League leaders Arsenal will travel to the St. Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 (11:45 AM Pacific, 19:45 GMT) to face this season’s surprise package: Southampton. Both teams managed to qualify for the fifth round of the FA Cup without encountering too much trouble and having rested a couple of key players on the weekend, the two sides should be fresh heading into the clash.
After a fine start to the season, Southampton have endured a bit of a struggle recently, due to off the field matters. Mauricio Pochettino has not had the easiest of fortnights, having seen Chairman Nicola Cortese resign all of a sudden and club record signing Dani Osvaldo suspended for allegedly attacking a teammate in training.
However, a win against the Gunners in midweek would certainly lift the mood at the Saints camp and one would not put it beyond them to pull off an upset at home, despite a rampant Arsenal side paying a visit.
In contrast to the Saints, Arsenal could not have been in any better shape. Currently on an 8-match winning streak, the Gunners will be heading into the clash full of confidence. Arsene Wenger’s men are quickly making their doubters look a bit silly, but will be fully aware of the fact that they still face an uphill battle, if they are to emerge victorious in the title race come end of the season.
The Gunners are expected to come away with all three points against the Saints on Tuesday night, but it will surely not be a walk in the park.
Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez were injured in the clash against Sunderland last week and could be missing upto six to eight weeks, while Dani Osvaldo will not be featuring due to the suspension enforced on him by the club. However, on a positive note, Victor Wanyama has returned to training after spending nearly two months on the sidelines and could be in contention.
Artur Boruc will start in goal, while Jose Fonte, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw are set to lineup in front of the keeper with either Maya Yoshida or Jos Hooiveld replacing the injured Lovren, to complete the back four.
Rickie Lambert will be leading the line for the Saints with the England International being provided support by the likes of Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana. The trio of Steven Davis, Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork could start in midfield but James Ward-Prowse and Wanyama will also be pushing for a place in the lineup.
Arsene Wenger handed a rest to a couple of his first-team regulars last weekend, but the Frenchman will surely be fielding his strongest lineup against the Saints. Wojciech Szczesny will return in goal, while Bacary Sagna and Nacho Monreal should also take their place in the full back positions, replacing Keiran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson, on either side of the central defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Aaron Ramsey may make a return to the squad after returning to full fitness, but Wenger may not risk the midfielder from the start, which means that Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini will be starting in midfield with Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski probably being deployed on the wings. Serge Gnabry and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will make a strong case to start as well. Olivier Giroud should be leading the line for the Gunners in place of Nicklas Bendtner.
Southampton (Probable XI): Boruc; Shaw, Fonte, Yoshida, Chambers; Rodriguez, Cork, Schneiderlin, Davis, Lallana; Lambert
Arsenal (Probable XI): Szczesny; Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna; Podolski, Wilshere, Flamini, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud
Southampton: L W W D W
Arsenal: W W W W W
23/11/2013 Arsenal 2 – 0 Southampton
01/01/2013 Southampton 1 – 1 Arsenal
15/9/2012 Arsenal 6 – 1 Southampton
Southampton vs Arsenal Prediction
There are few sides that have enjoyed visiting the St. Mary’s Stadium this season. Although favourites heading into the game, Arsenal will be well aware of the fact that they will have to do really well in order to claim all three points from the clash.
It will be even between the two sides full of creative players and a free flowing attacking game can be expected. Arsenal probably edge Southampton in terms of quality and experience, but the Saints are a tough nut to crack at home.
The match will be an enthralling one with the two sides probably sharing the spoils. Southampton 1-1 Arsenal.
Southampton vs Arsenal TV Info
The match will be televised on Premier League Extra Time (USA).