The Pre Match Post: Southampton (H)
Looking ahead to Saturday’s 15:00 kick-off at home to Southampton.
Saturday afternoon sees Arsenal return to Emirates Stadium, following the international break, with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton outfit the opponents.
Unai Emery’s side will be looking to close the 8 point gap between themselves and Manchester City – who sit in 4th place, with a victory against the Saints on Saturday and will want to make amends for 3 points dropped at the King Power Stadium last time out.
19th placed Southampton come into this one on a poor run of form, with just 1 point in their last 7 Premier League outings, a 1-1 draw at Molineux against Wolves. The Saints will look for top scorer Danny Ings provide the goals on Saturday, with the Englishman scoring 5 goals in 12 appearances so far this season. Ings bagged 2 against the Gunners back in December 2018, in a 3-2 win at St Mary’s. There is also a boost in defence, with Ryan Bertrand returning from a suspension picked up in the 0-9 home drubbing to Leicester City.
As far as Arsenal are concerned, this game is a must-win for Unai Emery. Just one win in the last six outings means that tension among the supporters is growing, and Saturday will provide a chance to take 3 important points in the bid for Champions League football. Previous form from this fixture looks kindly on the home side. Arsenal have not lost to Southampton at home in the league since a 0-1 defeat at Highbury in 1987. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goals will be key in this one – The Gabonese has 8 goals in 12 appearances this season, whilst Nicolas Pepe will look to hit form after a slow start.
Arsenal will, however, be without Spanish loanee Dani Ceballos, who picked up a hamstring injury away at Vitoria in the Europa League. Sead Kolasinac is being assessed, also with a hamstring injury (www.arsenal.com).
With managerial change the flavour of the month in North London, Emery and his team will look to get things back on track with a win on Saturday in order to ease the nerves.
Expected lineup: (4-2-3-1) – Leno, Bellerin, Chambers, Luiz, Tierney, Guendouzi, Willock, Ozil, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.
Score prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Southampton