Arsenal vs. Southampton
Nov 23, 2013 at 3pm (UK)
Arsenal vs Southampton – few would have thought it to be a top of the table clash after 11 gameweeks. But yet it reamins as one of the big matches this week. The Gunners who lead Liverpool by 2 points host the high-flying Southampton side who are just a point below the Reds at third place and just three points adrift of Arsenal. A win against the Londoners tomorrow will mean that Mauricio Pochettino’s men will be on par with the Gunners and potentially move above them.
The Gunners come into the game on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United thanks to a goal from former Arsenal man Robin Van Persie which cut short their lead at the top of the table, but with star players like Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud and Koscielny having had a much needed rest during the International break the Gunners will be hoping that they can get back to the winning ways.
The last time these two sides faced, it ended as a 1-1 draw. This time around the Saints come into the game with the record of having the meanest defence in the league. With just 5 goals conceded from the 11 games, they look formidable at the back and to top that Southampton are unbeaten in 8 consecutive matches, something for Arsene Wenger to worry about. It will be interesting to see how the Arsenal attacking trio of Ozil, Cazorla and Ramsey try to break down the resolute Southampton side on top of their team pressing which will again leave Mikel Arteta as the crucial man in the heart of the midfield.
The big news is of course the return of speedster Theo Walcott, who according to Wenger is completely fit again. Although it is not clear whether the winger will be allowed to start after spending an extended time on the sidelines, but it is rest assured that he will make a substitute appearance. Elsewhere, Lukas Podolski is just two or three weeks away while long term absentees Chamberlain and Sanogo continue their rehabitialition work. One major worry for the Gunners would be the fitness of Thomas Rosicky, the Czech International missed out United’s game and a late fitness test will reveal the midfielder’s fate before the game tomorrow.
Read Arsene Wenger’s press conference as he revels the team news before the game.
After their impressive start to the campaign, the likes of Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert got call-ups from Roy Hodgson to play for the national team against Chile and Germany. The Saints have no fresh injuries to worry about and Pochettino will almost have his first team for the London trip.
Possible starting lineups:
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Arteta; Rosicky, Cazorla, Ozil; Giroud
Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Wanyama, Schneiderlin; Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert
- Arsenal have not lost a home league game against Southampton since November 1987, winning 13 and drawing five of their 18 matches since.
- Only Arsenal (22) have won more points in the Barclays Premier League since the start of September than Southampton (18).
- Southampton’s win ratio against Arsenal in the Premier League (14%) is the lowest of any side they’ve played more than three times in the competition.
- Southampton have conceded six or more goals in six different Premier League games – the last two of which have been away at Arsenal (Sept 2012 and May 2003).
- Aaron Ramsey has netted 11 times in 18 competitive appearances for Arsenal this season, this after scoring 11 in his previous 150 competitive appearances for the club before 2013-14.
- Of the seven players to have a league-high four assists so far this season, three are Arsenal players (Giroud, Ozil and Ramsey).
Stats complied from Yahoosport
Arsenal 2-1 Southampton
Blast from the past: