BRIGHTON welcome Arsenal on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his thoughts from the Amex encounter.
Brighton vs Arsenal | Saturday 20th June 2020, 15:00 | BT Sport
Arsenal were comfortably beating midweek at the Etihad, partially down to David Luiz’s ineptitude and decision making at the back. But looking at that game, it was a fair scoreline with City racking up 20 shots to the Gunners' three. It’s a swift turnover again for Mikel Arteta and another away game as they travel to Sussex to take on a Brighton side firmly entrenched in a relegation dog-fight.
The Seagulls have acclaimed many plaudits this season for their emphasis on possession-based football, pundits in some quarters have labelled it attractive and exciting. Hmm, not really for me… I actually think Brighton have been a pretty boring team to watch but I do think on the whole their performances have merited a greater points total than they have already accrued.
Graham Potter has had some job on his hands turning this Brighton side from a solid defensive, happy to concede possession team, into one they are willing to play out from the back and be patient on the ball. If they do stay up this season I expect them to do much better next.
Interestingly, and to many people's surprise, Brighton rank above Arsenal on the underlying performance data. Albion have been profligate in front of goal but should they bring their shooting boots I think they can score at least once against what will be a patched up Gunners backline.
Luiz of course is suspended, the man he came on for, Pablo Mari is now injured. Granit Xhaka went off early too and is out, Callum Chambers and Sokratis are both unlikely to feature too.
‘You cannot get with the away side here'
Brighton, on the other hand, have a fully fit squad to choose from and will be fresher without playing midweek. Chasing the ball for 90 minutes, and a lot of it with 10 men, could well take it’s toll on Arsenal and I think this is more of an issue at the start of a season or restart as your body isn’t used to the quick turnaround. Throw in the annoyances of travel under current circumstances and you cannot get with the away side here.
Arsenal are still in single figures for wins this season which is a shambolic effort for a club of their ilk. They fail to see games out and can’t rely on a defence that has an Expected Goals (xG) conceded figure of 1.50 per-game. The North Londoners also concede 15 shots per-game – only four teams allow more, further showing their open nature at the back. That brings me onto a few angles of interest.
The betting angles
Firstly, I’ll happily take the 41/50 (Bet365) on the Seagulls with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap. This would see us profit should the hosts avoid defeat with a full stakes win if they claim three points and a half stakes win should it end all square.
The Gunners have won just two away games this season, a sorry record, but they do draw quite a few so I’d rather take out some insurance and the shorter price than take the straight home win as the X also looks a runner.
Secondly I’ll dip into the player props market. One player I like the look of to exploit Arsenal’s propensity to give up shooting opportunities is Belgian attacker Leandro Trossard.
I would perhaps wait on team news as he’s not always a guaranteed starter, having said that I’d be surprised if Potter left him out. Trossard averages 1.9 shots per-90 minutes and given Arsenal concede more than most sides I’m happy to take the 10/11 with Boylesports on him attempting Over 1.5 Shots. This same bet is as short as 1/3 elsewhere, if it goes than Bet365 have some 5/6 available.
Finally, I’m going to go to an old favourite: Brighton centre-backs and passes. Lewis Dunk is 4/5 (PokerStars) to attempt 55 or more passes and that looks generous. I’ve talked about Brighton liking to keep the ball (fifth highest in the league) and they’re happy to knock it about the back and try gain a psychological advantage over their opponents. Dunk has averaged 70 passes per 90 minutes this season and has beaten this line in 20/27 games this season.
Arsenal aren’t they ball hogging team they once were and I think they’ll be happy to sit off and try do Brighton on transitions, running at pace at the backline with little pace. I doubt this price will last. I’ll also have a small go on him attempting 70 or more passes at 16/5 with the same firm, we may need game state in our favour for this one but at the price it looks too good to turn down since he’s hit 70 in over 55% of his games.
Brighton v Arsenal – Brighton +0.25 Asian Handicap (41/50 Bet365)
Brighton v Arsenal – Leandro Trossard Over 1.5 Shots (10/11 Boylesports)
Brighton v Arsenal – Lewis Dunk 55+ passes (4/5 Poker Stars)
Brighton v Arsenal – Lewis Dunk 70+ passes (16/5 Poker Stars)