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Can Southampton end Arsenal’s fantastic winning run?
Arsenal to win 2-0
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Southampton, St Mary's StadiumBet Now
Arsenal have continued their phenomenal start to the season in fine form lately.
Since that defeat to Manchester United in September, the Gunners have gone on an impressive winning run that has brought them eight successive victories domestically and in Europe.
Helped by Manchester City’s loss to Liverpool last weekend, Arsenal extended their lead to four points, ensuring that whatever happens here they will remain on top four at least another week.
Arteta will want his side to push down the accelerator though – he will smell an opportunity against this opponent.
Southampton earned their third win of the season in midweek, although it was only their first in seven games. It has been a poor run for Ralph Hasenhuttl, who has continually faced calls to get the sack.
He remains, however, and his players will take some confidence into this one.
Reasons to be cheerful:
Beat Arsenal at home last season
Have shown they can beat big teams in the league previously
Reasons to be fearful:
Have conceded seven goals in their last four
Bella-Kotchap is a big miss at the back
Such has been Southampton’s struggles of late, it came as a surprise when they beat Bournemouth in their midweek clash.
It was their first clean sheet of the season in the Premier League, and represented an element of calm and composure that we’ve not seen from Hasenhuttl’s men much in the past year or so.
Che Adams took his goal well, Southampton’s away strike in four games, but it was the rest of the team that also impressed.
Armel Bella-Kotchap, who has been hailed as a great signing this summer, was missing at centre-back, although Duje Caleta-Car came in and impressed on his second start of the season.
There is a hope that this can be the turning point for Southampton, although we have said the same thing on several occasions over Hasenhuttl’s reign.
Against Arsenal, they must play at their very best to stand a chance. The Saints have beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool at home in recent years, although this will be a very stern test.
Star Man – Che Adams
The Scottish forward headed home impressively against Bournemouth for his third goal of the season. The Saints need more quality in the final third, and Adams needs support from the likes of Armstrong.
Reasons to be cheerful
Eight straight wins shows confidence flowing through the team
Four of their last five games have come with a clean sheet
Reasons to be fearful
Last their last game to Southampton
Will have City breathing down their neck if they don’t win here
For those that keep suggesting that Arsenal will crumble, the signs are that Mikel Arteta’s men are continuing to go from strength to strength right now.
It has helped that their midweek fixture against Manchester City was postponed due to a Europa League game that the Gunners needed to complete.
It means that their kind run of fixtures has continued. Much has been made of this run, although they have beaten Liverpool and Tottenham along the way. It does mean that they’ll need to face City twice in the New Year, however.
It does mean that, apart from a clash against Chelsea next month, Arsenal’s fixture list isn’t as daunting as it might have been. Southampton are followed by Forest, Brighton and Wolves, as well as Chelsea.
Here, you would expect Arsenal to be at their free flowing best against a team that has struggled to score at times this season
Star Man – Gabriel Jesus
Only has one goal from his nine appearances against Southampton in a Manchester City shirt, but Gabriel Jesus is at the peak of his powers for Arsenal.
Arsenal will boss possession
Saints must stay in touch for as long as possible
First goal will be crucial
After such a sensational start to the season, Arsenal will come here full of confidence and expectation of claiming three points.
Despite their poor form to date, Southampton’s midweek win over Bournemouth means that they aren’t as low as they would have been a week or so ago.
They have previously beaten the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool over recent seasons, so these players will have a certain level of belief coming into the game.
However, if Arsenal turn up as we know they can, they should win.
Arsenal to win 2-0
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