Arsenal predicted lineup vs Brighton

Arsenal conclude 2022 with a trip to Brighton’s Amex Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday evening.

Mikel Arteta will be coming up against a fan of his managerial career in the opposite dugout. “I know Mikel, I think Arsenal is a very good team and he is a very good coach,” Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi gushed before the sides met in the Carabao Cup in November. “I appreciate him a lot [even] when the results weren’t good and I like his style of play for sure.”

Here’s the XI Arteta may deploy to ensure De Zerbi’s respect is a little more begrudging.

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard scored a consolation goal the last time Arsenal faced Brighton in the Premier League / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Aaron Ramsdale – Across three visits to the Amex Stadium, the former Bournemouth goalkeeper has never tasted victory.

RB: Ben White – The former Seagull spent seven years on Brighton’s books but only enjoyed one season of uninterrupted first-team football before Arsenal swooped in.

CB: William Saliba – Eight days after watching his nation lose the World Cup final from the bench, Saliba was whisked back to north London where he spends precious little time on the sidelines.

CB: Gabriel – The Brazilian has lost more teeth against Brighton (at least three across two different games) than matches (two).

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – Fit enough for a cameo appearance on Boxing Day – which lasted just 18 minutes but gave him enough time to complete more passes than six of West Ham’s starting XI – Zinchenko may return for the first whistle this weekend.

CM: Martin Odegaard – Under Arteta, Odegaard claims to be ‘learning something new’ everyday. “He’s not just telling everyone what to do; he’s teaching us why.”

CM: Thomas Partey – No Arsenal player has won more tackles or made more interceptions than Partey this season.

CM: Granit Xhaka – With his older brother Taulant Xhaka considered the brighter prospect, Granit was interning in an office as a teenager, ‘preparing for real life’ as he put it. It turned out that his experience fetching coffees and copies wasn’t imminently required.

RW: Bukayo Saka – Among players aged 21 or under, only Bayern Munich‘s Jamal Musiala has directly contributed to more goals than Saka in Europe’s top five leagues this season (11 combined goals and assists).

ST: Eddie Nketiah – Gabriel Jesus’ stand-in found the net against Brighton in November but it wasn’t enough to earn progression in the Carabao Cup.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – Before his sixth birthday, Martinelli’s dad was making sure little Gabi trained his left foot. All that practice seems to have paid off this season with half of his six league goals coming off Martinelli’s (supposedly) weaker side.

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