The final Premier League match of 2022 takes place at the Amex Stadium as Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal go head-to-head on Saturday.
A convincing 3-1 victory away to rock-bottom Southampton on Boxing Day helped Roberto De Zerbi’s side bounce back from an underwhelming Carabao Cup exit to third-tier Charlton Atheltic.
De Zerbi followed up a five-game winless Premier League run (D2, L3) to commence his tenure with four victories from the subsequent six matches (L2) across all competitions, but it’s not good enough.
His predecessor Graham Potter left him a team on the periphery of the Champions League qualification spots, yet the Seagulls are now six points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
But apart from a 2-1 home loss to Aston Villa on the stroke of the World Cup break, Brighton have managed three wins in their last four Premier League outings, highlighting the team’s improvement under the Italian.
Their unlikely quest for European football faces a stern test on New Year’s Eve as high-flying leaders Arsenal make the journey south on the back of a come-from-behind 3-1 home triumph over West Ham United.
Unfazed by a slender half-time deficit, Mikel Arteta’s men needed a mere five minutes to turn the game on its head and record a fourth league win in a row, maintaining a five-point lead on Manchester City in the process.
No matter the result at the Amex, the Gunners will enter 2022 as Premier League table-toppers. Still, after proving they can thrive without standout forward Gabriel Jesus, Arsenal will take the field in a buoyant mood.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton’s see-saw home form continues to be a stumbling block in their bid to challenge higher up the table, with their last five Premier League fixtures at the Amex fluctuating between different outcomes (W2, D1, L2).
Facing Arsenal on New Year’s Eve is hardly a good place to embark on a home resurgence, especially considering the Seagulls have picked up only one win in their last seven league games on December 31 (D1, L5).
However, there’s a silver lining. Brighton have only lost one of their five Premier League home matches against Arsenal (W2, D2), though they’ve failed to score in the last two (D1, L1).
For years, Arsenal’s backline had looked soft and clueless. Yet Arteta has turned his side into a formidable defensive unit this term, with the London outfit keeping six clean sheets on eight Premier League travels thus far.
Interestingly, the only two away league matches in which they conceded are the only two games they’ve failed to win in 2022/23, including a solitary top-flight defeat at Manchester United in September.
Like their hosts, the Gunners have developed a habit of faltering on New Year’s Eve, having won only two of their last seven league fixtures on December 31 (D3, L2), most recently beating QPR in 2011.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Arsenal Potential Line-ups
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-2-3-1): Robert Sanchez; Joel Veltman, Lewis Dunk, Levi Colwill, Pervis Estupinan; Billy Gilmour, Pascal Gross; Solly March, Adam Lallana, Kaoru Mitoma; Leandro Trossard.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey; Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli; Eddie Nketiah.
How to Watch?
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Arsenal Prediction
Brighton’s inconsistences at the Amex, coupled with Arsenal’s impressive run of four wins from their last five away league games (D1), gives the visitors the upper hand.
We expect the Gunners to take three points by a slim margin.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-2 Arsenal
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