Roberto De Zerbi’s reign on the south coast of England in his seat of power at Brighton’s American Express Community Stadium has begun to earn justifiable praise of late after the Italian tactician has expounded on the framework first laid by now Chelsea headmaster Graham Potter. A 3-1 Boxing Day derby win against Southampton at St. Mary’s was just the tonic for the Seagulls to kickstart football’s return to the Premier League, with Brighton firmly in the conversation for the top six places as they sit just one point adrift of Liverpool, who are in action later this evening against Leicester City.
But a tough ask is on the cards tomorrow when De Zerbi’s men clash with high-flying Arsenal, who themselves resumed their hot run of form under Mikel Arteta with an impressive comeback win over West Ham United, and at currently, look to be the best side in the league on merit. A myriad of notable absentees on in the squad means Brighton will have to extract maximum performance levels if they are to take anything off Arteta’s troops.
Predicted Brighton XI
Brighton team news
- Adam Webster, Danny Welbeck, and Jakub Moder (out injured)
- Moisés Caicedo (red card)
- Alexis Mac Allister (has yet to return post-World Cup)
Roberto De Zerbi will have the tough task of finding a way to extract a result against Mikel Arteta’s table-topping Arsenal in front of home support without a number of key assets. The trio of Adam Webster, Danny Welbeck, and Jakub Moder are all unavailable due to injury concerns.
Those selection headaches are piled on by key midfielder Moisés Caicedo serving a suspension due to a red card, and the fact that World Cup-winning midfield star Alexis Mac Allister has yet to return to first-team duties after his heroics in Qatar.
With the Brighton spine truly affected by the current situation, De Zerbi is likely to make little - if any - changes over the side that ran out winners against Southampton on Boxing Day while keeping faith in a tactical schematic that has begun to truly plant roots at the AMEX.