With Arsenal still clinging on to slim hopes of a remarkable Premier League title and Brighton smarting from a 5-1 home loss to Everton, we look ahead to their clash at the Emirates this weekend with our Arsenal vs Brighton prediction.
Arsenal vs Brighton: Quick Stats
- Arsenal strong favourites with the Opta supercomputer (52.2%) to beat Brighton this weekend.
- A win would be their 26th victory of the season and would tie their Premier League record for the most in a single campaign.
- If they lose here, Brighton will have lost three of their last four EPL away games.
This weekend’s encounter at the Emirates Stadium sees a meeting of two sides that have certainly overperformed expectations this season. At the start of the campaign, few would’ve picked Arsenal as genuine title challengers, and although the odds are now stacked against them winning the league, they did keep their slim hopes alive with an impressive 2-0 victory away at Newcastle United last weekend. It was a fractious contest and Arsenal’s “game-management” tactics drew the frustration of Eddie Howe in his post-match news conference. We went deep into the stats on time-wasting here if you’re interested in whether he had a point.
Either way, Arsenal had three points after the game to keep their faint title hopes alive. To have any chance of winning the Premier League, Arsenal need Manchester City to drop points in at least two of their final four matches. Unlikely? Yes. A possibility? Also, yes.
Whichever way you shake it, this has been a historic season for the Gunners. If they win their final three games, they’ll match the 90-point haul the Invincibles achieved in 2003-04, while they have won 25 of their 35 Premier League games this season (D6 L4). Only in 1930-31 (28), 1970-71 (29), 2001-02 (26) and 2003-04 (26) have they ever won more league matches in a single campaign. Arsenal won the top-flight title in all four of those seasons. They probably won’t win this one, such is the might of the Man City machine, but Mikel Arteta’s side could genuinely match the performances of Arsenal’s greatest Premier League team.
Brighton & Hove Albion suffered their heaviest loss of the season last time out against Everton, going down in flames in a 5-1 defeat. It was an out-of-character display from the Seagulls and Roberto De Zerbi described it as “not a Brighton performance.” It’s been a record-breaking campaign for Brighton regardless, who have already clinched a top-half finish and look set to beat their previous record-best ninth-place finish last season and qualify for Europe for the first time in their history.
As for how these two teams will approach the game at the weekend, you can expect goals. Brighton’s 27 Premier League matches under De Zerbi have seen 92 goals (52 for, 40 against). Among managers to take charge of 20+ games in the competition’s history, only John Gorman’s matches had a higher goal rate (3.50 – 147 goals in 42 games) than the Italian’s (3.41).
Added to that, Arsenal have scored in their last 15 Premier League games (longest active streak in the league), while Brighton have scored in their last 11 (third-longest). De Zerbi’s men have also registered just one clean sheet in their last 14 on the road (25 goals conceded).
Brighton have enjoyed plenty of success at the Emirates in recent times. The Seagulls have won three of their last four away games against Arsenal in all competitions (L1), including a 3-1 victory in this season’s EFL Cup.
In terms of team news, Oleksandr Zinchenko is reportedly ruled out for rest of the season with a calf injury. He joins William Saliba, Mohamed Elneny, and Takehiro Tomiyasu on the injury list.
For Brighton, Solly March is their recent injury casualty. Tariq Lamptey, Jeremy Sarmiento, Jakub Moder and Joel Veltman are all out too.
Brighton 2-4 Arsenal: 31 December 2022 (Premier League)
The reverse fixture between these two sides was a 4-2 thriller back on the last day of 2022. Arsenal ran out the winners, extending their lead at the top of the league table to seven points.
The Gunners were worthy victors on the balance of play, racking up almost three expected goals (2.93 xG) in the game. Only against Aston Villa (3.28 xG) have they accumulated better chances in a Premier League away match this season.
Bukayo Saka opened the scoring in the second minute, controlling a deflected Gabriel Martinelli cross to fire home. After just 66 seconds, Saka’s goal was Arsenal’s earliest away goal in the Premier League since May 2013, when Theo Walcott netted after just 20 seconds against QPR.
Martin Odegaard made it two just before half-time, reacting quickly to scuff in a loose ball from a corner. Arsenal thought they’d killed the game right after the break, as Eddie Nketiah stabbed home a rebound after Robert Sanchez could only palm Martinelli’s shot into his path. It was the forward’s 10th goal in his last 16 Arsenal starts.
Kaoru Mitoma set Arsenal nerves jangling somewhat, sweeping in to make it 3-1. Mitoma has netted two goals against Arsenal this season (also scoring in Brighton’s EFL Cup win) and the Gunners remain the only side he has scored against more than once in his career in English football.
