3 Arsenal players key to a victory vs Brighton

  • Arsenal take on Brighton at the Emirates on Sunday
  • Gunners have struggled at home to the Seagulls in recent years
  • Mikel Arteta expected to return core players to lineup after midweek shuffle
PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Koji Watanabe/GettyImages

Brighton have evolved into Arsenal's bogey side, but the Gunners have a huge opportunity which they simply can't afford to pass up on Sunday.

Yes, Brighton have had their way with the Gunners in north London, and yes, the Seagulls are darn good at football, but Mikel Arteta's side simply have to win.

With Crystal Palace rallying at the Etihad and rescuing a point against Manchester City, Arsenal can extend their advantage over the champions further this weekend.

Following his midweek shuffle, Arteta is set to return to a 'normal' starting lineup for Brighton's visit and here are three players who simply have to start.

1. William Saliba

William Saliba
Saliba almost always impresses in an Arsenal shirt / BSR Agency/GettyImages

While the efficacy of Arsenal's attack has been under question for much of this season, there is no doubt that the defence has raised its level.

At the centre of that defensive improvement has been none other than William Saliba. He has been exceptional. Not only has he shown his nous in difficult situations, but his quality when breaking the lines in possession has proven to be an underrated part of his game.

Against Brighton's aggressive pressing, his ability and comfort on the ball will be needed to break forward. He will also be tested on the defensive end, but with Gabriel Magalhaes partnering him, he will certainly back himself and his teammates to keep Brighton out. Hopefully, he can do so with ease.

2. Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka
Saka has enjoyed a productive first half to the season / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Despite Bukayo Saka being under scrutiny, the young player has performed admirably this season. Nearly every game sees him notch another goal contribution.

With another week's rest in his legs, he will look to unleash his ability against Brighton. Arsenal will try to dominate possession. While Mikel Arteta will emphasise control, the Seagulls' own desire to have the ball may provide counter-attacking opportunities for Arsenal's starboy.

Both Saka and Arsenal must capitalise on these openings when the Brighton block is more open than usual.

3. Gabriel Jesus

Gabriel Jesus
Jesus' movement could pull apart the Brighton defence / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Since returning from injury, Gabriel Jesus has been on another level.

He has completely changed the Arsenal attack with his energy, pressing and overall skill.

The fluency he adds has let Arsenal provide a more dangerous threat moving into the final third.

Despite Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard's best efforts to fill in, there is a reason Jesus is the starter when fit. He provides a level that raises the entire ceiling of the team.

Crucial combinations with wide players and midfielders will allow Arsenal to mount threatening attacks against a Brighton team that has shipped more goals than expected in recent weeks.