Graham Potter makes this Yves Bissouma and Aaron Connolly declaration ahead of Arsenal showdown

One of Brighton and Hove Albion's most impressive performers before the lockdown was midfielder Yves Bissouma.

Friday, 19th June 2020, 1:28 pm

The Mali international has struggled to be a regular in the first team this season but proved his value to the squad with impressive displays at Sheffield United and Wolves.

During the hard-fought stalemate at Molineux, Bissouma won possession 16 times (six more than anyone else), made as many tackles (five) as anyone else and had more shots than any other Albion player (three).

Potter hopes the 23-year-old will continue his good form and provide stiff competition for fit again Dale Stephens - who was Potter's preferred choice to play alongside central midfielder Davy Propper in the early part of the season.

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter

Brighton resume their campaign against Arsenal at the Amex on Saturday and with nine matches to cram into five weeks, Potter made it clear the entire squad must be ready to contribute.

"I think you can see his (Bissouma's) quality," said Potter. "He has been working on his consistency because I think once we get that we have got a really good player.

"But, again, he is one of the guys who is working really well. We will have to manage his game time and his minutes. At the same time he is one I am definitely sure will help us over the next nine matches. He has come back in a good way.

"His best actions are of a really high level. He is really impressive. He has to work on his consistency. I suppose as midfield player it is probably a bit more important to be consistent than maybe a wide player, you could argue.

Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma was man of the match at Wolves

"But he is also a young player as well and he is adapting to the club, the country the league, to us. He missed the start of the season from an injury from last season so it hasn’t been straightforward for Yves.

"But we are happy with him."

Another player determined to make an impact in the season finale is striker Aaron Connolly. Connolly was excellent when Brighton beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates last December and is pushing hard for a starting role this Saturday.

The Ireland international, who scored twice against Spurs on his first Premier League start last October, has now fully recovered from knee and ankle injuries and has impressed the management in training.

Aaron Connolly impressed at Arsenal last December

"He has come back well and worked hard after the break," Potter added. "The physios have done a really good on him.

"He is looking good, he is looking fit and strong and sharp and I think he can definitely help us over nine matches.

"He is a young player and a sprinter so you have to be careful with his recovery times. I think he will be ready to help us that is for sure.

"The effort has been really good and everyone is ready to play. There will be guys who have changed their situation. Sometimes a break and time to reflect, a new start can help. The pleasing thing is that everyone is fit and everyone looks like they are ready to help the team."

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