Arsenal travel to St. Marys this weekend to face Southampton hoping to bounce back from their disappointing 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Despite losing 3-1 at home to United last Saturday, Arsenal didn’t actually play badly at all. Therefore, given our previous league form, we should be feeling reasonably confident heading into the clash with Southampton.
Let’s just hope that if we have 33 shots at St. Mary’s, more than just one of them finds the back of the net…
The Gunners are still without Shkodran Mustafi, who’s suffering from a suspected muscular problem he picked up during the opening exchanges against Jose Mourinho’s men. The defender is expected to be fit and ready to face West Ham on Wednesday but it’s still a blow to not have our most in-form centre-back able to travel to a pretty difficult away match.
On paper, Arsenal should have the edge.
Since we first faced each other in March 1927, the Gunners have won 48 games to Southampton’s 20. The Saints are currently down in 11th and have won just four of their matches this term. And while they’re still playing some attractive, attacking football, Mauricio Pellegrino’s men aren’t looking nearly as slick as they have done in the past.
That’s on paper.
We all know how the Gunners like to surprise us in the most humiliating ways possible. A thrashing at the hands of Southampton could be just one Alexis Sanchez strop away. What’s more, St. Mary’s hasn’t exactly been our most happy hunting ground in recent years.
In 2015, we lost there twice. 2-0 in January and then 4-0 on Boxing Day, which was just downright cruel. And before we beat them in May at the end of last season, we hadn’t registered a Premier League victory on their turf since December 2003!
This was partly because they weren’t in the Premier League from 2005 until 2012 but you catch my drift; Arsenal don’t like St. Mary’s.
Still, today, I’m an optimist and reckon the Gunners will just edge it. Although, as much as I like Per Mertesacker, without Mustafi, I don’t see us keeping a clean sheet.
Predicted score: 3-1 to the Arsenal.
Predicted XI: Cech, Kos, Mertesacker, Monreal, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Rambo, Bellerin, Alexis, Ozil, Lacazette.