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Dec 11, 2021 at 3pm UK
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Preview: Arsenal vs. Southampton - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Arsenal vs. Southampton - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Southampton, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With the pressure weighing heavier on Mikel Arteta's shoulders, Arsenal aim to return to winning ways during Saturday lunchtime's Premier League clash with Southampton at the Emirates.

The Gunners fell to a 2-1 defeat to Everton in midweek, while Ralph Hasenhuttl's side were forced to settle for a point against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Match preview

The 'soft underbelly' of Arsenal was once again exposed at Goodison Park, where an Everton side previously on one of their worst Premier League runs since the turn of the millennium claimed a deserved three points over the woeful Gunners.

A first half devoid of any real attacking quality ended 1-0 to the Gunners thanks to Martin Odegaard's strike on the stroke of the whistle, but Richarlison - who had two goals ruled out on the day - and Demarai Gray turned the game on its head as Arsenal once again failed to hold on to a slender lead.

There was an air of controversy surrounding an unpunished stamp by Ben Godfrey in the face of Takehiro Tomiyasu, but on an evening where Eddie Nketiah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both wasted gilt-edged chances to tie the game, Arsenal got what they deserved - nothing.

A pair of defeats since the start of the month has seen the North London outfit slip to seventh in the Premier League table - four points off the top four - but thankfully for the home crowd this weekend, most of their torrid fortunes have come on the road.

Indeed, Arsenal have won seven of their last eight home games in all tournaments at the Emirates - including each of their last three in the Premier League - and these are the fixtures where the Gunners have typically excelled this season.

Talk about a heart-breaking way to throw away all three points - Southampton's South Coast battle with Brighton was heading in the right direction when Armando Broja put the Saints ahead, but the Seagulls swooped to steal a draw just before the 100th minute of the contest.

Jakub Moder reacted quickly following a blocked free kick to pick out Neal Maupay in the box, and the wind-up merchant fired home to extend Southampton's winless run and lead them to just look over their shoulder with a little more apprehension.

The Saints have now drawn two and lost two of their last four in the top flight ahead of their trip to the Emirates and occupy 16th place in the standings as a result - just six points above 18th-placed Burnley having played a game more.

While Arsenal have consistently produced the goods at home this term, Southampton have failed to perform on the road time and time again, losing 14 of their 18 Premier League away games since the turn of the year - not since 2004 have they lost more (15) in a calendar year.

However, Southampton managed to hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw in North London this time last year prior to ending the defence of their FA Cup crown, but the Gunners prevailed 3-1 at St Mary's in the most recent meeting and have never lost at home to the Saints in the Premier League.

Arsenal Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Southampton Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

Arsenal welcomed Granit Xhaka back to the team way ahead of schedule in the Everton defeat, and Gabriel Martinelli has been passed fit despite a recent injury scare.

Sead Kolasinac remains on the sidelines, while second-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno remains a doubt, but Arteta is hopeful of welcoming Emile Smith Rowe back to the team after he missed the game at Goodison Park.

Nketiah, Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette all failed to impress on Merseyside, and the Gunners captain will reportedly miss this game, so Martinelli may start as the focal point of the attack.

As for Southampton, Oriol Romeu and Mohamed Salisu will both miss out due to suspension, with Ibrahima Diallo and Jack Stephens ready to deputise for the pair at the Emirates.

Stuart Armstrong and Jan Bednarek continue to struggle with calf problems, and with Fraser Forster and Alex McCarthy both out of contention, new signing Willy Caballero - at the ripe old age of 40 - ought to make his debut for the club here.

Theo Walcott will likely have to settle for a bench role against his former club, and Che Adams picked up a recent knock in training, which could see Adam Armstrong partner Broja up top.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Martinelli

Southampton possible starting lineup:
Caballero; Livramento, Lyanco, Stephens, Walker-Peters; Redmond, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi; A. Armstrong, Broja

We say: Arsenal 2-0 Southampton

Given Arsenal's consistent spell of good fortunes at home and Southampton's inability to make their travels worthwhile, this is the perfect opportunity for the Gunners to return to winning ways - not that it will do much good for Arteta's standing with the fans.

Should the Gunners learn from their mistakes of the past few weeks and attempt to kill the game off if 1-0 up, we ought to see Arteta's side return to winning ways in comfortable fashion.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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