After back-to-back 3-0 wins in the Premier League, Arsenal will look to carry the momentum on against Southampton at the Emirates stadium.
Arsenal will lock horns against a struggling Southampton side as they look to close the gap down to fifth-placed Chelsea on Sunday.
The Gunners sit sixth on the table, five points behind Chelsea, who play later on Sunday against West Ham United. Arsene Wenger’s side have been in a very good run of form and come into the game on the back of five consecutive wins in all competitions, with the latest being a 4-1 triumph over CSKA Moscow in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League during the midweek.
Southampton, on the other hand, are battling to stave off relegation and occupy the 18th place in the standings with 28 points from 31 games, three points off of Crystal Palace in 17th position. The Saints are without a win in their last four games in the league and newly appointed manager Mark Hughes has a huge task at his hands to save the club from going down.
Team News & Tactics
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ruled out for Arsenal after injuring his knee against CSKA Moscow on Thursday. Backup goalkeeper David Ospina is set to miss out for three weeks after having sprained his ankle during training. Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the midweek fixture due to ineligibility to represent the Gunners in the Europa League.
Petr Cech will start between the sticks for the North London outfit, with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac set to occupy the full-back positions on the right and left-sides respectively. Both the full-backs will be needed to provide width going forward. Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny are expected to start in the heart of the defence.
In-form man Aaron Ramsey should get the nod once again in the middle of the park following his heroic exploits during the midweek. He will look to provide the drive forward while his partner Granit Xhaka will occupy a deeper position and shield the defence. Jack Wilshere will take up the third central midfield slot to add balance to the side.
Mesut Ozil was on song during the midweek and will once again be key for the Gunners with his ability to split open defences from the attacking midfield position. With Mkhitaryan ruled out, Alex Iwobi could be in for a start alongside Ozil. Returning man Aubameyang should spearhead the attack in place of Alexandre Lacazette.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-2-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Xhaka, Wilshere; Ozil, Iwobi; Aubameyang;
Steven Davis is back in contention for selection after having missed out of action since February. However, defender Sam McQueen will miss out with a groin problem while midfielder Mario Lemina is a doubt due to illness and will be assessed close to the match.
Alex McCarthy is expected to continue as the goalkeeper ahead of England international Fraser Forster at the Emirates. The back four is likely to comprise of Cedric Soares at right-back and Ryan Bertrand at left-back with Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt in the centre. How they deal with the pace and guile of the Arsenal attack will have a major say on the outcome of the game.
Oriol Romeu will start at the base of the midfield and look to shield the backline and he is likely to be partnered by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, if Lemina isn’t passed fit to feature on Sunday. Dusan Tadic and Nathan Redmond will start out on the flanks and try to hit the Gunners from the wide areas with speed and incision.
Top goal-scorer Charlie Austin will once again partner up with Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini at the top and look to exploit Arsenal’s defence that has shown signs of inconsistency throughout the season.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): McCarthy; Cedric, Stephens, Hoedt, Bertrand; Tadic, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Redmond; Austin, Gabbiadini;
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 22 home league games against Southampton (W16 D6), since a 0-1 loss in November 1987.
- However, Southampton did win League Cup ties at the Emirates Stadium in 2014 and 2016.
- Southampton have failed to score in their last 3 matches in the Premier League.
- Arsenal have won their last two Premier League games, both by a 3-0 scoreline. The last time they won three in a row by a margin of at least three goals was in October 2015.
1. Arsenal to win @ 1.57
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score anytime @ 1.83
1. Result – Arsenal and Both Teams to Score – YES @ 3.00
Player to Watch
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has had a hand in six goals in his first six Premier League games for Arsenal (5 goals, 1 assist), since joining the club in January from Borussia Dortmund. The Gabon international netted twice in the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Stoke City last weekend and having not been involved on Thursday night, he will be fresh and raring to go against the Saints.
Arsenal 3-0 Southampton
Southampton have been in absolutely woeful form in recent weeks and look destined for relegation to the second-tier. While Arsenal haven’t exactly been at their best, the confidence in the squad will be high after recent results and we at the Hard Tackle predict another 3-0 win for the North Londoners on Sunday.