Brighton & Hove Albion-Arsenal Preview

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Perhaps it doesn’t matter who is coaching at Arsenal, the Gunners might not be a top-six team within the Premier League this season.

Winless in the league since early October, Arsenal and caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg look to end that rut by handing visiting Brighton & Hove Albion a fourth straight defeat on Thursday night.

In their first match since the expected sacking of Unai Emery, the Gunners (4-7-3) – who entered the mid-week matchday eighth in the table – managed just a 2-2 draw at lowly Norwich City on Sunday. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (10 league goals) scored twice – both equalisers – but that was all Arsenal could muster.

Since winning 1-0 versus Bournemouth on Oct. 6, Arsenal are 0-4-2 within the Premier League and coming off two consecutive draws.

“My feeling was that I wanted to win the game, very disappointed not to win it,” Ljungberg, the former Arsenal star who’s set to make his Emirates’ coaching debut, told Arsenal’s official website. “If we play a transition game like we did, we won’t win any games, so that’s something that I can coach and try to improve.”

It’s also uncertain if Ljungberg will wear a suit on the touchline, something he did not do over the weekend. The move drew ire from some pundits, but it shouldn’t matter to anybody associated with a club desperately in need of a victory.

“(The supporters) want us to play good football, and I think the only way to try to get a good atmosphere and get them going is to try to achieve that,” he said. “Whether that’s me or someone else as a coach, I don’t think that matters so much.”

Arsenal are a middling 1-2-1 against Brighton in the Premier League, including two 1-1 draws last season.

The Seagulls have managed two goals during a three-game slide against Manchester United, Leicester City and Liverpool. Not the easiest of stretches by any means, but something the club hopes to learn from – especially how well they felt they performed in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to leaders Liverpool.

“Hopefully, they can take that forward,” manager Graham Potter told Brighton’s official website. “Sometimes you don’t get the results in football because the opposition can be too good in certain situations. But, long-term we have to understand what was good about the performance and take it forward.

“The progress we make it down to having the belief from the start when you go away to the top sides in the league, and that’s all about going through a process as a team.”

Brighton’s Neal Maupay still leads the team with four league goals despite not scoring in any of his last four contests.

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