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Lokonga steps in and 3 ways Arsenal could line up against Brighton

Lokonga steps in and 3 ways Arsenal could line up against Brighton

Confirmation that key Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is set to miss three months with a medial ligament injury was hardly the news many would have wanted to hear.

Despite the divisiveness that still persists around the Swiss international, his central partnership with Thomas Partey remains the Gunners’ best duopoly in the center of the park, and that was very much on display when Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners against bitter rivals Tottenham in the North London Derby.

Lokonga steps in and 3 ways Arsenal could line up against Brighton

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – MAY 20: Albert Sambi Lokonga of RSC Anderlecht during the Jupiler Pro League match between RSC Anderlecht and Club Brugge at Lotto Park on May 20, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium (Photo by Perry van de Leuvert/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

But the emergence of summer signing Sambi Lokonga as a viable starter under Mikel Arteta, despite his age, has seen the Belgian catapult up the selection chain after many felt the former RSC Anderlecht standout was merely a talented youngster with a long-term future at the club. He will now be thrust into the limelight for a prolonged period of time alongside Partey, as the 21-year-old has quickly pushed ahead of the likes of Mohamed Elneny in the pecking order.

A clash with Graham Potter‘s high-flying Brighton constitutes a tricky test for Arsenal despite their three-match win streak, especially with the Seagulls boasting a defensive record that only Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool can better.

How might Mikel Arteta set up his Arsenal side as they look to earn four wins on the spin? Here are three ways in which the Gunners could line up against Brighton.

The standard 4-2-3-1

Lokonga steps in and 3 ways Arsenal could line up against Brighton

The usual deployment seen during the Mikel Arteta era, this maximizes the combined firepower and creativity that Arsenal can bring to bear at any given moment through a highly-effective front-four. Lokonga’s ability to sit deep also unleashes Partey to hunt the Brighton supply lines, whilst too covering for a marauding Tierney.

Arsenal in a 4-3-3

Lokonga steps in and 3 ways Arsenal could line up against Brighton

There has been talk of Ødegaard’s ability to play in a deeper role while Smith Rowe would remain at left wing to keep that creative threat from wide areas, and this could be a match to give it a real go as three in midfield would take advantage of a less than fully-fit Yves Bissouma.

Three at the back to match Brighton

Lokonga steps in and 3 ways Arsenal could line up against Brighton

Arteta has a habit of going with a three at the back deployment when he wants to match an opponent who sets themselves up similarly, and Arsenal could do worse than operating in the same way here. It would likely mean sacrificing one of Ødegaard or Smith Rowe, but nullifying the effectiveness of the Seagulls’ typical front-three of Neal Maupay, Leandro Trossard, and Danny Welbeck could end up being key to three points.


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 8 13 19
2 Liverpool FC 8 16 18
3 Manchester City 8 13 17
4 Brighton & Hove Albion 8 3 15
5 Tottenham Hotspur 8 -3 15
6 Manchester United 8 6 14
7 West Ham United 8 5 14
8 Everton FC 8 4 14
9 Brentford FC 8 3 12
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 0 12
11 Leicester City 8 -1 11
12 Arsenal FC 8 -5 11
13 Aston Villa 8 0 10
14 Crystal Palace 8 -3 8
15 Southampton FC 8 -4 7
16 Watford FC 8 -8 7
17 Leeds United 8 -8 6
18 Burnley FC 8 -8 3
19 Newcastle United 8 -9 3
20 Norwich City 8 -14 2

Premier League 21/22

Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 7
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 5
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 4
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 4
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 3
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 3
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 3
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 3
Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 3
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 3
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 3