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Arsenal Vs Southampton PL Match Preview

Five wins on the bounce. Two months ago that seemed like a pipedream, but on the eve of our Premier League match against Southampton, we seem to have recovered from our slump.

And yet, the hard work has only just begun, and reports of our resurrection have been greatly embellished.

Of course, two wins against a strong Milan side, comprehensive victories over Watford and Stoke and now our thumping of CSKA are far better fare than our losses against Brighton, City and Ostersunds, but while we may have one foot in the Europa League Semi-Finals, our Premier League placing is still lower than we’d like. Far lower.

With just seven games left, we are a distant 13 points from fourth spot and our rivals spurs. Even fifth spot is five points away from us. We are closer to Burnley and Leicester than we are Liverpool, spurs and United. There is no escaping our poor domestic form, and while there is a chance of redemption – no matter how miniscule – then we must fight for it.

Our two League wins have helped to steady a ship that was in danger of capsizing, but we need to make haste now. A home match against lowly Southampton seems perfect to gain more momentum, but we should heed the warning signs.

Mark Hughes has been a thorn in our side before, and so have the Saints. Despite their relegation zone woes, they still have quality players that can hurt us and as we showed against CSKA on Thursday, a simple mistake can lead to a goal.

Our team will be switched up from the one that defeated Moscow midweek. Laurent Koscielny may be rested for the second leg next week, with Calum Chambers dropping into central defence most likely.

Mohamed Elneny is another who should come back into the side, with either Granit Xhaka or Aaron Ramsey rested.

Then we have our attack, and there’s a few things to ponder.

Firstly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan looks to be ruled out for the foreseeable, so who plays in his stead? Alex Iwobi came on for him after he was injured against CSKA, and we have the effervescence of Danny Welbeck who gives good value playing out wide. Jack Wilshere is another who can come into the attacking quartet, but now the Armenian is out, rotation will have to be limited.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will surely come into the side after being cup-tied for our European adventures, and Lacazette will most likely make way, unless Wenger acts on his recent comments and plays Auba out wide, with Lacazette retaining his central spot.

Mark Hughes has seen his side lose their last two games in the league to the tune of 3-0 scorelines. Their only win in the last five was an unconvincing win in the FA Cup over Wigan. They have the players to hurt us though.

Charlie Austin is a real threat aerially that Mustafi will do well to contain, and James Ward-Prowse can be deadly from set-pieces. Manolo Gabbiadini is a good foil for Austin and with Bertrand and Cedric at full-back, they have the capacity to stretch us. Mario Lemina faces a fitness test but him aside, they have a clean bill of health and in Nathon Redmond and Sofiane Boufal, some unpredictability that can change games.

We really can’t rest on our haunches, because one single loss can render our recent wins a moot point. We drastically need to improve our league placing, as having all of our eggs in a Europa League basket is risky, especially with Atletico Madrid being overwhelming cup favourites.

While we have a small chance, we need to keep plugging away. #UTA

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Bellerin, Chambers, Mustafi, Monreal, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere, Welbeck, Aubameyang

Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal

Southampton Vs Arsenal: Match Preview

Let’s get back in the winning habit.



The 3-1 defeat to Man United last week still rankles. The manner we lost in should have garnered all three points, but instead we’re looking back on a loss that widened the gap between us and the leading pack.


It does mean we’re still in rude health in terms of our play. The United result aside, the only other loss in that time – 12 games – is the anomalous loss to Koln and the defeat to Watford.


We do need to keep our heads up, especially with this game marking the start of the annual festive fixture congestion. We’ve now got seven games between now and the end of the month, so it’s a good thing that our fringe players are ready and firing – because they’ll be needed.


Our midweek hammering of BATE didn’t get the credit it deserved from the journalists – what a surprise. The quality of the opposition was poor, granted, but that’s never stopped us struggling before. We were quite excellent in attack, and Jack had one of those games that really highlights his talents.


In terms of our game against Saints, our team will be all changed most likely. Petr Cech will return in goal, and the stopper has been in fine form of late. In defence, Shkodran Mustafi will miss out after limping off against United. Laurent Koscielny will come in with Nacho Monreal, with one of Per Mertesacker, Calum Chambers or Rob Holding replacing Mustafi.


In midfield, Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey will slot in the central roles, with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac taking the wing-back roles.


