Southampton - Arsenal Preview: In-form Gunners travel to relegation-threatened Saints
Arsene Wenger takes his side to the south coast for their first match of 2013, with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning to their old stomping ground
By Chris Teale
Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fonte, Shaw
Schneiderlin, Cork, Puncheon, Do Prado
Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs
Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla
Podolski, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne is nearing a comeback from the knock he sustained on Boxing Day, although he may only make the bench for this game.
Adam Lallana remains a doubt with a knee injury, although Nigel Adkins is hopeful of welcoming the midfielder back into the side soon.
Otherwise, Saints have no new injury or suspension worries, so have a strong squad from which to choose.
For the Gunners, Per Mertesacker is close to a return but may not recover in time for this game.
Theo Walcott looks set to keep his place as a central striker, with Arsene Wenger hopeful he can tie the England man to a new contract soon.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- In scoring three times at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke, Southampton became the first side to net more than once away to the Potters this season.
- Only two players have appeared in every Premier League game for Saints this season: Rickie Lambert and defender Jose Fonte, the latter of which has started every game.
- Having gained just one win in their first 10 matches this term, Southampton have lost just twice in their subsequent nine games.
- These sides have already faced each other this season in the Premier League, with the Gunners triumphing 6-1 thanks in part to a brace from Gervinho and own goals from Nathaniel Clyne and Jos Hooiveld.
- Arsenal’s Theo Walcott (pictured right) has scored 10 goals in his last 10 appearances in all competitions.
- The Gunners’ 7-3 victory over Newcastle was the joint second-most goals to be scored in a Premier League match, equal with their 8-2 loss to Manchester United last season.
- Arsenal have won their last four Premier League matches by a goal aggregate of 15-5.
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Top 3 Predictions
Southampton 1-3 Arsenal
- 15.59 %
Southampton 0-3 Arsenal
- 10.16 %
Southampton 1-4 Arsenal
- 9.75 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 23, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Southampton 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Jan 1, 2013||Southampton 1 - Arsenal 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Sep 15, 2012||Arsenal 6 - Southampton 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Southampton 1 - Manchester City FC 1||EPL|
|Dec 4, 2013||Southampton 2 - Aston Villa 3||EPL|
|Dec 1, 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Southampton 0||EPL|
|Nov 9, 2013||Southampton 4 - Hull 1||EPL|
|6||Jose Rocha Fonte||Defender|
|21||Guilherme Do Prado||Midfielder|
|33||Steve de Ridder||Striker|
Jason Puncheon could be a key part of the Saints' midfield if they are to have any chance of taking a victory. Puncheon has been a regular feature this season and, despite some reported problems with the club’s executive chairman Nicola Cortese, he continues to be a key link to their central strikers.
Theo Walcott is growing more and more comfortable as a striker for the Gunners, and will be hopeful of continuing his good form against the club where he started his career. Walcott scored a hat-trick against Newcastle last time out in addition to grabbing two assists, and will hope he can keep the hot streak going.
Southampton are mired in relegation difficulties, but are just one point away from safety after a good run of recent results. However, the Gunners are on a roll behind the revitalised Walcott and should take a comfortable victory as they look to put pressure on fourth-placed Tottenham.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed