Preview and Prediction
These two teams might only be sitting on the mid table but this clash is as crucial as the games for the teams on the top four. The Saints are aiming to bump up their position for one European place next season, and so are The Gunners. They are on tenth and eleventh respectively with only two-point margins between them. This is also their second meetings in the past few days in a row.
The teams’ previous games
Both teams happened to square off in FA Cup fourth round last weekend with the lady luck smiled on Danny Ings and Co. The game in Saint Mary stadium was a tight affair as both sides traded chances, though the home side was more dominating. The winning goal came quite early on 24th minute as Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross was deflected by Gabriel Magalhaes and led to his own goal. Mikel Arteta’s men had a number of opportunities to equalise through Rob Holding and Eddie Nketiah but they failed to capitalise them.
Ralph Hassenhutl has a number of names on the sideline such as Jannik Vestergaard, Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo, William Smallbone, Michael Obafemi and Oriol Romeu, Mohammed Salisu and Nathan Tella. However, he is unlikely to change his preferable 4-4-2 formation, which can be transformed to 4-2-2-2, one of his tactics while leading RB Leipzig previously. Danny Ings and Che Adams shall return to be in the starting IX while Stuart Amstrong and Theo Walcott are operating wide. In the middle, there will be Ibrahima Diallo and James Ward-Prowse covering the area.
Mikel Arteta has been in favour of 4-2-3-1 formation. Yet, Pierre Aubameyang, Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari will miss this match due to their injuries. Thus, the Spanish boss would employ Willian to take over Aubameyang’s role while Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari’s absence will be filled with Thomas Partey and Rob Holding.
Players to watch
The Saints’ top scorer, Danny Ings, is ready to bring a threat to The Gunners’ backline. He has registered seven goals and three assists so far in Premier League. Some other key men to watch are Che Adams and James Ward-Prowse with four goals and assists each and Stuart Amstrong with two goals and two assists.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s top performers lately are the youngster Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka who have been deadly in the six yard box since the triumph against Chelsea. Another vital figure to focus on is the Frenchman Alexander Lacazette, who has scored eight goals in Premier League and Europa League.
Southampton vs Arsenal Prediction
For Mikel Arteta’s men, this encounter will be a perfect time for avenging on their loss a couple of days ago. Yet, Hassenhutl’s men’s solid defence would provide extra work for Bukayo Saka and Co to break the deadlock. It will be tough for sure but this time both are likely to share spoils here.