It’s the clash of table toppers versus bottom-placed clubs in the Premier League this weekend the twentieth-placed Southampton take on first-placed Arsenal.
The shadow of another bottle job looms over London as Arsenal prepares to host the soon-to-be-relegated Southampton.
Dropping points in back-to-back matches has awoken the haunting memories of Arsenal choking at the business end of tournaments.
Mikel Arteta’s side were flying high until the start of April when the Gunners netted four past Leeds in their 4-1 victory in the Premier League encounter.
After a Round of 16 exit from the Europa League at the hands of Sporting CP, hopes of clinching the Premier League after a nearly two-decade drought rose higher in the hearts of Gooners.
However, two straight 2-2 draws now see Arsenal barely apart from Manchester City. With an extra game played, the point gap between the first and second-placed teams has been cut down to a meager 4. With Arsenal scheduled to make a trip to Etihad, fans couldn’t be any less horrified of another choke from the London outfit.
Southampton on the other hand have looked bound for relegation all season long. Having lost 20 games so far this season, the Saints are having one of their worst periods in the Premier League ever.
Ruben Selles’ side currently have the second-worst goal difference in the league (-29) and with seven games to go, the Saints look destined for The Championship next season.
Four points behind safety, all is not lost for Selles and Co, but their recent run of form, which suggests zero victories since the start of March, does not give any hope to the fans.
Last 5 Games
Arsenal’s title charge has been put to a halt in their last two games, which saw Arteta’s side drop points to Liverpool and West Ham in succession. Their most recent draw against the Hammers was even more painful which saw the Gunners bottle their 2-0 lead. With that, the last five outings saw Arsenal secure two wins, two draws, and a Europa League loss against Sporting.
Southampton have been winless since their 1-0 win over Leicester at the beginning of March. Their last outing was a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace which now translates their recent record to four losses and a single draw.
Draw: 2-2 vs West Ham
Draw: 2-2 vs Liverpool
Win: 4-1 vs Leeds
Win: 4-1 vs Crystal Palace
Loss: 1(3)-1(5) vs Sporting
Loss: 0-2 vs Crystal Palace
Loss: 1-4 vs Manchester City
Loss: 0-1 vs West Ham
Draw: 3-3 vs Tottenham
Loss: 0-2 vs Brentford
Head To Head
Arsenal have been the better of the two sides when it comes to their head-to-head record. Over the 105 occasions where Arsenal have faced Southampton, the Gunners have come out on top in 53 of them. 23 have gone in favor of Southampton, whereas 29 matchups have witnessed the spoils being shared.
Southampton surprisingly salvaged favorable results in their last two clashes against the London-based club. The last meeting between the two sides earlier this season ended in a 1-1 draw whereas Southampton scraped a 1-0 victory over the Gunners later in the 21/22 season.
The last time Arsenal got the better of the Saints was in their first meet of the 2021/22 season which saw Arteta’s men secure a 3-0 victory over Southampton.
While Tomiyasu and Elneny are certainly ruled out of the fixture, Arsenal were hit with one of the bigger blows with the injury to their star defender William Saliba. The Frenchman continues to heal and is expected to return by the end of April. Zinchenko is doubtful for the game
The Saints’ camp is another which is plagued with injuries. Do not expect to see Larios, Livramento, Orsic, or Salisu as the group remains sidelined due to injury. Che Adams could make his return to the squad, whereas Maitland-Niles is not eligible to participate in the fixture against his parent club.
Ramsdale (GK), Tierny, Holding, Gabriel, White, Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
Bazunu (GK), Bednarek, Kyle Walker-Peters, Bella-Kotchap, Ward-Prowse, Perraud, Aribo, Alcaraz, Lavia, Sulemana, and Walcott.
Where Will The Game Be Decided?
Zinchenko’s return could boost Arsenal’s left side of attack. Given Martinelli’s sensational form at the moment, a moment of magic from the Brazilian could be enough to see the hosts get past the Saints.
Alongside Martinelli is his countryman Jesus and Arsenal’s Starboy Bukayo Saka. The front three at its best, partnered with skipper Martin Odegaard are enough to wreak havoc on a defense that has conceded 53 goals this season.
Arsenal needs a boost of confidence after dropping points in succession. We’re backing Arteta’s men to bounce back in some fashion and make easy work of the lowly Southampton.
Given Southampton’s recent run of form, we also fancy the game to feature goals only at Arsenal’s end.
Our Predictions: Arsenal 3-0 Southampton
Arsenal to win: 7/32
Southampton to win: 14/1
*By UniBet. At the time of writing.
The odds firmly back Arsenal to walk out of the fixture with all three points. The probability of over 2.5 goals being scored is currently priced at 8/15(65.2%).
One can also place their bets on Arsenal to be the lone scorer in the fixture. Stake back this probability by 4/5(1.80).
The game kicks off at 20:00GMT inside the Emirates Stadium. Simon Hooper will be the referee, whereas Nick Greenhalgh has been appointed as the VAR.