Thursday, March 30, 2023

Arsenal Vs Southampton: Can The Gunners Make It Two In A Row?

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Arsene Wenger will take on his friend and former player Claude Puel when Southampton and Arsenal kick off on Saturday at the Emirates. Wenger will have the undoubted upper hand given the fact that the visitors have never managed to beat their opponents at the Emirates for the last 29 years. The Gunners have far greater resources at their disposal but Southampton is a tricky team for any opposition especially with Claude Puel in charge now who almost specializes in beating teams with greater resources.

Southamton, thrashed Arsenal 4-0 on Boxing day 2015 at St. Mary’s and played out a goalless draw at the Emirates in February 2016. The shocking loss at St. Mary’s proved just how dangerous Saturday’s opponents can be and the Gunners have not scored against their opponents in their last three meetings which is a cause of concern for Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal will be desperate for a win as they know that the team can’t afford to lose points at home with being 5 points adrift of the leaders already. Wenger has secured some much needed signings in the transfer window and the squad is now very well balances with excellent depth and quality. On Saturday Arsenal should be making a statement on the pitch to show that they are now ready to get into the race as the big boys will make their return featuring all together for the first time this season.

Team News

Gabriel Paulista, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are out with their long term injuries. Aaron Ramsey is fit again and will be in the squad with Alex Iwobi but Arsene Wenger won’t be risking the Welshman on Saturday. Iwobi can play a part in the second half, though. The new boys Mustafi and Perez will be in the squad. Mustafi is likely to start the game partnering Koscielny at the back while Perez is likely to make an entry in the second half from the bench. Arsene Wenger does have great options available to him for the game.

Southampton do have a fully fit squad with the exception of Goalkeeper Fraser Forster. The goalkeeper pulled out of the England squad with an arm injury and is a doubt for the tie. Alex McCarthy can feature in place of him if Forster is deemed not ready.

Predicted XI

Arsenal(4-2-3-1): Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Cazorla, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez.

Southampton (4-2-3-1): Forster, Bertrand, Van Dijk, Fonte, Soares, Romeu, Davies, Boufal, Tadic, Redmond, Long

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