Arsenal are currently one point off the fourth spot, and the Gunners will be in desperate need of all three points when they take on Southampton at the Emirates today. In the reverse fixture, the Saints handed a 3-2 defeat to Emery’s men so Arsenal cannot afford to take their opponents lightly.
The Gunners are having a stop-start kind of a season and their recent form is also the same as they have won 4 and lost 4 of their last eight encounters. The game is also a crucial one for the Saints as they have slipped into the relegation zone, but they would start as the second favourites especially at the Emirates. With Manchester United playing Liverpool; Arsenal have a bright chance of ending inside the top four after this game week if they manage to secure all three points against Hasenhuttl’s men.
Laurent Koscielny has impressed after coming back from a long term injury layoff but Emery would be sweating over his fitness in this clash as the Frenchman limped off against Bate Borisov.
It could be touch and go with Ainsley Maitland Niles and he might be able to overcome his illness in time for this encounter. Danny Welbeck (ankle), right-back Hector Bellerin and defender Rob Holding (both knee) are long term absentees at the moment.
Danny Ings is going to be a major miss for Ralph Hassenhuttl. The English forward scored a brace in December against Arsenal to hand his side a 3-2 win. Mario Lemina is also sidelined for this clash. Stuart Armstrong and Michael Obafemi can feature in this weekend’s encounter.
Leno; Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Aubameyang, Lacazette
McCarthy; Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard; Valery, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Bertrand; Long, Redmond
Alexandre Lazazette missed the midweek clash due to suspension and he would be keen to make amends in this league game. Matteo Guendouzi has been the engine of this Arsenal side under Emery and he is often found everywhere on the pitch.
James Ward Prowse’s set-piece deliveries are often on point and the Saints can trouble a fragile Arsenal defence with that. Nathan Redmond has a moment of magic in him and he can produce that spark in the final third. In goal, Alex McCarthy will have to play a significant role if the away side wants to come with anything from this game.
Arsenal to win: 1/2
Southampton to win: 6/1
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