Arsenal ended a dreadful seven-game winless run in the Premier League with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day.
The pressure was firmly on Mikel Arteta prior to the visit of the Blues but his side put in a performance to suggest they are still fighting for the Spaniard.
Despite that much needed three points, the Gunners are still 15th in the table, sitting on 17 points after 15 matches.
That’s just four points above Tuesday’s opponents, Brighton, whose only home win in 2020 came against Arsenal back in June.
Arteta will be hoping that result doesn’t repeat itself as he aims to lead his side to a third away victory in the top-flight this season.
Following a great performance against Chelsea, it will be interesting to see if the Gunners boss will stick or twist with that XI at the Amex.
Here we predict the Arsenal starting XI to take on Brighton…
Bernd Leno is Arsenal’s undisputed number 1 and, despite a poor season from the side, has, more often than not, been reliable between the sticks. The German made some important saves against Chelsea – most notably keeping out Jorginho’s late penalty – and will be aiming to secure just a fourth Premier League clean sheet in this one.
After a dreadful run, Arteta gave Pablo Mari his first Premier League start of the season against Chelsea and the central defender didn’t let him down. The Brazilian looks set to keep his place in the XI alongside Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, who all impressed against the Blues.
With Thomas Partey sidelined, Arteta hasn’t had a chance to find out his favoured midfield since signing the Ghana international from Atletico Madrid. The 27-year-old will again miss this match meaning that the Gunners are likely to line up with Granit Xhaka, who scored a stunning free-kick against Chelsea, and Mohamed Elneny at the base of the midfield. Just operating in front of them, Emile Smith Rowe should get back-to-back Premier League starts. The 20-year-old gave Arsenal real creativity in the final third against the Blues – something which had been clearly lacking in previous weeks.
The biggest decision Arteta has to make is whether to restore captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the starting XI. The 31-year-old has only netted three Premier League goals this term and was only a substitute against Chelsea due to a previous calf issue. However, with the impressive Gabriel Martinelli having played the last two games after recently returning from a long-term injury, the Gabon star could return on the left hand side. Elsewhere in attack, Alexandre Lacazette and Bukayo Saka are expected to start again after netting against the Blues.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Brighton; Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Tierney; Elneny, Xhaka, Smith Rowe; Saka, Aubameyang, Lacazette.