3 key battles in Arsenal's clash with Brighton

  • Intriguing tactical duel awaits the Emirates as Arsenal host Brighton
  • Gunners have struggled at home against Seagulls in recent times
  • Contest will see plenty of individual duels

Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion last season
Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion last season / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages
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Arsenal are set to face Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The only time Mikel Arteta has beaten the Seagulls at home was on the final day of the 2020/21 season, where Nicolas Pépé scored a brace in a 2-0 victory.

As Arsenal go into the game following a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa (and a midweek draw with PSV Eindhoven that almost everyone has already forgotten), three particular battles will be crucial in determining Sunday's victor as the Gunners go in search of a rare home win over the Seagulls.

1. Kauro Mitoma vs Ben White

Kaoru Mitoma, Ben White
Kauro Mitoma dribbling past Ben White in 2022 / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Kauro Mitoma started the season strongly, registering one goal and three assists in the first month of Premier League action. However, Mitoma has only added two assists to his goal involvement tally since the start of October.

With this being said, Mitoma will be eager to restart netting goals for Brighton, and his duels with Ben White will be interesting. The right-back has often been criticised for his poor one-v-one ability, and with Mitoma having a thesis on dribbling, the Japanese international will be a difficult opponent for White.

White's technical flaws will almost certainly be exploited by Mitoma when the two meet on Sunday afternoon. Mitoma currently ranks third in Europe's 'top 5 leagues' for carries into the penalty area (53) and third in the Premier League for successful take-ons (33). The winger's quick feet and agility will prove difficult for White, especially considering his tendencies to be flat-footed and have poor bodyweight distribution in these scenarios.

In Arsenal's 3-0 defeat to Brighton last season, Mitoma created a goal-scoring opportunity after taking on White. After Levi Colwill plays a long ball, White settles with the idea that Mitoma will win the ball first, and makes no immediate pressure to win the ball back. Instead, he drops deep and becomes flat-footed, which leaves Mitoma with two directions to attack. The winger uses this to his advantage, and forces White to panic as he fakes a cross before he cuts inside and plays an enticing ball into the box.

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