Southampton know they face a stern test to get back to winning ways when they take on in-form Arsenal in Sunday’s clash at St. Mary’s Stadium.
10 December 2017
Kick-off: 12:00 local time
Venue: St. Mary’s
Referee: R. Madley
Assistants: S. Child, M. Perry
Fourth official: G. Scott
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Southampton 83 20 22 41
Arsenal 83 41 22 21
Southampton 0-2 Arsenal (10/05/17) Premier League
Arsenal scorers: A. Sánchez (60′), O. Giroud (83′)
Players to watch
Striker Charlie Austin is starting to regain form and hit a brace against Everton late last month in a 4-1 win before scoring the only goal in the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth last time out.
With a proven record as a goalscorer in the top-flight going back to his days with Queens Park Rangers in 2014/15 when he bagged 18 goals in 36 appearances, the 28 year old’s return to form could be key for the Saints.
It’s perhaps unfair to label Aaron Ramsey as a surprise-package because his quality is proven, yet the Wales star is enjoying a superb season. The player may well be playing his best football since the 2013/14 campaign for the Gunners. With his engine from central midfield and his ability in the final third, he could be one to watch on Sunday.
Team form and quotes
The home side have lost three of their last five matches in the league although home form has been encouraging in recent weeks. As such, manager Mauricio Pellegrino is hopeful about his teams chances and has thrown his weight behind in-form forward, Austin, in attack.
At a pre-match press conference on Friday, he told reporters: “I hope Charlie (Austin) can continue in the same way, he is in great scoring form and his confidence is high.”
Meanwhile for the visitors, the Gunners are in reasonably good form despite a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United in their last Premier League game. A 6-0 win over BATE in the Europa League sees the Londoners come into the contest full of confidence.
Nonetheless, boss Arsène Wenger is not getting carried away. He told the media: “We are too far from the title at the moment to speak about the title. It’s not realistic. Let’s try to win our next game and over a longer distance see if we can come back.”
For the Saints, Portugal right-back Cédric Soares remains out with a hamstring injury. Jérémy Pied looks set to replace him while forward Shane Long is a doubt with a calf concern.
For Wenger’s men, Shkodran Mustafi is in doubt with a thigh injury. Theo Walcott should be available after picking up a slight calf problem against BATE.