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Everything that could go wrong at Selhurst Park did go wrong for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, who took it upon himself to apologise for his side’s “unacceptable” performance, which was certainly a contender for their worst showing of the season.
Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha‘s finishes handed Palace a deserved dominant win as Patrick Vieira got one over his former employers, while injuries to Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey before and during the game rubbed salt into the wounds.
Talk of Arsenal’s season being “over” is of course very premature, as despite their humbling at the hands of the Eagles, the fifth-placed Gunners still have their Champions League destiny in their own hands, with Tottenham Hotspur only clear on goal difference having played a game more.
Whichever North London club makes the top four could very well be determined in what ought to be a pulsating derby encounter on May 12, but for the time being, Arsenal will welcome a return to the Emirates as the third-best home team in the Premier League this season.
Indeed, the Gunners have claimed 10 wins from 14 on home soil in the top flight since the beginning of September, and their only defeats at the Emirates this term have come to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, so a chance to boost their morale and standing in the table surely lies ahead.
In another devastating injury blow for the Scottish left-back, Arsenal have announced that Kieran Tierney will require surgery on his knee injury and will miss the remainder of the campaign – hardly ideal with Takehiro Tomiyasu also ruled out of this contest.
Thomas Partey’s recent thigh problem will need assessing, but it is extremely difficult to see the Ghana international being fit for this one, so the stage is set for Albert Sambi Lokonga to impress after a bright cameo at Selhurst Park.
Arteta has a massive call to make at left-back following Nuno Tavares‘s early withdrawal on Monday, but a meeting with goal-shy Brighton could be just what the Portuguese needs to regain some form. Nicolas Pepe will also hope to be back from illness in time for this one.
Arsenal were not the only ones to be dealt a serious injury blow in the latest round of fixtures, with Brighton’s Jakub Moder only on the pitch for five minutes against Norwich before rupturing his ACL.
Adam Webster (groin) is keeping Moder company in the treatment room after a small setback in his recovery, but he could force his way into contention here, while Moises Caicedo should be fit to return from a bout of illness.
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Ex-Arsenal man Danny Welbeck and Maupay spearheaded an unconventional 3-1-4-2 formation against Norwich – which did not pay dividends – and Potter may consider recalling Yves Bissouma to the first XI here.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Cedric, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Xhaka, Lokonga; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Cucurella; Lamptey, Bissouma, Gross, March; Mac Allister; Trossard, Maupay