Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round
Venue: Amex Stadium – Sunday January 25 – 16:00
Match odds: Brighton & Hove Albion 13/2 – Draw 7/2 – Arsenal 4/9
FA Cup holders Arsenal face a short trip to Brighton & Hove Albion in the fourth round as they look to continue the defence of their title.
These two sides met at the same stage of this competition in the 2012/13 season and produced an entertaining affair in which Arsenal triumphed as 3-2 winners on the day, thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and a late Theo Walcott strike after Ashley Barnes and Leonardo Ulloa had pegged the visitors back twice.
Brighton were flying high in the Championship last time around, but they aren’t faring so well this season as they sit in 19th position despite three wins from their last four.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s home record in all competitions: Played 15 – Won 4 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5
Arsenal meanwhile, will be full of confidence after their defensive masterclass at Manchester City which resulted in a famous 2-0 victory and it extended their run of consecutive clean sheets to three games in all competitions.
The Gunners arrive on the South Coast as heavy favourites to progress to round five, but the magic of the FA Cup means that nothing is ever certain and the Seagulls won’t allow them to take it easy.
Arsenal’s away record in all competitions: Played 16 – Won 7 – Drawn 4 – Lost 5
Wenger must ensure he fields a strong side to stay in the competition that many will argue represents his best opportunity of winning a trophy again in 2015.
Brighton and Arsenal have faced one another 14 times before, with the Gunners coming out on top ten times, and Brighton just twice, although it’s worth noting that both of Brighton’s wins came at home, so that’s the one positive they can take into this tie.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/L/W
Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/L/W/W/W
Key stat: Brighton have never beaten Arsenal in an FA Cup tie in four attempts.
Key player: Santi Cazorla – The midfield playmaker has been instrumental in the last few weeks and if he features at the Amex Stadium then he could be the difference.
Brighton vs. Arsenal Prediction: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Arsenal