Arsenal - Southampton Preview: Saints hoping to earn first Premier League points since top-flight return
Nigel Adkins' men have lost all three of their opening fixtures and face a Gunners' side buoyed by their victory over Liverpool prior to the international break
By Joe Krishnan
Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs
Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla
Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Podolski
Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox
Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Ward-Prowse Puncheon, Lambert, Lallana
Arsene Wenger faces an agonising wait over the fitness of several key players ahead of his side's clash with Southampton.
Theo Walcott has been ruled out with a virus and is likely to be replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whilst midfielder Abou Diaby, who was injured on international duty with France, could be a doubt after Didier Deschamps described him as '50/50' to be fit in time after suffering from a small muscular problem.
Wojciech Szczesny looks set to replace Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone in goal after recovering from injury, but his compatriot Lukasz Fabianski will miss out with a shoulder injury.
For the visitors, club record signing Gaston Ramirez has finally received the all clear to join up with the squad after an issue with international clearance, but may sit on the bench.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Arsenal have scored just two goals in their three Premier League games so far this season, which is the same amount they had scored at this stage last season.
- Germany international Lukas Podolski (pictured right), who joined this Arsenal this summer from FC Koln for £10.9 million, won his 100th cap for his country against Denmark at Euro 2012 at the age of just 27.
- The Gunners have drawn their last three home matches in the Premier League. However, they have also kept a clean sheet in all three of their games so far this season.
- Arsenal have finished at least fourth in the Premier League in every season since the 1996/97 campaign, winning the Premier League title three times under Arsene Wenger.
- Southampton are yet to pick up a point this season in the Premier League, despite having led in two of their three games.
- Despite being bottom of the Premier League, the Saints have scored twice as many goals as Arsenal have (four).
- The south coast club have twice broken their transfer record this summer. They first signed Jay Rodriguez from Burnley for a fee of £7m, and then secured a deal for Uruguayan playmaker Gaston Ramirez from Bologna for £11.8m. Their previous record signing was Rory Delap, who cost £5.3 million from Derby in 2001.
- Southampton have failed to win in any of their last seven encounters away to Arsenal.
- And the Championship winners of 2011-12 also need to tighten up at the back, as they have conceded at least two goals in each of their three games this season.
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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal FC 3-0 Southampton
- 25.1 %
Arsenal FC 2-0 Southampton
- 15.66 %
Arsenal FC 3-1 Southampton
- 9.88 %
|Premier League (EPL)||1 Jan 2013||Southampton 1 - Arsenal FC 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||15 Sep 2012||Arsenal FC 6 - Southampton 1|
|19 May 2013||Newcastle United 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|14 May 2013||Arsenal FC 4 - Wigan Athletic 1||EPL|
|4 May 2013||QPR 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|28 Apr 2013||Arsenal FC 1 - Manchester United 1||EPL|
|20 Apr 2013||Fulham 0 - Arsenal FC 1||EPL|
|Returns:||Arsenal £13.64||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £610.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Southampton £810.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|6||Jose Rocha Fonte||Defender|
The former Montpellier striker has had a difficult start to his career at the Emirates Stadium since his high-profile £12 million move earlier this summer. He has already seen fellow summer arrivals Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski open their Arsenal accounts this season, and after some terrible missed chances, pressure will be on the 25-year-old to grab his first Arsenal goal and prove to the fans that there is life after Robin van Persie.
After some excellent performances for the Saints against Manchester United and Manchester City, Lallana was a shock call-up to the England squad last week after Theo Walcott withdrew through injury. With the academy product providing most of the opportunities for target man Rickie Lambert, Southampton will be hoping their midfield maestro can cause the Londoners some problems in defence.
A slow start to the season saw Arsenal fail to score against Stoke and Sunderland but following their confidence-boosting win over Liverpool, one would expect the Gunners to win comfortably against their newly-promoted opponents.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed