A night of karaoke and beer/rum has essentially obliterated my Sunday morning, so I think I’ll keep today’s pre match blog rather short, because from when I’m typing now kick off is about two hours away and the team news will be put by the time I’ve fried up my bacon and egg as the recovery meal of champions.

Today is a game in which we need to win not for the league campaign, but more for the match in midweek, because the season has now been turned on its head and the Europa League is now the single biggest driving force in our 2017/2018 season. Today is about trying to convince anybody that we are a football team that isn’t a complete car crash but I tell you what, I think this is going to be bloody hard today, because I think Brighton will smell blood.

They’ll know that this Arsenal team is ok it’s knees confidence-wise and they’ll be ready to pounce and drive the knife in further to our season. I said in midweek that if Hughton has any brains he’ll be charging his team with a fast start and I think the first 15 minutes will determine what sort of afternoon we’re going to get. Brighton will know that Arsenal are appalling away from home and they’ll know that if you get the first goal against this team they’ll be on their knees confidence-wise, so my hopes for today’s game is that the team ride the opening exchanges, then grow into the match as it plays through.

That’s the only way I see us getting anything from this game. We have to build back the confidence step-by-step and if that means break down the match into 15 minute segments then we’ll need to do just that.

Team wise I hope he rotates with Thursday in mind, but I’m not sure who he’s going to rotate. Cech and Auba will play because they won’t play in midweek. I’d rotate out Koscielny because of his dodgy Achilles, but without Nacho we can’t put Holding and Chambers together in a two or a three so I’d have Mustafi in. I’d give Bellerin a rest for Nelson, but that’s only if we’re going for three at the back and with Koscielny and Monreal out of my team then that means a back three. Of course if Arsène hadn’t completely frozen out Big Per he’d have been an option, but we are where we are, so the two young centre half’s would be in my team for today.

Midfield should be Elneny and Maitland-Niles because, quite frankly, we need Xhaka and Ramsey in midweek. I’d also have Mkhi because he needs more games in an Arsenal shirt and Özil because he’s had a few weeks off recently anyway. Then it’s a decision between Welbeck and Iwobi, or maybe even Jack, but right now now of those players are doing it with any consistency so I’m not sure it makes a blind bit of difference.

I do fear for the team if we go one down today. Let’s just hope we can get a morale boosting result.

Catch you all tomorrow.