Arsenal and Southampton will both be looking to arrest their respective winless streak in the Premier League as they face each other at Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal have been in disarray in the last few weeks, with the Gunners not being able to take advantage of other teams slipping up around them. Their latest defeat, a 2-0 loss to Leicester City showed the gulf in class and/or form between the two sides, with the Foxes flying high and Arsenal starting to plummet after some good early season form.
Four league games without a win and the pressure is now on Unai Emery, who will be looking towards his team to find some form heading into a crucial run of fixtures in December that could define the Spaniard’s future.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have struggled throughout the season so far. Southampton find themselves 19th on the Premier League table and look genuine relegation battlers come the end of the season. They have managed to score at least in almost every league match, but that 9-0 rout by Leicester proved the difference between them and the top teams this season.
The one saving grace for Southampton is that they seem to have performed well away from home this season, with both of their wins coming away from St. Mary’s. As the two teams get set to battle each other at Emirates on Saturday, we take a closer look at the squads.
Team News & Tactics
Kieran Tierney is expected to retain his spot on the left, despite having started his Premier League season gingerly over the two games played before the international break. Hector Bellerin should be preferred on the right, with Emery likely to look towards the full-backs to provide width in attack.
Sokratis and David Luiz will form the centre-back partnership, but will have to be at their best after four disappointing performances in the Premier League. Bernd Leno will guard the posts for Arsenal.
Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira should be the midfield pivot pairing for Saturday, with Granit Xhaka unlikely to start for Arsenal for now at least. Dani Ceballos is injured and hence, will not take part against Southampton on Saturday.
This could mean a start in the hole for Mesut Ozil, who has impressed whenever called upon recently after being initially frozen out in the 2019-20 campaign so far. Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette should complete the Arsenal attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Tierney; Torreira, Guendouzi; Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang; Lacazette
Ralph Hasenhuttl prefers a 3-man defensive setup which converts into a 5-man lineup against big sides or when the team needs to defend in numbers. The central defensive places should be occupied by Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard. Jan Valery and Ryan Bertrand will be the wing-backs who will be entrusted to make their presence known on both ends of the pitch.
Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse should continue in midfield, with the latter’s set-piece prowess one of the main things that could carve out goalscoring opportunities for Southampton, especially with Arsenal not great at defending dead-ball situations.
The forward line will consist of Nathan Redmond and Moussa Djenepo out wide. Che Adams has not managed to impress much and should, thus, be on the bench, with Danny Ings leading the Southampton attack against Arsenal.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): McCarthy; Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard; Valery, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Bertrand; Redmond, Ings, Djenepo
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.61
1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 4.75
1. 7 of Southampton’s 8 points this season so far have come away from home.
2. Arsenal are yet to lose a game at Emirates in the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.
3. Arsenal have failed to register a win in their last four league games.
4. Arsenal have scored just 4 goals in their last five league matches.
5. Arsenal have one of the worst discipline records in the 2019-20 Premier League, with 27 yellow cards and one red shown to their players in 12 games.
Player to Watch
The Ivorian has flattered to deceive and much has been made of the exorbitant price tag he commanded compared to what he has delivered so far. But, there have been signs that this is just an adjusting phase, with the only thing missing in his game at Arsenal right now is end product.
Southampton have conceded the most goals in the Premier League (29) so far and Pepe might have a shot at kickstarting his Arsenal journey against the Saints’ defence.
Arsenal 2-1 Southampton
Arsenal have lost to teams both above and below them in the Premier League table; teams with better and worse run of form in the league in the last four games. So, a win for Arsenal is not a sure thing against Southampton. But, their unbeaten record at Emirates is intact and it is something Emery will look to continue.
On the other hand, the poor defensive statistics of both the sides means goalmouth action for the neutrals. Expect both teams to get on the scoresheet, with Arsenal our tip to eke out three points to arrest the rut that is their run of results.