Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Arsenal
Venue: St Mary’s Stadium – Saturday, December 26 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Southampton 12/5 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 11/10
Southampton welcome Arsenal to St Mary’s Stadium for the final game of the evening in what promises to be a pulsating Boxing Day bonanza in the Premier League.
The Saints are struggling at the moment and a 2-0 defeat at home to Tottenham last weekend extended their run of games without a win to five (D1, L4).
It’s the first time Ronald Koeman has really found himself in this situation since he took over at St Mary’s and he’ll be desperate to turn things round quickly – something they are more than capable of.Embed from Getty Images
Southampton are unlikely to find themselves in a relegation scrap and will expect to bounce back, although it may not happen here against Arsenal – the Saints have failed to win against any side in the top 13 as it stands (D4, L6).
Arsenal’s crucial 2-1 win against Manchester City on Monday night saw them become favourites for the Premier League title with the bookmakers, despite still trailing first-placed Leicester by two points.
Winning games like this one at Southampton will be imperative for the Gunners if they have any serious hopes of lifting the trophy that has eluded them for over ten years.Embed from Getty Images
Arsene Wenger’s side have won three on the bounce after a slight wobble in November, which saw them pick up just two points from a possible nine.
The Gunners struggled away at West Brom and Norwich – both of which were fixtures they would have expected to win – so they must avoid a repeat of those disappointments and seek a vital three points here.
The last meeting between these two sides saw Southampton ease past Arsenal on New Year’s Day at St Mary’s with a 2-0 victory after a calamitous performance from then Gunners goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Southampton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg could return to the starting lineup in place of Paulo Gazzaniga after recovering from a toe injury.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal’s squad remains thin on the ground as they are still without the injured Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.
Southampton’s last five: L/L/D/L/L
Arsenal’s last five: L/D/W/W/W
Key Stat: Arsenal have failed to win on their last four league visits to Southampton (D3, L1).
Key Player: Olivier Giroud – The Frenchman is continuously questioned and people continue to ask whether he is good enough. But he keeps on scoring goals and producing the performances. He will hope to be on the scoresheet again on Boxing Day.Embed from Getty Images
Southampton 1-2 Arsenal – The Gunners have traditionally struggled at Southampton in recent history, but the Saints are at one of their lowest points for quite some time and come up against a confident and in-form Arsenal side.