Brighton are somewhat having a mixed season. After a spell of five wins in eight games, the Seagulls have now lost three on the bounce and face the prospect of making it four in a row in the top flight for the first time since 1982-83.
The Seagulls sit 13th after 18 games this season, but now they enjoy a nine-point cushion to the bottom three and are already more than halfway to the magic 40-point mark. This is good, but for only a team trying to avoid relegation.
Although to be fair, they have gotten enough points so far to ensure that such a loss of form is not seriously damaging. Hughton will know that they cannot afford allow this to go on too long despite their next five league matches all coming against teams currently above them in the table.
Brighton Team News
Shane Duffy is back available after missing out through suspension, but they will be without Lewis Dunk for the same reason following his red card against Bournemouth at the weekend.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jose Izquierdo are both close to returning from injury, but this match is likely to come too soon for them, while Glenn Murray will be hopeful of a recall.
Arsenal have a chance to go fourth temporarily on Boxing day if they defeat Brighton at the Amex stadium. The Gunners will be seeking to keep up the pressure on teams above them by getting maximum points from Brighton.
Emery’s boys produced a hard fought 3-1 triumph over Burnley on Saturday to take them level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea, who then suffered a shock home defeat to Leicester City later in the day.
Chelsea are due to play again Arsenal on Wednesday again, which means that a victory for the Gunners would leave them in the Champions League spots for a few hours at least.
Arsenal Team News
Arsenal are bedevilled by some key injuries and Unai Emery will have serious worry in replacing some of these players.
Hector Bellerin (calf), Rob Holding (knee), Emile Smith Rowe (hip), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (ankle), Danny Welbeck (ankle) are all injured and wont be playing in this match.
Laurent Koscielny is expected to come back into the side along with the likes of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Lucas Torreira and Alex Iwobi.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are due to start up front with Mesut Ozil pulling strings in the midfield position.
Head To Head
Brighton have only won three times against Arsenal in 17 previous meetings, with the Gunners coming out on top 12 times.
Brighton 1 – 2 Arsenal