Following the recent sacking of Unai Emery, Arsenal played out their first-ever game under the charge of caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg and secured a disappointing 2-2 draw against Norwich City at Carrow Road. The Gunners started the game off in good fashion but gradually fell off as the match progressed.
Although a couple of goals from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang were enough to secure a point for Arsenal, caretaker Ljungberg will be hoping to get his first-ever win as the Arsenal head coach when Brighton and Hove Albion visit the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night. The Seagulls faced defeat against the European Champions Liverpool last weekend and will be looking to get back to winning ways in midweek.
The most crushing blow for the new Arsenal manager has to be the fact that Dani Ceballos isn’t going to be available for first-team selection at least until halfway through December. Dani’s thigh problem has ruled him out for the next couple of weeks, giving the manager a bigger problem to worry about in midfield. In the end, Ljungberg resigned to using former skipper Granit Xhaka last time around.
Rob Holding could return to the squad after dealing with a slight knee issue over the last few weeks. Even if he does return to fitness though, it seems unlikely that he’ll start ahead of the other more experienced centre-halves. Full-back Hector Bellerin is another who missed the weekend draw against the Canaries. The Spaniard had a hamstring injury, but will be hoping to return this time around.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
Bernd Leno played a significant role in helping the Gunners earn a point against norwich last weekend. The German will have to be in fine form against a motivated Brighton side. Expect Sokratis to return to the heart of defence, alongside David Luiz, in place of Shkodran Mustafi, who was given a rare league start in their last outing.
The full-back areas are where Ljungberg could make changes this time. Kolasinac and Chambers started in the full-back roles in the fixture against Norwich City, but they could both be dropped down to the bench this time around. Hector Bellerin is expected to make his return on the right flank, while summer acquisition Kieran Tierney could get a start on the left.
One of the major “below par” performance from last weekend’s fixture against Norwich was young midfielder, Joe Willock. Although he started the game well in the heart of midfield, he was gradually faded out of the game by the Canaries defenders, and by half-time, he had become entirely invisible. Lucas Torreira is expected to make his return to the starting lineup, in place of Willock.
On either side of him, expect to see the familiar faces of Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka. While the Frenchman did look befuddled at times in the game against Norwich, the experienced Swiss midfielder put up a solid display. He controlled the movement of the ball with his passing and general positioning, making Ljungberg’s selection problem a even bigger one.
Mesut Ozil is expected to keep his place in the side, operating out of the number ten slot, just in behind the two main strikers. In front of him, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang should keep their places in the first-team. Although the latter stepped up and did the business for the Gunners against Norwich last weekend, it will be up to the people around him to ensure that he’s given the service he needs to deliver in the final third.