Arsenal v Brighton preview: Alexandre Lacazette set to return
Last Updated: 30/09/17 8:48pm
Arsenal will look to maintain their exceptional record against newly-promoted teams when Brighton visit the Emirates on Sunday (kick-off 12pm).
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 31 Premier League matches against newly-promoted sides (W26 D5), collecting 83 points from a possible 93 since losing 1-2 to QPR in March 2012.
Despite only playing on Thursday in the Europa League, Arsenal were able to rest the majority of their first-team stars in the 4-2 win over BATE Borisov.
That included Alexandre Lacazette, who, after scoring twice against West Brom on Monday, became the first Arsenal player to score in his first three home league appearances since Brian Marwood in 1988.
This is the first league meeting between Brighton and Arsenal since February 1983 and the Seagulls are still trying to find their feet in the top-flight.
They took a big step in the right direction in beating Newcastle last weekend, which has left them with seven points from their opening six Premier League games.
Alexis Sanchez, Lacazette, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka could all return for Arsenal after being rested for the midweek trip to Belarus.
Mesut Ozil has returned to training after a knee problem but remains a doubt while Laurent Koscielny is rated "50/50" by Arsene Wenger due to an Achilles issue.
Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Calum Chambers are out injured. Alex Iwobi faces a test over the weekend to see if he will feature.
Brighton will be without Tomer Hemed, who starts a three-match ban after appearing to stamp on Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin last weekend.
Sam Baldock is still missing with a calf problem but Glenn Murray has an outside chance of being involved after an ankle injury. Steve Sidwell is recovering from back surgery and Beram Kayal is a long-term absentee having broken his leg.
- The Gunners have won their last four matches against Brighton in all competitions, with three of those last four wins coming in the FA Cup, most recently a 3-2 win in January 2015 at the Amex.
- Arsenal haven't lost a home Premier League match in the month of October since 2002; a 1-2 defeat to Blackburn - since then, they're unbeaten in 26 matches in the month (W21 D5).
- 49% of Brighton's shots this season have come from outside the box (27/55); a league-high proportion.
- Arsene Wenger has currently won a Premier League game against 44 different teams - level with Sir Alex Ferguson. If he wins this match, Brighton will be the 45th different club he's defeated in the competition and it would be an outright Premier League record for a manager.
- Theo Walcott has scored in Arsenal's last two matches against Brighton, netting a goal in each of their FA Cup victories in January 2013 and January 2015.
Arsenal's trip to Belarus in the Europa League should not get in the way of three points against Brighton. However, Arsene Wenger can't take Brighton for granted. That's where some managers are coming unstuck at the moment, taking teams lightly.
We saw that when Tottenham played Swansea at Wembley with Heung-min Son playing left wing-back and Liverpool making six changes against Burnley. You have to play your best team and if they do, I see it being comfortable for the Gunners.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal are Sky Bet's shortest-priced favourites at 1/4 for the win, with Brighton up against odds of 11/1 to win and 19/4 to leave the Emirates with a point.
Alexandre Lacazette heads the first goalscorer betting at 5/2 while Glenn Murray is considered the visitors' main threat at 12/1 to break the deadlock.