Aussie duo key to Brighton's EPL battle

Ian McCullough
Aaron Mooy (r) is looking to produce another big performance for Brighton against Arsenal on Sunday

Brighton's Australian duo of Mat Ryan and Aaron Mooy return to EPL action early on Sunday (AEDT) in what is shaping up as a vital match in the club's bid to fight off relegation.

After a bright start to the season, Brighton have tailed off since Christmas and remain the only team in the division not to register a victory in 2020 and sit in 15th spot just two points clear of third-bottom Bournemouth.

The Seagulls host Arsenal, who were beaten by Manchester City on Wednesday, and are looking to maintain their four-match unbeaten run against the Gunners which included a 2-1 success at The Emirates Stadium in December.

Mooy was outstanding in that game, topping the stats charts for his side with the most dribbles, passes and tackles before setting up the winning goal for Neal Maupay, to seal a first-ever away win over Arsenal by a Brighton side.

Socceroos stopper Ryan has been an ever-present between the sticks this season and been a key factor in the club preserving their top-flight status since his arrival in 2017.

Despite that fine win over Arsenal on December 5, manager Graham Potter admits restarting the season almost from scratch renders any previous result meaningless.

"Unfortunately you don't get anything in football for what happened three months ago," Potter said.

"You have to start again and try and play as well, you have to do a lot of things right to beat a team I think is much-improved under Mikel Arteta.

"It's a tough game, but if you can tell me a game in the Premier League that isn't, maybe we could play that one instead."

With matches against high-flying Leicester and Manchester United to come, avoiding defeat to Arsenal is vital for Brighton if they are to create some breathing space at the bottom.

A full program of fixtures returns for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak in March and will kick off early on Saturday (AEST) morning when cellar-dwelling Norwich host Southampton at Carrow Road.

That will be followed by a mouth-watering clash between Manchester United and Jose Mourinho's Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Saturday is headlined by West Ham, who sit outside the relegation zone on goal difference, taking on Champions League hopefuls Wolves at the Olympic Stadium.

Runaway league leaders Liverpool can move three points closer to a first title in 30 years when they face Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park.

The Toffees haven't beaten Liverpool in 10 years but can at least avoid the ignominy of seeing their bitter foes win the league on their home ground.

Premier League fixtures - (All times AEST)

Saturday 0300 - Norwich v Southampton

Saturday 0515 - Tottenham v Manchester United

Saturday 2130 - Watford v Leicester City

Sunday 0000 - Brighton v Arsenal

Sunday 0230 - West Ham v Wolves

Sunday 0545 - Bournemouth v Crystal Palace

Sunday 2300 - Newcastle v Sheffield United

Monday 0115 - Aston Villa v Chelsea

Monday 0400 - Everton v Liverpool

Tuesday 0500 - Manchester City v Burnley