This evening, Arsenal visit St Mary’s for the second time this season (last time was an emphatic 5-0 win in the FA Cup) knowing that a win will lift them to fifth place, above Manchester United, and only three points behind Manchester City. As for Claude Puel’s side, a win will lift them no higher than eighth.
A win here will put pressure on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, though I don’t see Arsenal catching up with them. In order to finish in the top four, Arsenal would have to win all their remaining games, plus an unlikely swing which would see matches involving Liverpool and Manchester City go their way but I don’t really see that happening. Although, there is a little bit of hope, I’m just being real here. Call me a “defeatist”, but that’s how I see things going. I highly doubt Jurgen Klopp’s side would drop any more points from here on in and neither would Pep Guardiola’s side.
Since Southampton’s return to the Premier League in the 2012-13 season, Arsenal have only managed to pick up two points at St Mary’s, both coming in the 2012-13 (1-1), and 2013-14 (2-2) seasons and they suffered a heavy 4-0 loss there last season. Coupled with our poor away form, this match makes it harder mentally but once the players step onto the field of play, stats go out of the window.
Laurent Koscielny is a doubt for this match having suffered a calf injury with Granit Xhaka having a similar problem, but he should be available.
Southampton don’t have any recent injury concerns, although Puel has stated that fatigue could cause problems. Charlie Austin is returning from a five-month lay-off following a dislocated shoulder, whilst Matt Targett could also feature before the end of the season.
The 2-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s side boosted morale and confidence following the away loss to our North London rivals the week before.
Southampton, on the other hand, haven’t won since a 1-0 away win against West Brom in early April, so they’ll be raring to bring a four-match winless run to an end.
I’d like to see the same starting line-up that was played at the weekend. I think putting Danny Welbeck up top would give us pace. I’d also stick with the same formation with three at the back as that seem to be working.
Going into this match, I’d say I’m confident given the win at the weekend, but given our away record, I’d also be cautious.
Can we earn our first away win since beating Middlesbrough three weeks ago?
Featured Image Credit: ctwino