Brighton boss Graham Potter admitted he is wary of facing the unknown when his side travel to Arsenal on Thursday night.
Freddie Ljungberg will be in charge of the Gunners for the first time at home after stepping in as caretaker following the sacking of Unai Emery on Friday, having taken a point from his first match – a 2-2 draw at Norwich on Sunday.
And the changes at the Emirates have made it harder for Potter to draw up his own plans for Thursday’s match.
“Arsenal are going through a transition after losing Mr (Arsene) Wenger, who had been there for over 20 years, and results haven’t gone as they would’ve liked with their previous coach,” Potter said.
“But they’re still a top club with high-quality footballers and they will be looking for a positive reaction. Freddie Ljungberg is in charge and knows the game well, so we’re expecting another difficult contest.
“He has just had one game at Norwich, and will be looking to change some things again. It’s not easy to second guess that, so we just need to focus on ourselves and make sure we’re at the level we need to be to get a result at a top football club.”
Though Emery struggled to find the right formula, Potter is aware that Arsenal possess some of the best attacking players in the Premier League.
It promises to be another stern examination of the Brighton defence after Saturday’s trip to Anfield, but given his side threatened a late equaliser against 10-man Liverpool in a 2-1 defeat, Potter has something to be build on.
“They’ve got wonderful attacking players with pace and creativity, including (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, (Alexandre) Lacazette and (Mesut) Ozil,” he said.
“They have somebody that in one pass can kill you, and then you’ve got the other two that can stretch the defenders. Arsenal teams have always had great creativity and the ability to build from the back and create chances that way.
“They’ve got some top players and we need to be respectful of that. But we want to be ourselves and take what we did well from the Liverpool match into this game.”
Though Solly March has been ruled out for a number of weeks with a groin problem, Potter revealed Bernardo is fit again, and the manager is grateful to having virtually a full squad available as the festive period approaches.
“Overall it’s good to have a largely fit squad, especially when you’ve got a lot of games coming up in a very busy period,” he said.
“The challenge is to keep everyone happy because they all want to play, and that’s normal. That’s what happens in football clubs, and my job is to pick the right team and do our best.”
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