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Preview: Southampton v Arsenal: team news update, line-ups & prediction

By on December 10, 2017

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Arsenal desperately need a win to climb in to the top four when we take on Southampton at St Mary’s this afternoon [assuming the game goes ahead despite the snow].

We slipped to sixth after Tottenham beat Stoke yesterday but we can leapfrog our rivals and Liverpool in to fourth with a win today ahead of the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Last weekend’s defeat to Man Utd was HUGELY frustrating as we had the opportunities to comfortably win that game but some shocking defending and world class goalkeeping cost us.

It’s important we put that result behind us and focus on the positive which is we looked excellent going forward so hopefully the boys can reproduce that kind of form today.

The first team players should be well rested as they watched the second string thrash BATE 6-0 on Thursday night in the Europa League so there can be no excuses.

Southampton currently sit 12th in the division after drawing with Bournemouth last weekend but they were unlucky to lose to City recently so we should know this will be a tough game.

Team News

Cech, Koscielny, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette were all rested in midweek so they should get recalls this afternoon.

Mustafi has been ruled out after suffering a thigh injury against United so Mertesacker is expected to come in after not featuring against BATE.

Otherwise, the squad is in great health with Cazorla our only other major injury concern with the midfielder still recovering from his Achilles injury.

As for Southampton, they’ll be without Cedric Soares due to a hamstring injury but boss Mauricio Pellegrino has no other major injury concerns.

Preferred line-up

Wenger went with a back four on Thursday but he’s expected to revert to a 3-4-2-1 today and most of the team picks itself these days. The one contentious area if who replaces Mustafi but I think Mertesacker would be a solid option due to his experience and dependability.

I’d love to see Wilshere given a chance in central midfield but he played 90 [excellent] minutes on Thursday so it wouldn’t be wise to start him again so soon.

Ozil has been superb in recent games so hopefully he can continue his fine form while it’s difficult to leave Sanchez out given his obvious quality.

This would be my line-up:

Southampton XI: Forster, Pied, Van Dijk, Hoedt, Bertrand, Romeu, David, Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Boufal, Austin

Prediction

We won at St Mary’s last season but that was our first victory in six visits so this isn’t an easy place for us to go. They can be a dangerous side on their day but if we attack like we did against United I’m confident we can score a couple of goals. The key is keeping it tight at the back and cutting out the silly errors. I’m going for a narrow 2-1 win. Southampton 1-2 Arsenal

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