Graham Potter could spring Brighton lineup surprise for Arsenal and why Alexis Mac Allister may benefit

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter believes the squad's two recent arrivals will be key as they prepare for nine Premier League matches in five weeks

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 12:50 pm

Albion, who have not played competitively since their 0-0 draw at Wolves on March 7, will resume their season against Arsenal at the Amex Stadium this Saturday.

Graham Potter's men are two points above the relegation places and have a tough final stretch of the season, including matches against Leicester, Man United, Man City and Liverpool.

Other than long-term knee injury victim José Izquierdo, Brighton have a fully fit squad to choose from.

Alexis Mac Allister could well be a key man for Brighton in the final nine matches

January arrivals Alexis Mac Allister and Tariq Lamptey, 19, are both pushing hard to be involved in the match day squads and Potter believes the talented young duo will have roles to play in the final nine matches.

Mac Allister, 21, made an encouraging 13 minute cameo at Wolves after Brighton paid a reported £500k to cut short his season-long loan at Bocca Juniors. Lamptey however is yet to make a first team outing since joining from Chelsea for £3m on transfer deadline day.

"Alexis had a disappointing time here because he came in the middle of 100 day rain." said Potter. "It was completely different and he was adapting to the climate and the country but he’s been really really good, really professional.

"He will be frustrated with the lockdown because it’s a chance to play football. He’s been brilliant, his attitude has been great and he is fighting to play. I'm sure we will be using him over the next nine that matches.

Tariq Lamptey is pushing for a first team start

"The same with Tariq, again a young player adapting to us and the league but he’s got attributes that I’m pretty sure that we can use over those nine matches."

Potter praised the efforts and the quality his players have shown in training but expects the gruelling fixture schedule to test his squad to the limit.

‘’It’s five weeks, nine matches," said Potter. "Nine Premier League matches from a long lay off so the realities of playing 11 players for every single minute of every game is going to be quite difficult for lots of reasons.

"We are fortunate that we have got a fully fit squad. We have got a good squad, players that want to play, so the challenge for them is to be ready from the start whether it’s the last 20 minutes or the last 30 minutes, whatever the role is.

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter

"I am pretty sure we will use all the players because the competition will mean we will have to.’'

Avoiding the drop will not be easy for Brighton. They showed fighting spirit just before the lockdown to secure valuable away draws at Wolves, Sheffield and West Ham. The fact remains however that they are yet to record a win in 2020 and they have a seriously tough run-in.

‘’We know that," said Potter. "We know the responsibility and we know the challenge. Premier League games are so tough.

"We have to play well, we have to fight, we have to do our best, we have to focus on the things we can control, we have to just play football as well as we can and if we can do that I think

"We can get the job done, but we know it’s a big challenge and a big fight ahead of us.''

Arsenal are due to face Manchester City on Wednesday ahead of the Saturday showdown at the Amex. It will give the Gunners vital experience of playing a Premier League match behind closed doors but also Mikel Arteta's team will have limited time to recovery for Brighton.

“I think you can look at it both ways," said Potter. "You can get a look but they’re playing against Manchester City, often teams do slightly different things against Manchester City than they would against us.

"They’re into the competition early which is maybe an advantage. It’s a disadvantage because they are having to play quickly – Manchester City and then us – so it boils down ultimately to whatever advantage or disadvantage.

"You have to play well yourself, control what you can do, do the best you can because otherwise it doesn’t matter, it makes no difference.”

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