Press conference

What Arteta expects from De Zerbi's Brighton

We travel to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday with a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League - but Mikel Arteta is sure we’ll face a “really difficult and tricky game” in the New Year’s Eve fixture on the south coast.

This weekend’s opponents are enjoying a fine first half of the season themselves and come into the match with three wins in their previous four league games.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side also knocked us out of the League Cup in November, so it comes as no surprise that Arteta is expecting a stern test.

“They are a really good team,” the manager said. “They are playing at a really high level. They are a team that dominate almost every phase of play that is relevant to dominate a football match.

“They have a lot of confidence and play with their own personality. I know the coach really well - he’s someone I’ve followed for a period and he’s doing really well.

“Every manager has his ideas and is different. You could see a lot of similarities with what he did at Sassuolo and at Shakhtar as well. [He has] his way of understanding the game and it’s always that type of game.

“It is always a really difficult and tricky game. They have a lot of individual quality, a lot of composure on the ball. They are a team that are really aggressive and they will ask some big questions. We’ll need to be at a really high level to win the game.

“We are really happy with where we are but as I’ve always said, there are a lot of things we can still do better and improve - and we have to show that in the coming games.”

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