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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3. Gabriel Jesus (& Kai Havertz) v Lewis Dunk

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus
Arsenal FC v RC Lens: Group B - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Nigel French/Allstar/GettyImages

The third and final key battle at the Emirates on Sunday will be Lewis Dunk's ability to limit Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz. Despite Jesus sustaining an injury early in the campaign, and Havertz's Arsenal career starting slowly, the pair may have started to click in the final third.

Gabriel Jesus has proved again that he is the perfect facilitator for fellow Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli and academy star Saka. Since Jesus joined the Gunners from title rivals, Manchester City, the two wingers' output has increased drastically. The Brazilian has a tendency to drop deep and connect play and is elite at turning on the ball before progressively passing or carrying.

Havertz also benefits from Jesus' playstyle, as the summer signing can exploit the space left by the striker. Despite building up play well himself, Havertz has improved at the ability to make late runs into the vacated space to take a shot. An example of this was demonstrated in Arsenal's 4-3 win over Luton, when Jesus attracted the two Luton centre-backs before Kai Havertz attacked the opened space and lobbed it over the goalkeeper.

Dunk's decision-making in this match will be key, and the wrong movement or decision could be proven costly if Havertz is clinical with his chances. Jesus' dribbling and chance creation can also be deadly, and Dunk will have to get it spot on in north London this weekend.

After a defeat to Aston Villa, Arsenal will be determined to get back to winning ways against Brighton so they can regain top spot in the league. Brighton were held to a draw against Burnley last weekend, and De Zerbi will also want to replicate his midweek form in north London.