Gunners to make it four in a row against Brighton
It’s unlikely that Arsene Wenger will pitch teenage sensation Krystian Bielik into the red-hot atmosphere of an FA Cup tie this weekend, even though the Gunners will be without several key players again at the Amex Stadium.
Bielik will be given as much time as he needs to adjust to new surroundings and Wenger is hoping to add Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista to his squad before the transfer window closes, though is currently being held up by Villarreal’s valuation and possible work permit issues.
Danny Welbeck, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Debuchy are all still missing for Arsenal while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took a knock in the win at the Etihad last week.
He may be rested with Theo Walcott expected to start. Kieran Gibbs and Mesut Ozil could also return to the starting line-up but it will be interesting to see if the Gunners stick with the new defensive formation that worked so well against Manchester City are revert to a more conventional style of play.
Brighton have only won six times in the Championship this season but four of those victories have come in their last six outings.
Chris Hughton has finally begun to turn things around after replacing Sami Hyppia and the Seagulls are beginning to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
Portuguese midfielder Jaoa Carlos Teixeira, who is on loan from Liverpool, scored twice in their midweek defeat of high-flying Ipswich and Leon Best made a late appearance as a substitute having joined on loan from Blackburn until the end of the season, though he isn’t available to play against the Gunners.
That means that Sam Baldock and Chris O’Grady are likely to continue their partnership in attack.
Arsenal have won 10 of their 14 previous meetings with Brighton, including the last three. Two of those were FA Cup ties on the south coast achieved by a one-goal margin and a similar outcome isn’t out of the question this weekend. The draw on the handicap with Brighton getting a goal start is 11/4.
Both teams to score at the Amex is 5/6.
The match kicks off at 4.00pm on Sunday, January 25th at Amex Stadium.