Arsenal face Brighton at the Emirates on Sunday in the Gunners’ seventh league match of the season.
Arsenal have finally managed to get a bit of a run going in all competitions, with the draw at Stamford Bridge the only dropped points in six matches during September.
The Gunners sit in seventh place in the table, six points behind league leaders Manchester City, but as they play Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, at least one of the teams above Arsenal will drop points this weekend. It’s up to Arsène Wenger’s side to take advantage at home to Brighton.
Despite playing some minutes on Monday and then being rested for the trip to BATE Borisov, it seems Mesut Özil will not feature due to his ongoing knee problem. Similarly, Koscielny’s long-term Achilles issue seems to have flared up again and could keep him out of the match as well.
Meanwhile Iwobi, whom reports initially suggested could be out until after the international break, now seems like he could be available for Sunday’s squad. Everyone else rested in mid-week should available, bar long-term injury absentees Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers.
That leaves Wenger with a bit of a problem. Welbeck is out, and if Iwobi and Özil can’t play either, the Arsenal boss has few options for his front three. I’d guess we’ll end up seeing Elneny play his third game in six days so Ramsey can move into the front three again as on Monday.
With all that in mind, here’s my predicted starting XI:
(3-4-2-1): Čech; Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Kolašinac, Xhaka, Elneny, Bellerín; Alexis, Ramsey; Lacazette.
Brighton have had a decent start for a promoted side, winning two and drawing one of their first six games. However, that still leaves them in the bottom half of the table in 13th, and only three points above the relegation zone, so I’d expect them to be after whatever they can get at the Emirates.
Most recently, the Seagulls held out for a 1-0 win over Newcastle, showing their ability to grind out a result. But it wasn’t all good news, as goalscorer Hemed has since been given a three-match ban for an apparent stamp on DeAndre Yedlin at the end of that match.
Their other danger man is summer signing, Pascal Groß. Groß has two goals and two assists already, and created more chances than any other player in the Bundesliga last season, so he’ll be one to keep an eye on.
Arsenal have a great head-to-head record against Brighton, winning 11 out of 15 matches between the sides. Every recent game since Brighton’s last win in 1982 has gone Arsenal’s way.
This will be the first time the teams have faced each other at the Emirates.