Ozil back in Arsenal squad as Lacazette and Pepe start

Omnisport

Mesut Ozil returned to Arsenal's squad to face Brighton and Hove Albion as Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe were restored to the starting XI by head coach Mikel Arteta.

Ozil was omitted from the 20-man matchday squad for Wednesday's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, with Arteta subsequently saying he would put the former Germany playmaker "on the pitch when I think he can give his best".

That moment might now arrive at the Amex Stadium, where captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leads the Gunners attack once more but will be supported by Lacazette and Pepe, with youngsters Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock making way.

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Lacazette featured as a second-half replacement in Manchester, where Pepe did not make it on the field – although that can in part be attributed by the injuries suffered by Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari.

Both are absent, with Dani Ceballos coming into central midfield and Rob Holding making a first Premier League start since November at centre-back. David Luiz is suspended following his red card against City.

The other of Arsenal's five changes comes at left-back, with Sead Kolasinac preferred to Kieran Tierney, as Arteta's men seek to close the eight-point gap to Chelsea in fourth.

It is Brighton's first game since a 0-0 draw at Wolves on March 7. Graham Potter's men are 15th in the table and just two points above the drop zone.

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