Straight-talking pundit Paul Merson has told the Daily Star that he can’t see Arsenal losing their FA Cup clash at Brighton, citing the Amex Stadium as too nice.
What was intriguing about their performance against the reigning Premier League champions was the evidence of balance between defence and attack, helped by their impressive pressing off the ball.
Arsene Wenger may be looking for similar at the Amex, but the likelihood is that it will be the North Londoners who will dominate the ball and pose the more attacking threat.
Brighton have struggled so far this season in the Championship, though the introduction of Chris Hughton as boss has seen the Seagulls become more competitive over the past couple of weeks.
The FA Cup is famous worldwide for its so-called magic and the possibility of shock results – illustrated by Cambridge United holding Manchester United to a 0-0 draw on Friday night and the victories of Bradford City and Middlesbrough over Chelsea and Manchester City respectively on Saturday.
However, Paul Merson feels Brighton’s fabulous new Amex stadium will only benefit Wenger’s side as he backs the North Londoners to reach round five.
“You almost need gale-force winds and driving snow for some of the teams marked as capable of pulling off an upset to pull off a real shock,” he told the Daily Star.
“I mean, I can’t see Brighton beating Arsenal tomorrow afternoon, can you? Arsene Wenger and his team won’t go there thinking, ‘This is horrible’.”
“I’ve been to the Amex Stadium. It’s too nice. I hope it isn’t an easy win for Arsenal, but I really can’t see them losing.”