Up top, we should have Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez back in the lineup. If the golden trio don’t pull it off, we’ll have Theo Walcott, Jack, Olivier and Danny Welbeck as an option from the bench. Most clubs can’t boast such strength.


Southampton are a Jekyll and Hyde team. From one week to the next, no one knows which side will turn up. They can go from sublime to mediocre in the space of minutes, but make no mistake, we should be wary.


Fraser Forster has been a pain in our backside on a few occasions, and definitely has the capacity to frustrate. How is this for a stat – Forster has conceded just one goal in five games, facing 30 shots on target in that time. They have ample threats too. 


Charlie Austin is a real handful and is in good goalscoring form of late. Nathon Redmond out wide can conjure up trouble, and Sofiane Boufal is the wildcard.


It is in midfield that Southampton have real strength, but it is all dependant on what combo they go for. They have Hojbjerg, Davis and Romeu who are well covered in both defensive and attacking tactics. It means they have a solid foundation to build on. With Virgil Van Dijk, Mario Lemina and the set-piece delivery of Ward-Prowse, Mauricio Pellegrino has all the makings of a top side.


Before the weekend, we were one point from the top 4. We need to keep up the pace, and we need to show the tenacity we showed in our last away game – the 1-0 win at Turf Moor.


Predicted lineup – Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.


Predicted scoreline – This will be a tight one, but 2-0 to The Arsenal.

Southampton Vs Arsenal Preview

Kickoff – 1945GMT​

Just when we think all hope is lost, Arsenal pull a result out of the bag.

Last weekend’s emphatic victory over Manchester United reminded us all what our team is actually capable of after months of infuriating incompetence, and left us all wondering where this team has been?

Great that result may have been, but it has not made qualifying for the Champions League any easier. It merely kept us in with a shout, and our next four games must be reaped to the tune of maximum points.

The FA have not dealt us a kind hand, the scheduling from here is a nightmare, but it is only the team which has put themselves in between this rock and this very hard place, and they must fight tooth and nail to rectify the situation.

We have four remaining games, and they will be played over the course of 11 days. First up is Southampton at St Marys.







We do not have the best record at the home of the Saints, with the last four games played there all being winless for the Gunners. The last time we won at the home of Southampton? 2003. This must change.

With so many games in such a short space of time, personnel will be high on the agenda as well as points. Laurent Koscielny has a calf strain and may not be risked, so the fit-again Shkodran Mustafi may come back in, with Gabriel and Rob Holding making up this new-fangled back three. Nacho Monreal is another who could slot into this backline, but Koscielny is the leading light in defence and his presence could be sorely missed.

Granit Xhaka is expected to shrug off his calf problem and his midfield partnership with Aaron Ramsey looks set to continue. There shouldn’t be too many changes in the side, but with so few rest days in between games, Arsene Wenger will have to choose wisely when to disrupt rhythm and swap around the players to keep them fresh.

With Danny Welbeck scoring against United, his confidence will be soaring, and that should give him the edge over Olivier Giroud in attack. Theo Walcott is one who could come in and has fresh legs too, so there are plenty of options should injury or scoreline start to bite.

Saints boss Claude Puel has a top half finish in his sights, and with the squad at his disposal, this is the least he should be expected to achieve. Big money striker Mannolo Gabbiadini was in fine form before injury struck, but since his return, the goals have dried up. Charlie Austin is still not match fit, but Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long are other choices the Frenchman could opt for.

Every club’s favourite summer transfer target, Virgil Van Dijk, is out for the season. This has given others a chance to shine. One is youngster Jack Stephens, and he has really impressed. One to watch for the future.

Puel rested Nathan Redmond for their last game – the 0-0 against Liverpool – and the winger could come back into the side. One to make way may be Sofiane Boufal, the French wide man was ineffective against the Reds and it has been a tough first season for the starlet.

Back to The Arsenal though, and five of our last six away games have ended in defeat. With our next game also being away from home, this poor trend must stop now. The Saints don’t have the best record at home this season, and they have scored a paltry 11 goals in their last 12.

One sobering stat is that our side has taken three points from a possible 27 to the current sides in the Top11 in the League. That is simply awful. A victory here will go some way to ending some of these runs and also keep us in the hunt.

We must presume the teams above us will win, which means we must win too. It will get dicey at times, and it will be tight. We must fight tooth and nail for every loose ball though.

