The Breakdown

The Breakdown: Arsenal v Brighton preview

We return to Premier League action on Sunday when we take on Brighton & Hove Albion at Emirates Stadium. 

Ahead of the game, tactical expert Michael Cox analyses our opponents’ strengths, dangermen and areas we can target.

Chris Hughton has triumphed at the Emirates in 2010 with Newcastle, and two years later beat Arsenal at Carrow Road when Norwich manager, both 1-0 wins. Brighton were widely tipped for relegation after their long-awaited promotion to the Premier League, but two victories from six matches suggests that they have adapted well to life in the top flight.
Hughton likes to use a simple formation based around two solid banks of four – the wingers are expected to retreat into position quickly when possession is lost, and for long periods Arsenal will find themselves frustrated by Brighton’s reluctance to move forward from a deep defensive block.

Brighton’s attacking play flows entirely through their wingers. Out wide, Anthony Knockaert was their star performer last season, winning the Championship Player of the Year award and bagging 15 goals. An excellent all-round attacking midfielder capable of dribbling, crossing and shooting from range, on paper he’ll be Brighton’s main counter-attacking threat. On the opposite flank, Solly March has arguably been brighter so far this season, heading in the opener at Bournemouth two weeks ago. He’s also a good dribbler, and another suited to a counter-attacking style.
Pascal Gross, who starts in the No 10 position but spends the majority of matches drifting into wider positions, before attempting to cross the ball into the box. He consistently recorded excellent figures in terms of creating chances at former club Ingolstadt, many from set-pieces, and Arsenal should be careful not to concede cheap free-kicks in dangerous positions here.
Right-back Bruno Saltor remains a solid operator, but is 37 today and while surprisingly mobile, might struggle to cope with the speed of Alexis.

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