Arsenal will play their second away game in just 4 days as they travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Gunners had a night to forget on Wednesday at Manchester City – Mikel Arteta’s return to the club where he spent over 3 years as assistant manager ending in a 3-0 loss.
The Arsenal nightmare started early on, with Granit Xhaka succumbing to injury and having to depart the Etihad Stadium on a stretcher.
The Switzerland international was swiftly followed down the tunnel by January signing Pablo Mari, who too had to be withdrawn after suffering ligament damage in his ankle.
Both Xhaka and Mari will miss the trip to the Amex Stadium, with the latter expected to be out for the remainder of the season.
Arsenal have lost Pablo Mari for rest of season with serious ankle ligament/tendon injury suffered in defeat at Man City, may need surgery. Granit Xhaka also picked up an ankle problem but may return before campaign ends. Rob Holding in contention for Brighton @TheAthleticUK #AFC
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) June 18, 2020
Arteta was forced to introduce David Luiz as things went from bad to worse for Arsenal – the Brazilian committing an error which led to City’s opening goal, before conceding a penalty and being shown the red card by referee Anthony Taylor.
Luiz’s dismissal earnt him a two-match ban, and so he won’t feature against Brighton – the summer signing has just 14 days remaining on his Gunners contract, with Arsenal unlikely to exercise their 12-month option.
Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers are also doubts for the game, leaving Mikel Arteta with a real defensive conundrum.
Mesut Ozil was omitted from the matchday squad for the game on Wednesday, with Arteta citing ‘tactical reasons’.
For Brighton, they’ll be hoping to take advantage of a threadbare Arsenal back line, with the club just 2 points above the Premier League relegation zone.
The run-in represents a mixed bag for Albion, who have games against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City to come, but will also square off against Norwich, Southampton and Newcastle before the season is out.
Seagulls boss Graham Potter has a much fresher squad to pick from, with the only concern coming in the form of winger Jose Izquierdo, who is expected to miss out with a knee problem.
Young duo Alexis Mac Allister and Tariq Lamptey are pushing for inclusion, with Lamptey yet to make his Premier League bow for Brighton since signing from Chelsea in the summer.
Arsenal still have designs on a European finish and will want to bounce back after Wednesday’s horror show – Brighton are craving the points to navigate clear of the Premier League trapdoor.
Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal at the Amex Stadium is a 3pm kick off on Saturday, June 20.