Brighton v Arsenal
Live on BT Sport 1
Brighton have battle on their hands
So, where were we?
In Brighton’s case, they entered lockdown with their Premier League future in the balance.
Initially, things had looked really bright under Graham Potter but the year 2020 hasn’t been kind. So much so that they’re the only top-flight side without a Premier League win in the calendar year.
Not that it’s been all bad with their winless streak of nine matches including six draws.
Brighton were one of the sides insisting on home advantage when neutral venues were proposed but Potter has taken a realistic view, which is fair given a mixed record of W4 D6 L4 on their own turf.
“It’s not like the Amex was a massive fortress for us before and now we haven’t got that anymore. So we have to play football and we get on with it,” said Potter.
Brighton will have cardboard cutouts of fans in the stands, with Potter joking that they at least can’t hurl abuse at him.
Gunners looking to bounce back from City loss
Arsenal’s 3-0 loss at Manchester City on Wednesday night was a stark reminder of their defensive frailties but, looking at the positives, they’ll be without the suspended David Luiz this time.
On one level, that’a a lazy joke; on another, there’s plenty of truth behind it as his mistakes led to the first two City goals.
Mikel Arteta’s side looked quite bouncy early on at the Etihad but the best that could be said at full-time was that they’d had a run out.
Arsenal will be seen as dubious [2.42] favourites by many – especially as they’re winless in their last four away league games against Brighton (D1 L3), last winning there back in April 1981.
Brighton are [3.25] to get their first three points of 2020 while The Draw is the outsider of the three outcomes at [3.5].
However, before taking the view that Arteta hasn’t done much yet, a reminder that, before the City defeat, the Spaniard was unbeaten in all seven of his away games in all competitions for the Gunners (W3 D4) – the longest ever unbeaten away start to a managerial reign in Arsenal’s history.
The last four Premier League meetings between this pair have seen both goalkeepers pick the ball out of their respective nets.
But the market expects Both teams to Score to land again, with ‘Yes‘ trading at just [1.78] and ‘No‘ the clear outsider at [2.26].
As for this season, Arsenal are definitely a BTTS team with the bet landing in 62% of their games. Brighton aren’t too far behind on 55% although that drops to 50% at home.
I’m a fan of both teams to score here and, full disclosure, for now I’m going to pursue a strategy of backing away teams in my Premier League previews.
The evidence from Germany has been strong and I’m prepared to follow it here.
True, at the time of writing, the first two games didn’t produce an away win but, let’s be honest, there were mitigating circumstances.
Arsenal were always going to struggle to win at Man City while Sheffield United would likely have scored an away win (okay, we’ll never know) but for the bizarre failure of the goalline technology in their 0-0 draw at Aston Villa.
While a draw has merit, Arsenal will definitely have the fitness edge having already played and the lack of atmosphere – surely a huge reason behind all those away wins in Germany – has to be a negative for Brighton.
My strategy for goalscoring bets is to focus on in-form players.
As precisely no-one is in form due to Arsenal firing blanks at Manchester City, I’ll leave this market alone.
If you want an angle, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored both of Arsenal’s two Premier League goals at the Amex. He’s just [2.04] though.
Adam Webster and Neal Maupay scored Brighton’s goals in their 2-1 win at Arsenal earlier in the season. They’re  and [2.84] respectively to wheel away in celebration.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday (W19 D4), since a 0-1 loss against West Brom in November 2015.