Brighton & Hove Albion-Arsenal Preview
Mikel Arteta is delighted with the form Joe Willock has shown during his loan at Newcastle United, and suggested the midfielder he has a future at Arsenal.
Willock has been in fine form for Newcastle, becoming the youngest player in Premier League history to score in six consecutive appearances after he headed in the only goal in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United in midweek.
Those exploits mean he is the joint-top scorer in the division since the return from the March international break, alongside Chris Wood, Mason Greenwood, Matheus Pereira and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Newcastle are reportedly looking to make the move permanent, with a £20million fee mooted, but Arteta seems eager to keep hold of the youngster.
"I'm really happy that things have gone so well for him because of the potential that he has. It was great for him to go away and have a different experience. He has grabbed that opportunity in a really positive and remarkable way," Arteta said ahead of Arsenal's final game of the season, against Brighton and Hove Albion.
"He will be back with us, we will have those conversations with him and plan the next step then."
Willock's immediate future may well depend on whether or not Arsenal scrape into the Europa Conference League. The Gunners are not out of the running, with a win potentially enough to secure European football for next season if results elsewhere go their way.
Brighton head into Sunday's match on the back of a thrilling comeback win over Manchester City. Pep Guardiola seemed unhappy with Brighton's coaching staff after the game, and Graham Potter explained: "The first goal, I was a bit emotional and it wasn't my finest hour, I have to apologise for that.
"It wasn't meant with any intent or anything against anybody, it was an emotional response from me but it wasn't a good one."
Arsenal - Nicolas Pepe
Nicolas Pepe is looking to score in three consecutive games in all competitions for the first time in his Arsenal career. Only Alexandre Lacazette (20) has been directly involved in more goals for the Gunners than the Ivorian this term (19 - 14 goals, five assists).
Brighton and Hove Albion - Leandro Trossard
Having replaced the injured Danny Welbeck, Leandro Trossard inspired Brighton's comeback with their first goal against City. It was his fifth league goal of the season, though four of them have come at home.
- No player has more Premier League assists in 2021 than Brighton's Pascal Gross (six), while only Mesut Ozil (54) and Leroy Sane (28) have more Premier League assists among German players than Gross (23) in the history of the competition.
- Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored in the final Premier League game in each of the last three campaigns. The last Arsenal player to score in their last league match in four consecutive campaigns was Alan Smith between 1988-89 and 1991-92. When finishing a Premier League season at home, Arsenal have won each of their last 11 matches, with their last defeat coming in 1992-93 at the hands of Tottenham (1-3).
- Arsenal have taken just 25 points from their 18 Premier League home games this season (W7 D4 L7). If they fail to win here, it will be their lowest ever home points total in a Premier League campaign (currently 27 in 1994-95), while they last won fewer across a single campaign in 1912-13 (11).
- Arsenal are looking to complete their first league double over Brighton since the 1980-81 campaign. Indeed, the Gunners have won just two of their seven meetings with Brighton since the Seagulls were promoted to the Premier League (D2 L3).
Updated May 21, 2021