02 Mar Brighton boss Chris Hughton insists it is worst time to play Arsenal
Chris Hughton fears Brighton may be taking on Arsenal at the worst possible time as the Gunners look to avenge two damaging defeats at the hands of Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger’s side lost 3-0 in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday before suffering defeat by the same scoreline when City visited the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Thursday evening.
That follows on from a poor display in a home defeat to Swedish side Ostersund in the Europa League, with Arsenal now having lost seven of the 13 games they have played in all competitions since the turn of the year.
They travel to the south coast on Sunday to take on a Brighton side who are enjoying a fine spell. Seagulls boss Hughton has been nominated for Premier League manager of the month having not lost a league game since January 20.
Meanwhile, Glenn Murray and Pascal Gross join the likes of Mohamed Salah, Mousa Dembele and Sergio Aguero in being up for the player of the month accolade.
Despite the contrasting emotions surrounding the two clubs at present, Hughton is still wary of what Arsenal are capable of doing when they get things right.
“I think most managers sitting here would say the say, when you are playing against a team with the stature of Arsenal who are on the back of back-to-back defeats, it doesn’t happen often and what they want is a reaction,” he said.
“We have to take care of our business but most would say it is the worst time to play them, they will want a reaction.”
Brighton have conceded two fewer goals than their weekend visitors in the league this season but Hughton feels a home win would still be seen as an upset.
“I think for most people it would be, irrespective of everything we will still be underdogs,” he said.
“You can’t underestimate the quality they have got, it has been a difficult last two games but they have been playing a team playing as good a football as we have seen in this country for a long time.”
Wenger’s position as Arsenal boss has come under fresh scrutiny following the two defeats but, for Hughton, he is still the right man for the job after 21 years in charge.
“He is an outstanding manager, has been and still is,” he added.
“There is no-one with more experience and I have absolute respect for what he has done and the ability he still has.
“Sympathy is probably the wrong word. Arsene is a manager who has been around for so long and gone through so many periods. You can’t be a manager of that long without having difficult periods.
“The majority of time he has been there, there have been pluses. There isn’t anyone with more experience to handle difficult times than Arsene and he will make sure he wants to get things right and get back to winning ways.”