Well, not long now and this bizarre Premier League season will be over. It will be quickly consigned to the recesses of memory that neither applaud or appreciates failure. Arsenal and Brighton, two teams with nothing to play for will scramble around for a final three points to make their final positions more palatable.
Brighton are a far better team than what their Premier League position suggests and had they had the likes of a Nketiah in their forward line, they may not even have been involved in the relegation battle for so long. I’m just speculating at this point.
The Seagulls play attractive football, create chances, and have genuine resolve, but the lack of goals from a recognised striker has cost them dearly. They need someone who has a nose for goal and who can deliver 18-20 goals per season to keep them out of trouble but having said that, they have still managed to surprise on occasion by banking the odd big scalp. Arsenal would do well to remember that mentally going on vacation before the final ‘pweep’.
Mikel Arteta seems intent on showing that his battered side are better than they actually are by accumulating another 3 points, but the truth is that a great many of this squad aren’t good enough for the Premier League.
You can expect a fairly strong side from the hosts in a reasonably even game that will contain the odd flash point and potential red card. The fall from grace seems complete for Arsenal because they now appear to be on a par with Brighton and all the other mid-table inhabitants.
You know what to expect from the Arsenal vs Brighton game. Brighton will press high, fight and chase every ball and break quickly, but their lack of teeth gives Arsenal a distinct advantage. If Saka, Smith Rowe, or Pepe are on the team sheet, Brighton may have to spend long periods in reverse and if you add the craft of Odegaard, then Graham Potter’s men might be rather tired after 90 minutes of toil.
By way of balance, Arsenal can resemble a bunch of tourists in defence, with all them busy looking on and enjoying the scenery whilst the attack gains momentum. The biggest plus, regardless of the outcome of this contest, is the return of fans. During the recent FA Cup final, it was made abundantly clear that the game isn’t and should never be exclusively for TV consumption.
With the addition of the genuine sounds of real fans, the excitement levels went through the roof with every kick and it almost transported the viewer back to the first-ever match that they attended. As an impartial observer on that occasion, it made the game even more enjoyable and Leicester’s win reinvigorated the game’s oldest and most famous cup competition. That at least gives some comfort as we now turn our attention to next season and perhaps, the bitter taste of this one will just disappear.
Preferred Side: Leno; Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe.
I fully expect Aubameyang to start because Arteta is prone to persisting with out-of-form players, whilst benching those more deserving souls who are normally granted a pitiful 10 or 15 minutes out of 90 plus. I fully expect a draw here as both cancel one another out, but I’m going to risk forecasting an Arsenal win against Brighton by a brace of goals.
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