Southampton vs Arsenal preview, betting tips and prediction: Gunners to overpower inconsistent Saints
Arsenal to win 2-1 @ 15/2 with Coral
Arsenal to win to nil @ 5/2 with Coral
Arsenal with a -1 handicap @ 5/2 with Coral
Arsenal travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton on Sunday in what is a tough game to call. The Saints have more or less been solid under Mauricio Pellegrino, recently going toe-to-toe with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium before losing 2-1 and drawing with Bournemouth. But they were easily swept aside by Liverpool at Anfield a few weeks ago, which will give the Gunners great encouragement considering how well their attacking options are gelling this season.
Alexandre Lacazette was fully expected to miss the clash with Manchester United last week with a groin problem, but Arsenal’s record signing pulled through to net his eighth Premier League goal of the season. It could have been more, but for a stunning performance from United stopper David De Gea. Arsene Wenger’s men went on to lose 3-1, and must get back on track with a win on Sunday. We are backing them to do it quite comfortably because of the difference Lacazette, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil make to their attack when they link up together.
Southampon have just one win from their last six games and, although it was rather emphatic, beating Everton 4-1, they have not repeated the same level of performance since. Scoring goals is a real issue for the Saints, and although Charlie Austin has found some form of late, that will be the main worry because the likelihood is they will need to score at least once to get anything from this game. They do have a cushion of seven points between themselves and the bottom three, but that will evaporate quickly if they don’t pick up the pace a bit more soon.
Arsenal may have lost their unbeaten home record against Manchester United last week, but they are still going strong overall. Their last away trip brought a last minute win over Burnley, who are still flying in the table despite a couple of recent defeats. They find themselves fifth as it stands, just one point off Liverpool and four behind champions Chelsea in third. Winning this game could provide a springboard heading into some rather favourable fixtures against some of the teams in the bottom half over the festive period. West Ham, Newcastle, West Brom and Crystal Palace are to come, as well as a home clash with Liverpool next month.
Southampton have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this game, allowing Mauricio Pellegrino to pick a strong side. Virgil van Dijk and Wesley Hoedt should play in defence, but Oriol Romeu is at risk of suspension due to too many yellow cards and could be rested. Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini are vying for a start up front.
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For Arsenal, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott will be unavailable, but they should also field a strong side as they look to close in on a Champions League spot before the New Year.