Arsenal head to the Amex Stadium to face relegation-threatened Brighton & Hove Albion in Saturday’s solitary traditional 15:00 kick-off time in the Premier League.
The Gunners will be licking their wounds having succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Mikel Arteta appears to have something bordering on a selection crisis, too, with David Luiz’s red card meaning he is unlikely to play for the club again with his contract expiring at the end of the month, and Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari’s injuries sustained early at the Etihad almost certainly ruling them out of this fixture.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Callum Chambers also remain injury doubts, meaning Rob Holding may partner Shkodran Mustafi in defence.
The towering centre-half has started just one Premier League match this season having suffered with injuries, so is likely to be even rustier than most players on the pitch.
In contrast to Arteta’s selection woes, Graham Potter has confirmed that only winger Jose Izquerdo will be missing through injury for Brighton.
With all of this in mind, I fancy Brighton to score here. They aren’t exactly a free-scoring side, but they have scored in over 70% of their home matches this campaign, with Arsenal keeping only three clean sheets on the road.
Neal Maupay is a real livewire in attack and should Potter partner him with target man Glenn Murray, there’s more than enough about them to nick at least one goal against a weakened Arsenal back-line as they look to avoid slipping into the relegation zone.
Indeed, their next fixture is a trip to high-flying Leicester City, with their next three home games coming against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City, so I suspect they will be viewing this as a must-not-lose game at the very least.
Arsenal’s Champions League qualification hopes are also hanging on by a thread so it should be a competitive game.
Competitiveness tends to correlate with cards, but Martin Atkinson takes charge here and he’s one one of the few referees in the league to average below 3 yellow cards a game this season.
However, Arsenal average over 2.5 cards away from home this season so I’m confident they’ll pick up at least one here.
Brighton aren’t quite so card-happy, but the last time they didn’t receive 1+ card in a match was in a pre-Covid world in a comfortable 2-0 home win over Bournemouth on 28th December.
Despite Arsenal’s selection problems, they still have the players in attack to draw fouls and cause problems, as displayed by them averaging 2.23 cards against them on their travels this season.
While Atkinson always scares me a little when backing cards, I expect Brighton’s defenders and midfielders to be physically assertive in this one, so I’ll also back Brighton to receive 1+ card.
They average over 5 corners at home, so we can allow plenty of margin for variance and game state by backing them to win over 1 corner in order to bring our BetBuilder to an above evens-shot at 21/20.
To recap, the BetBuilder for this game is over 0 goals for Brighton, over 0 cards for each team, and over 1 Brighton corner at 21/20.