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Brighton logo
Premier League | Gameweek 32
Apr 6, 2024 at 5.30pm UK
The American Express Community Stadium
Arsenal logo

Brighton
0 - 3
Arsenal


Balepa (76')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Saka (33' pen.), Havertz (62'), Trossard (86')
Saliba (79'), White (90+5')

Why Danny Welbeck could end home goal drought against former club Arsenal

Why Danny Welbeck could end home goal drought against former club Arsenal
© Reuters
Sports Mole analyses why Arsenal should be wary of former striker Danny Welbeck when they reunite with their former striker against Brighton & Hove Albion.

A handful of esteemed players will be squaring up to erstwhile teammates when Brighton & Hove Albion square off with Arsenal at the Amex Stadium in Saturday's Premier League clash, most notably two key troops on the visitors' end.

By coming to an accord with their notoriously tough negotiators from the south, Mikel Arteta's side added Ben White and Leandro Trossard to his ranks and has overseen the development of both men into key figures in the Gunners XI.

In fact, White - whose transition from centre-back to right-back has gone about as smoothly as it could - is in line to make his 100th top-flight appearance for Arsenal at his old stomping ground, unless Arteta decides to rest him with Bayern Munich on the horizon.

Trossard - whose departure from the Seagulls was more acrimonious - seemingly has a better shot of lining up from the off against his former employers, with Bukayo Saka an injury doubt and Gabriel Martinelli's foot issue being carefully managed.

On the other end, however, Danny Welbeck - a man who shared an Emirates dressing room with Gunners boss Arteta for several years - is bidding to thwart the visitors' bid to regain top spot in the Premier League table, and history is on the 33-year-old's side.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Danny Welbeck celebrates scoring their first goal with Jan Paul van Hecke on March 14, 2024© Reuters

Welbeck's affinity for goals against Arsenal

With rumoured Arsenal target Evan Ferguson nursing an ankle injury, Welbeck - who was only brought off the bench towards the end of Brighton's frustrating midweek draw at Brentford - should be reinstated to the first XI in Saturday evening's battle.

Starts against Arsenal usually spell success for the former England international, who has netted in four of his last five games against the Gunners when making the first XI, both for Brighton and Manchester United.

Before crossing the Old Trafford-Emirates divide in 2014, Welbeck scored in both of the Red Devils' meetings with Arsenal in the 2011-12 season, including the historic 8-2 demolition at the Theatre of Dreams.

The final gameweek of the 2019-20 season, when the 33-year-old was donning the Watford colours, also saw Welbeck strike and provide an assist, but he could not save the Hornets from relegation in a 3-2 loss.

Since arriving at the Amex, the ex-Arsenal attacker has seen his Premier League minutes limited against his old team - only getting 11 minutes off the bench in Arsenal's 2-0 win in December - but he started and scored in last season's Emirates EFL Cup triumph.

Can Welbeck break Arsenal's resilience on the road?

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on April 3, 2024© Reuters

Without Welbeck in their first XI, Brighton fired 24 shots on the Brentford goal without success in midweek, setting a new unwanted record for their most attempts in a Premier League away game without finding the back of the net.

That goalmouth frustration came after Welbeck had drawn first blood against current leaders Liverpool with a scintillating early strike - his sixth goal contribution from his last 11 matches in the top flight, despite being in and out of Roberto De Zerbi's first XI.

However, the attacker's only home involvements in that time have been assists - albeit against London clubs in Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur - and it has been 13 games since Welbeck last scored a Premier League goal at the Amex.

An Arsenal side seeking a fifth top-flight away clean sheet in a row - which would equal an all-time club record - should be encouraged by Welbeck's lack of recent punch on the South Coast, especially with the formidable William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes more than capable of going toe-to-toe with him physically.

Welbeck nevertheless ranks in the 91st percentile for shot-creating actions against other forwards in the big five leagues - an average of just under four per game - and given his penchant to strike against the Gunners, the end of the home drought could be nigh.

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How you voted: Brighton vs Arsenal

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Draw
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Arsenal
74.2%
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on April 3, 2024
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38287396346291
2Arsenal38285591296289
3Liverpool382410486414582
4Aston Villa382081076611568
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs382061274611366
6Chelsea381891177631463
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381861485622360
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd38186145758-160
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham381410146074-1452
10Crystal Palace381310155758-149
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton381212145562-748
12Bournemouth38139165467-1348
13Fulham38138175561-647
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38137185065-1546
15Everton38139164051-1140
16Brentford38109195665-939
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest3899204967-1832
RLuton TownLuton3868245285-3326
RBurnley3859244178-3724
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd38372835104-6916


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