SOUTHAMPTON V ARSENAL – ST. MARY’S STADIUM AT 13:30 (UTC/GMT)
Arsenal will travel to the south coast with optimism after going unbeaten in their last 21 matches. Unai Emery had replaced former manager Arsene Wenger last summer and has since integrated well into the club with remarkable speed.
Southampton’s Ralph Hasenhüttl only had two days with the squad before the opening game, so it is quite a surprise to see him make six changes for the trip to Wales. The Saints significantly improved after the weeks long international break.
The Saints are winless in their last six matches. in the previous month, they shared a draw with Watford 1-1 in the Premier League, then lost 2-3 to Fulham, despite leading the first 18 minutes. They then made a goalless draw with Leicester at the Carabao Cup, and remarkably held Manchester United into a 2-2 draw. In the current month, they lost to Tottenham 1-3, and Cardiff at 0-1.
Meanwhile, Arsenal is great with their 21 unbeaten matches. Fresh from their 1-0 victory over Qarabag, they are able to hold Man United to a 2-2 draw – their common denominator with Southampton. Just a week ago, they humiliated Tottenham in the Premier League, scoring a 4-2 win. They also defeated Bournemouth when they netted 2-1.
– Bukayo Saka made his first start for the Gunners on the left wing in a 1-0 Europa League win against Qarabag.
– Southampton began life under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl with a tame 1-0 Premier League defeat at fellow strugglers Cardiff City.
– Unai Emery used a blend of youngsters and players returning from injury against Qarabag. In an otherwise dull match, 19-year-old Eddie Nketiah showed off.
– Lucas Torreira leapt to volley home a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cross to secure all three points for the Gunners.
– Arsenal finished Europa group stage unbeaten. First-half goal from Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over FK Qarabag in Europa League Group E action.
– Spurs face struggling Southampton, who have former goalkeeper Kelvin Davis in caretaker charge following the sacking of Mark Hughes.
PROBABLE FORMATION AND STARTING XI
Alex McCarthy, Yann Valery Valery, Jan Bednarek, Jannik Vestergaard, Matt Targett, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Oriol Romeu, Mario Lemina, Nathan Redmond, Stuart Armstrong, Charlie Austin
Emiliano Martinez, Carl Jenkinson, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock, Edward Nketiah, Mesut Özil, Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette
Stuart Armstrong made the first two goals for the Saints in their match against Fulham. Despite the good start though, they were not able to prevent the 3-2 defeat. He, nevertheless, gave the team an 18th-minute lead and only equalized by the 54th minute after Mitrovic and Schurrle gave Fulham the 2-1 half-time lead.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg is one of Southampton’s best midfielder, despite his recent personal rambles and issues within the team. With his shots on target at 50%, he is not going anywhere and will continue to be a top weapon of the Saints to defend their unbeaten run.
Alexandre Lacazette scored the only goal that Arsenal had in their most recent match with Qarabag. His performance passed without any notable event taking place which made it ideal under the circumstance. The goal was crucial for the team as it extended Arsenal’s staggering 21-time unbeaten run.
Mesut Özil had recently made his return from a back injury on Thursday, and even helped Lacazette to make the winning goal. He, however, declined in performance and had failed to impress Emery in his return. But the midfielder is not going anywhere with his shots on target at 80%, while his main power is giving assists.
Southampton 1-3 Arsenal
Premier League saw them beat the likes of Tottenham by 4-2, and held Man City into a draw. Arsenal’s 21 unbeaten streak in not going to stop at this point. Unai Emery doing a really great job as the squad’s brain this current Premier League season. Southampton, on the other hand, is winless in their six matches. Defeated by the Spurs and Cardiff City in their last two games, the Saints will be capping their first losing streak for the month.
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