Mikel Arteta laments Xhaka injury blow for Arsenal
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Brighton couldn’t resist the opportunity to gently mock Arsenal ahead of the Premier League fixture between the two sides this weekend. The Seagulls have got off to a superb start to the season and Graham Potter’s side find themselves sitting pretty in sixth place in the table.
The Gunners, meanwhile, lost their first three games, which saw the pressure mounting on manager Mikel Arteta.
But since then they have won three in a row, including a famous 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Tottenham last weekend, and will be full of confidence heading to the AMEX.
Brighton and Arsenal have been involved in some fascinating encounters since the South Coast outfit won promotion to the top tier in 2017.
But the most memorable was no doubt in June 2020, when Seagulls forward Neal Maupay scored a dramatic 95th minute winner.
That fixture was the last time French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi played for Arsenal, and he was banished from the first-team by Arteta after he grabbed Maupay’s throat following the full-time whistle.
On Thursday, Brighton’s social media team took a trip down memory lane by referencing that moment in a tweet.
They posted: “Arsenal at home is next”, and included a picture of Maupay mimicking a crying face with a broad smile on his lips.
It was clearly a not-so-subtle dig at Guendouzi and the Gunners, and there was a mixed reaction to the image.
One Twitter user wrote: “I liked Brighton before this post, get lost!!!”, while another added: “You’re a mid-table club, stop trying to force a rivalry!”
Others saw the funny side, however, with one user replying: “Hahaha I’m a Spurs fan,” while another said: “And you haven’t seen Guendouzi since that fateful day.”
Speaking ahead of the game, Arteta was left under no illusions over how difficult it will be for Arsenal to pick up another three points.
“It will be a really difficult game,” he said. “They’ve been on a really good run. We know the importance of it.”
He also spoke on Granit Xhaka’s recent injury, adding: “Obviously it’s really bad news personally for Granit. He’s a strong man he will use this time to focus on other things and I’m sure he will be back in the right place when he’s back.
“He will be missed but other players have to step in. He probably escaped an even worse injury because that action for a cruciate injury is a tricky one.
“Hopefully, he can escape surgery as well.”
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