Tuesday 02 February 2016

The Gunners host Southampton on a revenge mission after Arsenal were humbled 4-0 by the Saints just a matter of weeks ago when the two sides met back on Boxing Day.

The hosts recovered well from that heavy defeat; embarking on a four-match unbeaten run that was ended last time out with a home defeat at the hands of Chelsea. Manager Arsene Wenger will hoping for a similar strong response from his men tonight, after slipping to third in the standings behind Leicester City and Manchester City.

Wenger’s side progressed in the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Burnley at the weekend and have been rewarded with another home tie against Championship outfit Hull City, with Arsenal looking to complete a hat-trick of FA Cup wins this term.

As impressive as their FA Cup record is, it is the Premier League title that the Emirates faithful desperately want to win this season. Thankfully there is a sense that there will be no better chance than this campaign in which to end their 12-year wait for a league title; so a win over Southampton would be an ideal way of getting their challenge back on track.

Southampton travel to the capital in good form having won three on the bounce ahead of their trip to the Emirates; meaning Ronald Koeman’s side now lie just four points off a European spot.

Their last fixture saw them win at Old Trafford for the second consecutive season thanks to a goal from new striker Charlie Austin, who may turn out to be a bargain at just £4 million. The visitors will be fresh having had a weekend off after being knocked out the FA Cup at the third-round stage by Crystal Palace last month.

However Saints’ winning run faces a stern test at Arsenal tonight, particularly given their recent away record at the Gunners. Southampton haven’t won a league match in the red half of North London since 1987, although they did win at the Emirates in the League Cup last season.

Team News:

Tomas Rosicky made his comeback from injury against Burnley at the weekend, only to pick up another knock which will rule him out for a further six weeks. Fellow midfielders Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are Arsenal’s only other absentees.

Striker Graziano Pelle remains doubtful for Southampton, whilst midfielder Steven Davis will miss the trip with an ankle problem. Forward Jay Rodriguez remains sidelined for Koeman’s men.

League Positions: Arsenal – 3rd (44 pts); Southampton – 8th (33 pts)
Previous Meeting: Southampton 4-0 Arsenal – December 26, 2015
League Form: Arsenal – LWWDDL; Southampton – WWLDLW
Key Players: Arsenal – Olivier Giroud; Southampton – Charlie Austin
Shoot Says: Arsenal 2-1 Southampton

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