Preview: Brighton v Arsenal

Arsenal will be desperate to get their fading top-four challenge back on track when they travel to the south to take on Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Premier League
4 March 2018
Gameweek 29
Kick-off: 15H30 (GMT+2)
Venue: Amex Stadium
Referee: K. Friend
Assistants: S. Beck, M. Wilkes
Fourth official: S. Attwell

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Brighton 16 2 2 12
Arsenal 16 12 2 2

Previous encounter:

Arsenal 2-0 Brighton 01/10/17 (Premier League)

Arsenal goalscorers: N. Monreal (16'), A. Iwobi (56')

Players to watch:

Albion will be hoping the in-form Glenn Murray can continue to deliver in front of goal against the Gunners. The striker has found the back of the net 10 times in the league this season and bagged a brace in the 4-1 win over Swansea last time out.

Jack Wilshere makes things happen. The midfielder may only have registered two league assists since returning from his latest injury, but he's creating chances for his team-mates, who aren't converting them.

Team form and manager quotes:

Results have picked up for the Seagulls in February after a poor run over December and January, which saw them register just one victory in 11 top-flight matches.

Chris Hughton's side went unbeaten last month with two wins against West Ham (3-1) and Swansea (4-1) sandwiching a 1-1 draw at Stoke.

It has allowed Albion to pull away from the relegation zone and they sit 12th in the league standings, four points clear of danger with 10 games left to play.

Hughton knows it's tight in the bottom half of the table and acknowledged that more points are needed than the 31 they currently have to stay up. He is also wary of a backlash from the Gunners.

Asked what he felt would be enough points to ensure safety, Hughton told the press: "I don't know what it will take. We're amidst a group of competitors that are capable of winning games, and we will have to pull out some sort of shock in these last 10 matches.

"When you are playing a team of the stature of Arsenal, you've got to be wary of a reaction. It could arguably be the worst time to play them, so we have to make sure we play to the levels we know we can."

The north Londoners are still smarting from successive 3-0 defeats to Manchester City in the last week, the first of which came in the EFL Cup final on Sunday.

They have won just twice in their last five league outings to slip 10 points behind arch-rivals Tottenham, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger their confidence has taken a big hit in the last few days and he is looking for a positive response from his players on the south coast.

"You go up by stairs and come down by the lift. That's what confidence is. That's what you have to show, that you have the level to be at Arsenal Football Club," the Frenchman said in his press conference.

"When your confidence is not at the best, the first thing that goes is your fluidity in the movement, the spontaneous side of the game. You could see that tonight.

"I don't deny their quality because they have top quality, but we're going through a difficult patch at the moment. That's part of football as well unfortunately."

Team news:

The hosts could welcome back midfielder Jiri Skalak, who has returned to training following an ankle injury, but Steve Sidwell remains a long-term casualty.

Nacho Monreal – a scorer in the reverse fixture earlier this season – misses out with a back issue for the visitors, while Alexandre Lacazette continues the recovery process from knee surgery.

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