Morning all.

It’s game day. Brighton v Arsenal at 5-30pm.

Pre match chat from the manager:

  • Defender Takehiro Tomiyasu is fit and could feature tonight having returned to training, Arteta confirmed: “He is getting closer and closer so he’s available.”

  • Midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is not quite ready for action, but has made “big steps”, Arteta explained. “He took part in some training sessions and looked good. We’re hoping to have him back soon.”

  • No comment when it came to talking about the club’s interest in Mykhaylo Mudryk as Mikel Arteta said he wouldn’t talk about players at other clubs.

Brighton. I’ve no idea what to expect from them as I’m a bit like Ben White as in I don’t watch football these days unless it’s Arsenal. They must be doing well because they’re sitting just a few points off of the top four. They held Newcastle Utd to a draw earlier in the season, beat Man Utd, thrashed Chelsea and drew with Liverpool, but, Man City, Brentford, Aston Villa and Tottenham have beaten Brighton.

Having beaten Arsenal in the League Cup earlier in the season, Charlton put an end to their run by them dumping them out of the competition on penalties last week. Since though, they beat Southampton 3-1 on the road.

Brighton are without five players for today’s fixture. Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister, Jakub Moder, Danny Welbeck and Adam Webster. Gosh, that is a missing list to not envy. Arsenal are of course without Gabriel Jesus and ESR.

Roberto De Zerbi on Arsenal:

I am not surprised [by Arsenal’s season], because I know Arteta, I know the Arsenal players, they play fantastic football. But I have to only think about my team. I must admit that in the Carabao Cup that we were lucky to win because Arsenal played well but we are improving and we have to stay focused on this improvement. The style of play of Arsenal is fantastic, no? The players know very well what they have to do on the pitch. And they think only one way – with the ball and without the ball. And they have very, very good players.

Having read what Mikel Arteta had to say about Brighton, I think it’s fair to say that both managers know this is going to be a tough fixture for their respective teams. Our record against Brighton hasn’t been that good of late but that was when Graham Potter was at the club. De Zerbi though seems to have kept calm and carry on in the same way as his predecessor did and in the main, it’s working.

A very different starting eleven to the one De Zerbi and his players defeated in the League Cup will turn out at the Amex Stadium later today. As said, barring Gabriel Jesus and ESR, Mikel Arteta has a full squad to select from.

I’m looking forward to this one because of recent history. A bit like last season when we lost a few fixtures we shouldn’t have, this is one of them. We’ve already overcome Crystal Palace and Brentford, now we have the opportunity to add Brighton to the list. I still can’t believe they took four points off of us last season.

2022 comes to an end today, another year of talking about Arsenal gone by and it’s been mixed. The first half of the year was rather disappointing but the second has been superb. From the transfer window to performances on the pitch, it’s been positive. Arsenal fans are positive, The Emirates Stadium is rocking and 2023 looks like it could be a good one for Mikel Arteta and his players.

I hope 2023 is a good year for all who read/comment each day and thank you for keeping Highbury House ticking over. A big thank you to Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal board for the changes at the club and giving fans a reason to believe again.

Enjoy the game guys, let’s hope Arsenal end the year on a high.