Time for your game faces boys. Otherwise our worst season in two decades falls at their feet. That includes Wenger.

Predicted Lineup – Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xhaka, Ramsey, Gibbs, Ozil, Sanchez, Alexis


Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal. #UTA

Southampton 0-5 Arsenal: 5 Keypoints From the FA Cup Tie

Wow, talk about a contrast.

Last week we saw our full strength side scrap and scrape a 2-1 win over Burnley at home, thanks to a 97th minute penalty.

This week, we saw a supposed understrength side absolutely take Southampton to the cleaners in their own digs, to the tune of five unanswered goals.

As expected, Arsene Wenger made a host of changes for this tie – ten in total – before he left the team in the hands of his Assistant Manager Steve Bould. His four match ban after his dealings with the fourth official started with this match, and with an unfamiliar side named and a somewhat bogey side to face, things were looking dicey.

Claude Puel also rang the changes with ten differences from midweek, but he and his talented youngsters could not have foreseen what was to come. 

Arsenal fans rejoiced as their was the long-awaited first start since last season for Danny Welbeck, and he started up top. There was also an immediate return to action for the fit-again Theo Walcott, and both were to show they were worthy of inclusion.

Keiran Gibbs, Rob Holding, Lucas Perez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Maitland-Niles and The Jeff himself were all part of the side, and The Ox and Maitland-Niles formed an unusual central midfield pairing. They would face Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jordie Clasie in the centre of the park – and absolutely boss it.

Arsenal started on the front foot, and it took only fifteen minutes for ‘Dat Guy’ to make his mark. He showed good control to take Lucas’s pass, and his high finish off the crossbar showed excellent composure. 

Seven minutes later, he had a brace. The source was The Ox this time, but the result was the same; good control and smart finish.

With ten minutes left, Arsenal killed the game. Super Danny Welbeck was again heavily involved, but he wasn’t the finisher. He instead showed great awareness to cross for the lurking Theo Walcott for a close range finish.

There were more chances for the Gunners, and it seemed as if they would put the tie to bed before the half time whistle, but at half time, the score remained 3-0. The Saints were not at the races, but even if they were bang on form, Arsenal would have quelled their force.

The second half saw no revival, nor a collapse from the Gunners. It was again more of the same, as the away team kept their boot firmly on the jugular of the home side. They continued to create and run at Southampton, who had no answer to this incredible show of force. Danny Welbeck was withdrawn from the action on 64 minutes before he could grab a fairytale hat-trick, but there would be a treble in the game.

On 69 minutes, Theo grabbed his second. Alexis, a second half sub, picked him out in the box and a smart first time finish into the far corner gave Arsenal the fourth. Florian Gardos and Jack Stephens – the Saints centre-backs – were left spinning by the artistry of Lucas and Alexis, and the rampaging runs of Theo and Welbeck.

Theo grabbed his hat-trick and his 99th Arsenal goal, when Lucas’s ball from a Southampton attack found a running Alexis. He had two men on his tail, but he held up play until Theo was in the box. Another first time finish and he had the match ball. 

That was that, and Arsenal were emphatically through into the Fifth round of the Cup. Here are some hot talking points from the game;



Competition fires the side

This team, Theo aside, have been on the outskirts of the first eleven this season. They would have lacked rhythm, sharpness and cohesion. They showed that hunger is one of the most important traits of all, perhaps more so than the others aforementioned. They were all on fire and wanted to put on a show. Rotation may just be necessary as we have a large squad, but also because these players need to play to give a reminder to the manager.


Maximum effort gains reward

At 4-0 up and the game signed, sealed and delivered, Southampton started to foray into Arsenal territory. The sight that warmed my heart more than the goals and the win, more than anything really, was seeing The Ox and Theo chasing back to help out with the defending in their own box. It was these young men showing they had grown up and they want to play a big part and they are willing to put in the hard yards. This is exactly what we need.


Lucas is so effective

Eight starts, and eight times he has been involved directly in a goal. He grabbed an assist this time, and he looks so assured on the ball. His cool head and great touch should be utilised more often as the season progresses, and I’m confident he will not let us down. His assist for Welbeck was sumptuous.


