Brighton v Arsenal: Match in pictures
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Thierry Henry continues to make his presence felt around north London even 14 years after his departure to Barcelona – this time by speaking to Arsenal new boy Albert Sambi Lokonga about his time in the capital so far.
Lokonga joined Arsenal for a fee of £17million from Anderlecht in the summer, having made 78 appearances in all competitions for the side from Brussels.
The youngster joined the Belgium set up for the first time in the last international break and made his debut on September 2 in a 5-2 win over Estonia.
There are plenty of experienced players who could give him advice – Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois to name but a few.
Yet it is the assistant manager of Belgium that will mean the most to Lokonga when it comes to advice – Gunners legend Henry.
When quizzed if he spoke to Henry before joining the Gunners, Lokonga said he hadn’t – although the Arsenal legend has given him just advice since.
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“Before I joined, no, because I was with him for only two days and then I left the camp with the national team,” Lokonga said.
“But he gave me some advice about Arsenal, the way the people are, the mentality I need to have. Some little things like that.
“I didn’t expect it to go so quick. I’m happy that I already had my three games for Arsenal and hope I will continue and to have a lot more games.”
Lokonga had been brought in to replenish some youth in the Arsenal midfield, but it is yet to be seen just where he fits in. With Thomas Partey usually sitting deep, there is an incentive for Lokonga to play as a box-to-box midfielder – although the Belgian has said he will help out anywhere.
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“That’s a good question. I like to be a No 8 so I can attack and I can defend,” Lokonga continued.
“More freedom, that’s what I like. But I also like No.6 so it’s difficult!
“I like both but the most important thing for me is to be on the pitch.”
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The Belgian has made six appearances from seven in the Premier League, helping Arsenal to their current four-match unbeaten run.
And he will look to continue their good spell as the Gunners take on Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Mikel Arteta’s men currently sit in 11th place, although they could leap as high as seventh if other results go their way.
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