Goals On The Cards As Southampton Host High-Flying ArsenalPublished December 23, 2015
It’s been a tough few weeks for Southampton, with just a single point to show from their last five Premier League games and a humiliating 6-1 Capital One Cup defeat at home to Liverpool in the midst of that run too.
Southampton have only scored three goals during those six games, with manager Ronald Koeman bemoaning a failure to take chances as one factor for their recent loss of form. That in itself is a worry when coming up against the top-flight’s joint tightest defence. In addition Koeman also stated that the defending in the 2-0 loss at home to Tottenham Hotspur was at “amateur level” and that the team has been “too nice” this season.
By contrast Arsenal seem to be coming into form again, with the 2-1 victory at home to Manchester City on Monday evening being a third straight EPL win and leaving them two-points shy of table-topping Leicester City. There was also another goal for the often unfairly maligned Olivier Giroud, with the Frenchman now having scored 15 goals for club and country since the beginning of October.
As ever, injuries remain a concern for Arsene Wenger. They are already being stretched with regards to the midfield holding role in the ongoing absence of Francis Coquelin and it now appears that the talismanic Alexis Sanchez will remain sidelined for an additional few weeks, having suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. The Chilean’s absence is a significant blow, but Joel Campbell has proven to be an able deputy over the last few games.
In the long-term absence of Fraser Forster and, more recently, Maarten Stekelenburg, the inexperienced Paulo Gazzaniga has been in goal for the Saints in the past couple of games. The Argentine hasn’t let anyone down, so it will be interesting to see if he retains his place should Stekelenburg be available again following a toe injury.
With creator-in-chief Mesut Ozil having a fine season for the Gunners, they always look capable of scoring goals. Southampton might be struggling for results, but they have enough quality going forward in the likes of Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic to suggest that their current woes in front of goal will only be a temporary issue. This could potentially be the most entertaining game of the day and goals could be on the cards as a result.