Arsenal face another key clash in their efforts to finish in the Champions League places this season as they host Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners could reclaim fourth spot with victory against the Seagulls – albeit potentially temporarily with Tottenham Hotspur set to be in action later in the day.
Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta’s men have been hard at work on the London Colney training pitches as they aim to get back to winning wins following the aberration against Crystal Palace last time out.
Arteta Holding out hope on Rob
Heading into the game with the Seagulls, Gunners boss Arteta has a tricky decision to make over his defence. Both Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyasu are ruled out through injury, whilst Nuno Tavares struggled against Crystal Palace.
That could well lead to the Arsenal defence having a somewhat unconventional look to it against Brighton. Cedric Soares could potentially be asked to deputise at left-back, with Ben White potentially asked to move over to right-back – as he did during the international break for England.
This then leaves the question over who will partner Gabriel Magalhaes at the heart of defence and an excellent candidate for that role could be Rob Holding. The former Bolton Wanderers man was heavily involved in the latest session and might well be called upon for what would be only his fifth Premier League start of the campaign.
Turning to youth
Speaking of players heavily involved, it appears that the latest batch of Hale End academy graduates could potentially be ready to step-up to first-team action. Young midfielder Charlie Patino was involved in pre-Brighton training, whilst football.london understands that Miguel Azeez and Zak Swanson were also handed the opportunity to train with the first-team.
It remains to be seen whether the trio will be given a place in the squad to face Brighton with just three senior appearances between them but it is certainly a good sign that Arteta has plenty of faith in the Gunners’ youth intake, especially after the successes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
Odegaard out to make amends
One man who will certainly be keen to make an impression against the Seagulls this weekend will be Norwegian playmaker Martin Odegaard. The former Real Madrid man endured a hugely disappointing evening at Selhurst Park last time out.
He failed to impact the game in an attacking manner at all, whilst he conceded the penalty dispatched by Wilfried Zaha that turned the defeat into a slight embarrassment. Having been tipped to potentially succeed Alexandre Lacazette as captain at the Emirates Stadium, Odegaard will have to show that he can respond to such lows in a positive way.
The early signs bode well for the midfielder having been at the heart of the Gunners’ latest session on the training pitch – a theme he will surely hope continues in front of the Arsenal supporters on Saturday.