What a Sunday we have in store with three Premier League fixtures on the menu this afternoon, the starter takes us to the South Coast as Southampton play host to Arsenal at The Emirates with Mauricio Pellegrino’s men looking for a first win in three matches.
While The Gunners will be looking to bounce back from defeat to Manchester United in a game that simply defied any logic. 33 shots the North London outfit had as they laid siege on David De Gea’s goal, but they still managed to come away from the game empty handed.
EDIT: I wrote the above and then got too hungover. Big thanks to the BBC for the rest
Southampton defender Cedric Soares remains unavailable because of a hamstring injury.
Jeremy Pied is expected to deputise once more at right-back, while forward Shane Long is a doubt with a calf problem.
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi is out due to a thigh injury sustained against Manchester United last weekend.
Manager Arsene Wenger will recall a number of regulars who were rested for Thursday’s Europa League victory.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
Conor McNamara: “Mauricio Pellegrino has had just one win in six games. Already in 2017, Southampton have been beaten twice by Arsenal at St Mary’s. The club have never lost three times at home to the same opponent in a calendar year in all competitions.
“Arsenal’s defeat by Manchester United pushed them out of the top four. The form of the teams above has added real jeopardy to their pursuit of a Champions League place.
“The Europa League doesn’t quite cut it for fans who had grown used to 20 consecutive years in Europe’s premier competition. Thursday’s crowd was Arsenal’s lowest at The Emirates since the move from Highbury.”
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY
Southampton head coach Mauricio Pellegrino: “We have to create chances to try and find in every single game a different solution, different ways to try to attack.
“I hope Charlie Austin can continue in the same way. He is in great goalscoring form and his confidence is high.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “At the moment we have different worries than the title. After such disappointment [losing to Manchester United], you have to think about winning the next game.
“We are too far from the title at the moment to speak about the title. It’s not realistic.
“Let’s try to win our next game and over a longer distance see if we can come back.”
Southampton came back to get a point against Bournemouth last week and I am going to go for another draw here.
I don’t think Saints will test Arsenal’s defence in the same way United did, but they won’t give too much away at the back either.
- Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game
- Southampton’s 2-0 defeat at St Mary’s in May was their first in six Premier League home games against Arsenal (W2, D3).
- Arsenal haven’t won successive away league games against Southampton since 1997.
- The Gunners also won 5-0 at Saints in an FA Cup fourth-round tie in January.
- Southampton have won one of their last six league matches, drawing two and losing three.
- Saints have scored just 23 goals in 26 league matches since the start of April, and just 10 in their last 15 home league matches.
- They could earn back-to-back home league wins for the first time this year.
- Fraser Forster has conceded just five goals in his five Premier League games against Arsenal, despite the Gunners having 30 shots on target.
- Charlie Austin has scored seven goals in his last 10 Premier League starts for Southampton, including three in his last two.
- Austin has scored in his previous two Premier League appearances against Arsenal, but ended up on the losing side for QPR on both occasions.
- Arsenal have won seven of their last 10 league matches, losing three.
- The Gunners have only won two of their seven away league matches this season (D1, L4).
- Arsenal’s tally of 11 league defeats in 2017 is their worst in a calendar year under Arsene Wenger and includes nine away losses.
- Only Alexis Sanchez (9) and Ian Wright (10) have scored more goals in their first 15 Premier League appearances for Arsenal than Alexandre Lacazette’s tally of eight.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – do you agree?
Time for some Sunday scientific Premier League polls
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 8, 2017