The Premier League continues to catch up with missed matches on Wednesday night when Southampton host the FA Cup finalists Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium with the visitors in desperate need of the three points.
Southampton have been playing out time in the campaign for a while now but that isn’t the case for Arsenal who are still clinging on to feint hopes of making it into the top four come the end of the season. They have to win here for that possibility to remain in place.
Going into this match it is now four matches without a win for Southampton but they acquitted themselves relatively well at Anfield on Sunday and that should bode well for them here. I thought Sunday was all about their attitude and in fairness to them that was first class when many other sides would be on the beach by now.
Scoring goals appears to be an issue for Southampton all of a sudden which is a bit of a concern but they aren’t conceding too many at the moment which will please Claude Puel and his staff. I always think mid-table sides should look to finish a season well in order to have something to build from next season so that is Southampton’s task.
The Gunners head to Southampton off the back of a fine win over Manchester United on Sunday and they know they have to back that up for the remainder of the season. One thing which won’t help them in that quest is a run of losing five of their last six away games and even a win at Middlesbrough in between doesn’t look that great.
Arsenal have put in some really poor performances on this run too. Their ‘effort’ at Crystal Palace was one of the most shocking I’ve ever seen from them but by and large since they made the cup final they have got better. That is to be expected though I guess with a Wembley final on the horizon and places in it up for grabs.
Southampton could have Charlie Austin back from the start for this match which would be a boost both for him and the club after he has missed such a significant chunk of the season.
Laurent Koscielny is rated as a doubt for the Gunners in this match and it would be a blow to their three at the back system were he to miss the game. Danny Welbeck is pushing for a start after his goal on Sunday.
I don’t think this Arsenal run on the road can be ignored and I happen to think Arsenal match up nicely for Southampton. Southampton love to play on the counter attack and Arsenal will be more than happy to take the game to their hosts which should really suit the home side here.
Even allowing for the styles not suiting Southampton it would be hard to ignore them in this match given Arsenal’s recent home form but given that they should enjoy what they come up against here I fancy the Saints to avoid defeat if not win the game.
Back Southampton (+0.5AH) to beat Arsenal for a 4/10 stake at 1.88 with BetVictor