back in the starting line-up after he made an impact from the bench against Newcastle last time out, playing alongside Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Glenn Murray.

Confirmed Brighton starting XI: Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bernardo, Stephens, Bissouma, Gross, Jahanbakhsh, Murray, March.


Match Preview


With one foot arguably on the plane to Baku for this season's Europa League final, Arsenal manager Unai Emery will be keen to ensure that his side do not take their foot off the pedal as the final weeks of the season close in with the visit of Brighton to the Emirates Stadium


With a maximum of just four games to go before the 2018-19 campaign is concluded, the Spaniard would surely love to answer the few critics he has had to contend with in his debut season by reaping some silverware - and a 3-1 victory against Valencia on Thursday has taken him one step close to achieving that goal.
In the aftermath of their win, however, the Europa League-winning specialistwarned that the overall result of the two-legged fixture remains hung in the balance.


"In the first leg, we wanted to get a good result, knowing that it would be difficult," Emery stated.

"After the first goal, our response was very good, with calmness and passion. We took our moments and the goals in the first half gave us confidence.

"We wanted to win and not to concede a second goal, but we also had to play. The third goal came at the end and for us it was important, but [the tie] continues to be 50-50.

"Valencia are a good team. They played with strong players defensively and in midfield. They're strong at set-pieces, they scored and we struggled with set-pieces.

"We'll continue to work on what we can improve, on what we can do better, but generally in the first leg, over the 90 minutes, we can be happy and proud of the players and supporters. Now we will prepare the same for the second leg because we know it will be very difficult."
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Domestically, however, the Gunners face just as big a task as they do in Europe, with their chances of reaching the top four requiring not only maximum points from their last two Premier League games but also for favourable results to fall their way.

By the time they step out to face Albion, their prospects of a finish among the Champions League places may be further under threat depending on the results of Chelsea and Manchester United against Watford and Huddersfield Town










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