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Former Arsenal man wants Gunners to replicate Manchester City performance at Brighton

PUBLISHED: 07:15 23 January 2015

Arsenal's Perry Groves battles for the ball with Leeds United's Chris Fairclough (c) and Chris Whyte (r)

Arsenal's Perry Groves battles for the ball with Leeds United's Chris Fairclough (c) and Chris Whyte (r)

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Perry Groves has urged Arsenal to take their ‘Manchester City form’ to the south coast for their big FA Cup fourth round clash with Brighton on Sunday.

The ex-Gunner – like many pundits and fans – was hugely impressed with his former club’s 2-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium last weekend. Some even dubbed it Arsenal’s best performance for a decade.

But Groves says it means nothing unless they perform in key games again and again and again…

“First things first, Arsene Wenger will take this game very seriously, I don’t doubt that at all,” said Groves.

“Last weekend’s result in Manchester was special. The performance was something else, it really was.

“But it has to be consistent – we need to see that level again many times in the future to challenge Chelsea and Manchester City at the very top. And as the cup holders we need to see another strong performance at Brighton.”

But Groves said the team had hinted at that kind of display earlier in the season.

“We certainly saw a very similar performance in our victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League – that is where the seeds of that performance at City were sown,” added Groves, who won title medals with Arsenal in 1989 and 1991.

“In both matches we played a very disciplined 4-1-4-1 formation – and the key word there is disciplined.

“Full-backs weren’t bombing forward, midfielders kept their positions and we broke intelligently. With the pace that Arsenal have in that squad – and there is tons of pace – we can seriously affect games by playing on the break.

“In many ways – with that pace – we can invite teams to attack us and then absolutely destroy them on the break.

“But it is all about keeping that discipline first – this side is maybe beginning to understand that they do NOT have to score the next goal when they are already winning.”

Looking ahead to Brighton on Sunday, Groves believes it could be a game that is very easy on the eye.

“The Amex Stadium is very nice, it has an excellent playing surface and we know that Chris Hughton likes his teams to play good, passing football on the floor.

“And we have players coming back who I expect to get a run-out. Mesut Ozil is still not 100 per cent and was only brought on when were 3-0 up against Stoke earlier this month.

“But he could play a big part this weekend, as could Theo Walcott who, after such a long lay-off, needs time on the pitch. And they know that they have to perform as there is big competition in that squad now.”

Arsenal won 3-2 at Brighton at the same stage of the competition two years ago – and back in 1988 Groves netted the winner in a 2-1 victory at the Seagulls’ old Goldstone Ground.

“Our incentive for winning that match was a few days in Spain flying out the very next morning – I suspect the bonus system has moved on a little since then!” he quipped.

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