Welbeck to play a big part 












Whenever he has put on our shirt, Welbeck has given his all. This is the reason why our fans universally adore him. His pace, his favouring of balls ahead of him rather than to feet, his touch and his defensive qualities make him a true asset. If his fitness holds, then he could very well nail down a starting spot. Even if he doesn’t start all the games, he will have a huge bearing on our season. Love you Welbz – and that celebration!


Holding holds his own again

What a prospect. He again showed nous way beyond his years in this performance. He will have tougher games, but he is looking every inch an England player for the future. If he continues this growth, then a starting spot for Arsenal when Koscielny steps down could be on the cards. One step at a time at the moment though. He needs to continue what he is doing, but you can’t fail to be excited by what he is capable of.

There was a lot going on during this set of ninety minutes, far more than the above. Particularly impressive was Ainslie Maitland-Niles starting in the centre. He seems to have the confidence of the boss after starting a few cup games this season, and he has a great touch, as well as physical strength for a slight frame. The Ox played well in the centre too, and he appears to have grown this season. 

Next up is a game against Watford on Tuesday, before we travel to Stamford Bridge in the weekend. Mesut Ozil, Petr Cech, Coquelin, Ramsey, and co. Be aware of the competition breathing down your neck, step it up like they have. 

Southampton Vs Arsenal – FA Cup Warm-Up

After Arsenal’s last-gasp victory over Burnley last week, it would be extremely well received by Gooners everywhere if we could have a game that didn’t cause a coronary.

That wouldn’t be Arsenal though, would it?

This weekend’s bout of panic is brought to us by the FA Cup, as the Gunners take on Southampton for the right to progress to the next round. Our team will have to do so without the presence of our manager, as Wenger was slapped with a four game touchline ban to go with his £25k fine. 

This means that Steve Bould will be belting out the instructions from the touchline, and woe betide anyone who ignores the Assistant Manager with the steely glare. It is debateable what difference will be made without Wenger and his infamous coat, but the instruction for the whole team will already be in place beforehand.

Team selection may vary a little from last-weeks agonising win. There is also more to choose from in recent games as Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy have returned to full training. They will more than likely not be part of the squad as match fitness will still be an issue, but Danny Welbeck may just be handed his first start since his return. Theo Walcott is also back in contention.

David Ospina has been the cup keeper this season so he will likely be installed between the sticks, but as far as the rest of the lineup will resemble, it is unclear. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez may be prime candidates to sit out the match with Chelsea on the horizon, but there is plenty of time for recovery. Lucas Perez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be pushing for starts, and Olivier Giroud should keep his place, but it is all hearsay until the lineup is announced.

Saints boss Claude Puel will be in buoyant mood after dumping Liverpool out of the EFL Cup and nabbing a final place. He will though, have to deal with a host of injuries.

Virgil Van Dijk, Charlie Austin, James Ward-Prowse, Jay Rodriguez, Florin Gardos, Jeremy Pied, Matt Targett and Sofiane Boufal are all missing. That is one long list, but Puel still has plenty to choose from, as shown from his teams excellent victory over Liverpool in midweek.

Whoever Puel plumps for, they will be a confident bunch, and not because of the booked trip to Wembley. They have a great record against the Gunners, and en route to the EFL Cup Final, they have knocked Arsenal out. So they have previous for dumping us out of cups. 

They are in great form overall against us, as they have kept four clean sheets from the last five we have played. There is some consolation for Gooners before kickoff however. 

Southampton have never – NEVER – beaten us in the FA Cup. The last time we met in this famous competition? 2003. The Final. We won 1-0 thanks to a Bobbi Pires goal. So, yeah, there is something to hang onto.

This match is going to be hellishly tough. If we want to keep in this trophy, then we must play far better than we have done recently, and we must get over the fact we will be missing a fair few midfielders from our ranks. 

We could do with some of our top players rising to form to make the difference. It is high time we stopped relying on Alexis or Giroud to bail us out. 

Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas, Alexis, Giroud.

Predicted Scoreline – I’m feeling strangely optimistic. 2-0 Arsenal. 

Arsenal 0-0 Southampton – Home Truths As Stalemate Occurs Again

’80’s Hip-Hop collective De La Soul laid down some lyrics that seem very relevant right now for Gooners.

Three, is the magic number.

Now, it wasn’t quite ‘magic’, but the number three conspired to rob Arsenal of three points and put a rather ugly dent in our title challenge.

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