Southampton vs Arsenal
Venue – St Mary’s Stadium
Date –1st January 2014
Time – 8:30 PM IST
Arsenal will take pride for being the only top side to post a win last week that witnessed several title contenders including the likes of Manchester United drop points. The Gunners labored to a crucial 2-1 win over a spirited West Ham side last week that saw them land in the 5th position with only goal difference keeping them out of the top 4 spots.
They now battle it out with Southampton to prove their mettle and Wenger’s side might just be slightly ahead on this one. Despite injuries to key players, Arsenal possess a plethora of talent to choose from when it comes to talented midfielders. This might just give them the edge heading into the new year’s eve fixture.
The Saints will be mighty proud of their 1-1 draw against Chelsea last week. The League leaders were certainly given a run for their money and Ronald Koeman will expect his side to put up a similar show against Arsenal. The Gunners are one of the most talented sides when it comes to counter attacking football and Koeman and his boys will be up for it at ST Mary’s. After a solid start to the season, the Saints squandered it through the midway. They look to be on a rebuilding mode as of late and a win against Arsenal could extend their purple patch streak.
Key factors in the match:
With Giroud out, Alexis Sanchez might just be the man expected to essay the striker role. He bailed them out last time against the Saints and he will once again be Wenger’s ‘man Friday’. He pace and precision has earned him a spot in the heart of Arsenal’s attack and he will also personally look to extend his menacing goal scoring streak.
The combination of Shane Long and Pelle has worked out well for the Saints upfront and they will look to target a wayward Arsenal defense. With only Mertasacker being the senior in the back line, Arsenal look a shaky side.
Mirror UK – 1-1
BBC – 1-1