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Southampton v Arsenal preview | Emery’s injury boost, Ozil benched + prediction

By on December 16, 2018

aaron ramsey arsenal

Arsenal can extend our unbeaten run to 23 matches in all competitions with a positive result against Southampton at St Mary’s this afternoon [13.30pm kick-off].

Thursday night’s 1-0 win over Qarabag in the Europa League made it 22 games without defeat for Unai Emery’s side so we can extend that excellent run on the south coast today.

Last weekend’s narrow 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town at the Emirates kept us in touch with the top four as we currently sit level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea with only goal difference separating us.

The Blues take on Brighton today so we need to hope they slip-up at the Amex Stadium and we secure all three points at Southampton to move in to the top four and to within two points of third-placed Tottenham.

The Saints are sitting joint bottom of the table so we should usually be confident of getting a win today but Ralph Hasenhuttl was recently installed as their new manager and this will be his first home game, so you’d expect the players to up their game.

Team News

Arsenal welcome Aaron Ramsey back in to the squad after he recovered from a minor ankle injury and Mesut Ozil is also back in contention after making his comeback against Qarabag on Thursday night.

Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are suspended while Rob Holding and Dinos Mavropanos are injured so we have limited options in defence. Danny Welbeck is obviously still out with a broken foot.

Southampton can call upon Danny Ings, Shane Long and Cedric Soares after they all returned to full training but Ryan Bertrand and Jack Stephens are out through injury.

Preferred line-up

A number of players will be recalled after being rested in midweek and if Laurent Koscielny is able to play his second game in four days then we should see him line-up in a new-look back three alongside Nacho Monreal and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

I’d like to see Emery go with both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette up front with Ramsey in behind. Ozil is obviously an option but I don’t think he did enough in midweek to force his way back into Emery’s first team just yet – plus the boss clearly has concerns about playing him in away games.

This would be my line-up:

football formations

Southampton are expected to go with: McCarthy, Soares, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Targett, Hojbjerg, Lemina, Romeu, Redmond, Armstrong, Gabbiadini.

Prediction

We have a good record against Southampton as we’ve lost only 2 of our last 17 games against them, however, many of those were draws and we’ve struggled at St Mary’s recently. Hopefully the ‘new manager’ curse doesn’t strike us today but Hasenhuttl isn’t a miracle worker and Southampton have been poor this season so I’m confident we can bring home the win. Southampton 1-2 Arsenal

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