by Zack Lambert
June 20th, 2020
Arsenal at Brighton
Spread: Brighton (+0.5); O/U: 2.5
Moneyline: Arsenal +135, Brighton +205, Draw +240
Time/Location: 10:00 ET, Falmer Stadium, Brighton, England
Arsenal’s first match back from the break was unequivocally a disaster, spun at the hands of one David Luiz. Things started poorly when Granit Xhaka and Pablo Marí were both forced off with injuries. Dani Ceballos and Luiz were the replacements for the respective players and things took a nosedive from that point. Luiz took a terrible angle on a very easy ball that slipped by him for an easy Raheem Sterling goal just before half and conceded a red card penalty after the break. With Luiz sent off, the game was already lost.
Arsenal truly looked awful across the pitch, but it’s fair for one to wonder how much that had to do with Luiz and the opponent. It’s unlikely that the Gunners make it back to European football this season, but there’s still plenty of time to try. There are problems with the defense as the team is down to just two center backs, but Bernd Leno has been phenomenal as of late and without Luiz bungling things it should be a much easier go against Brighton. More of the focus should be on scoring goals in this match so we ought to look forward to seeing the real Arsenal on Saturday.
As Brighton’s last five have indicated, there’s been very little to celebrate for the Gull’s fans. The team currently sit in 15th place and are just two points out of relegation zone. Having scored just two goals in their last four matches, it goes without saying that Brighton are going to need a change to earn points. Luckily, Brighton have one of the best defenses in the bottom half of the table, conceding just 40 goals on the season, something to give them both a chance in the match and some breaks during the game.
Despite the defense being the better unit for Brighton, the way this match unfolds will rest squarely upon the shoulders of the attacking side. Neal Maupay, Pascal Groß, and Davy Pröpper are going to be integral to scoring against Arsenal, so a good showing will be key. Brighton have a decent chance of splitting if they’re able to manage a goal.
Analysis and Pick
It’s a fair shout to say that Arsenal won’t pull the full three points from this match considering how they played against Manchester City, but we have to look at the bigger picture here. Without David Luiz’s contributions, it’s very possible that City don’t score; they were getting some decent shots but weren’t very convincing. Brighton is not Manchester City and there likely won’t be any free goals given. I simply don’t trust the Gulls.
Arsenal’s attack is still very potent with Pépé, Aubameyang, Lacazette, and company in tow. At the same time Mustafi hasn’t been playing terrible defense and Leno has been safe at the net. I expect Arsenal to handle possession for most of the game and limit the chances that Brighton get. With inconsistent finishing on the other side I believe a shutout is in order for the Gunners. Take Arsenal to win the match 2-0.