But Arsenal hit back – somewhat against the run of play – Martinelli streaking onto a wonderful through pass from Odegaard to notch Arsenal’s fourth.
Evan Ferguson punished a rare mistake from Saliba to grab a goal for Brighton – the Irishman becoming his side’s youngest ever Premier League goalscorer (18 years, 73 days) – but it was no more than a consolation.
Following this win at the Amex Stadium, Arsenal are now looking to complete the Premier League double over Brighton for just the second time (also 2020-21).
Previous meeting line-ups:
Brighton: Robert Sánchez, Lewis Dunk, Levi Colwill, Pervis Estupiñán, Billy Gilmour, Pascal Groß, Tariq Lamptey, Adam Lallana, Kaoru Mitoma, Leandro Trossard, Solly March. Used Subs: Julio Enciso, Jeremy Sarmiento, Evan Ferguson.
Arsenal: Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah. Used Subs: Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Despite their mid-April wobble that saw them go four games without a win, Arsenal’s home form remains exceptional this season. They’ve lost at home just once all campaign and have won five of their last six league games at the Emirates (D1), scoring at least three goals in all six such games. Only two sides have ever scored 3+ goals in more consecutive Premier League home games – Manchester United (seven from December 2009 to March 2010) and Manchester City (10 from April to October 2022).
After losing 5-1 at home to Everton last time out, Brighton could suffer consecutive Premier League defeats for only a second time this season (previously in October). Away from home, the Seagulls have lost two of their last three league games (W1), as many as their previous 10 beforehand (W4 D4 L2).
Arsenal: Jakub Kiwior
It’s no secret that Arsenal have really struggled without Saliba in the heart of their defence. They average 1.9 points-per-game and a 50% win rate in the Premier League this season when he hasn’t played (P8 W4 D3 L1), compared to 2.4 points-per-game and a 78% win rate when he has featured (P27 W21 D3 L3).
The Gunners concede twice as many goals per game on average when Saliba hasn’t played (1.8) versus when he has (0.9) this term, also facing more shots per game without him (11.8) than with him (8.3).
To replace the Frenchman, Arteta initially turned to Rob Holding. But Holding’s run in the team coincided with Arsenal’s winless run of four matches, and Arteta decided to hand Jakub Kiwior his Premier League debut against Chelsea. The Poland international joined the club in the January transfer window from Serie A club Spezia.
Despite being a left-footed centre-back, Kiwior has slotted in on the right next to Gabriel Magalhães, and Arsenal have won both games he’s started in.
Kiwior made three interceptions and four clearances against Chelsea – the most of any Arsenal player – while he was also neat in possession (93% passing accuracy). The test against Newcastle United was different with the home side enjoying more of the ball, but Kiwior defended robustly, winning all his tackles and making a joint-team-high four clearances.
It’ll be interesting to see if his form continues as he looks to become the long-term heir to Gabriel.
Brighton: Alexis Mac Allister
Plenty of rumours about Alexis Mac Allister’s future are swirling, and it looks likely that this season will be his last in a Brighton shirt.
The rumours are there for good reason, too. Mac Allister has scored 10 Premier League goals this season, more than any other Brighton player, while the only player to score more in a season in the competition for the Seagulls is Glenn Murray, who netted 12 in 2017-18 and 13 in 2018-19. Granted, the Argentine is on penalty duty – but he has still dispatched all six of those he’s taken.
The midfielder is also heavily involved in Brighton’s all-round play. Together with Solly March (6.2), the pair lead the way for involvement in Brighton’s shot-ending attacking sequences on a per-90 basis. Mac Allister’s bar below is a healthy split between shooting himself, creating chances and being involved in the build up. He has a well-rounded game that is no doubt attracting his many suitors, including Liverpool.
Arsenal vs Brighton Prediction
The Opta supercomputer likes Arsenal’s home record a lot, and fancies it to continue this weekend. It gives Arteta’s side a 52.2% of victory on Sunday. Brighton are given a 21.6% chance of upsetting the form book, while the draw comes in at 26.2%.
Victory for Arsenal is crucial in keeping their flickering title hopes alive. The supercomputer’s rest of season predictions gives them a 9.3% of pipping Man City to the crown. For Brighton, European football looks likely. The Seagulls are rated at a 82.7% of finishing either sixth or seventh in the standings, and that would likely be enough to secure it.
Arsenal’s remaining fixtures: Nottingham Forest (a), Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)
Brighton’s remaining fixtures: Newcastle United (a), Southampton (H), Man City (H), Aston Villa (a)