Southampton vs Arsenal. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats and more￼
With every matchday, it becomes more and more apparent that Arsenal are in serious contention for the English title, not just occasionally running the thought of a championship through their minds. The Londoners have made excellent progress and are looking to cement their lead. Next up for Arsenal is another trip to the south of England, where the Red & Whites have had a very difficult time in recent years. The previous fixture in Southampton six months ago ended in a 0-1 defeat for Mikel Arteta’s side.
It is difficult to say whether the Saints can repeat that result, but right now they are coming off a run of five games without a win, which does not exactly inspire great optimism when they face the EPL’s toughest team at the moment. However, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side are far too unpredictable – surprising when nobody expects them to do so, and disappointing when they are supposed to produce results. The game against Bournemouth was an exception to this rule, though. Southampton won the Southern derby, moving out of the relegation zone and thus easing the pressure on the person of the head coach, who has already attracted several media references in the last two weeks.
No matter how the match between Southampton and Arsenal ends, Arteta’s men will still remain in first place until at least next weekend. Which takes the pressure off Mikel Arteta’s shoulders as well.
The Saints have hosted Arsenal three times at St Mary’s in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons, twice emerging victorious from the duel. Can Hasenhüttl’s team now give a cold reception to a clearly improved version of Arteta’s crew that have a 8-match winning streak? Or will the Londoners continue their victorious quest and easily pick up another 3 points?
Southampton News & Current Form:
Southampton has never been a high flier, with the perpetual sale of their leaders and a huge focus on youth development not allowing the team to compete for high places in the table. It is very likely that the Saints will finish the 2022/23 campaign somewhere in the middle of the table as suggested by the regression to the mean based on all previous observations. Almost eleven years ago, after their promotion to the EPL from the Championship, the Saints were progressively testing the grounds to consolidate their place in the top division. In the mid-2010s, Soton even challenged to climb higher than the middle of the table and made it to the Europa League for a couple of seasons in a row. Perhaps Southampton’s greatest achievement was reaching the English League Cup final in 2017, with Manchester United edging them 3-2.
In 2021, Serbian businessman Dragan Solak bought a controlling stake in the club (80%) from Chinese tycoon Gao Jisheng for £100m. From the outset, Solak said his ambition was to build a chain of football clubs similar to that of Manchester City’s owners. The practical realization of Dragan’s wishes should be expected at least in a couple of years.
On the one hand, Ralf Hasenhüttl, as a talented follower of Ralf Rangnick’s structural ideas, will certainly not refuse to participate in a promising club project, with reinforcements and other benefits. All the more so given his tremendous integration and involvement regarding the club and its structure ( came to the club in 2017).
And on the other hand, Southampton’s management have only signed Joe Shields as head scout in July and are already allowing him to leave for Chelsea in October. Indeed, we don’t know all the intricacies of the situation, but still, where are the declared ambitions of the new bosses? Shields in his time was the scout who discovered Jadon Sancho, Liam Delap and many other talents. He would certainly do well in Southampton’s system and was at the very least well worth fighting to keep him in.
Therefore, the Saints, despite the summer shopping spree, remain on the sidelines. After their only third win of the season, which came against the in-decline Cherries (0-1), Southampton finally have a chance to take a fresh breath, climbing out of the relegation zone (15th place) with 11 points under their belt after 11 games in the EPL (goal difference 11:14).
Speaking of the core men in the Saints’ camp: Hasenhüttl’s 4-4-2 pressing structure traditionally allows full-backs (Romain Perraud and Kyle Walker-Peters) and forwards Adam Armstrong (1 goal + 1 assist) and Che Adams (4+1) to exploit their potential. Also traditionally a lot of work falls on the leader’s shoulders of James Ward-Prowse, the set-piece master, and his partner in the midfield Joe Aribo (2 goals). Former Manchester City youngster, the prospect goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, is also worth noticing.
What overshadows the seemingly budding positive momentum is that the match in Bournemouth did not go without consequences for Southampton. The main right-back, Walker-Peters, is out with an injury that could prevent him from playing against Arsenal. In addition, Ralph Hasengüttl will be missing Ainsley Maitland-Niles (an Arsenal-owned player), who is barred from playing by the rules of the loan deal. So changes to the Saints starting line-up are inevitable.
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Arsenal News & Current Form:
The Citizens are the clear favorites for the title (they have proven themselves many times over the distance), but right now, Arsenal are the strongest competitors in the race. What’s more, they are currently showing the better quality of football, regularly looking more interesting and convincing than their opponents.
However, Arsenal have more weaknesses and vulnerabilities, as the lack of depth in the squad can put a crimp in the case of injury to any key player. Still, in the spring, if the Gunners are still on par with Manchester City, we can expect to see a very dramatic denouement of the season, with the Londoners having a chance to seriously pounce on the title.
Arsenal lost away to Manchester United 1-3 in early September before starting a new winning streak of eight games. Victories in games in which the team showed a far cry from their best performance is a characteristic trait of the champions. And it seems the more mature Arsenal are not lacking in it.
In Leeds, Mikel Arteta’s side proved once again that they top the table for good reason as they defeated the hosts at Elland Road 0-1. The only goal was scored by the brilliant Bukayo Saka. The statistics prove just how tough this win, which some critics described as their worst of the season, was: xG 2,02 : 0,82; shots 16 : 9; dangerous attacks 55 : 31.
The same scenario was about to be repeated for the third time in a row, in the upcoming, rather difficult UEFA Europa League match against PSV. This time, however, the 1:0 scoreline seemed much more comfortable and stress-free, with the xG (expected goals) of 2.80 vs 0.34 clearly indicative of that.
Either way, the three recent results are evidence that Arsenal can be pragmatic and resilient, trying by all means to achieve results with as little effort as possible. The Gunners manage to distribute their forces intelligently over a highly eventful distance. That may have been the thinking behind Mikel Arteta, well aware that his options in the rotation are severely limited.
Now the Londoners are comfortably topping the tables in all their tournaments: EPL – 1st (with 27 points in 10 games played), UEL – 1st (with 12 points after 4 games, virtually guaranteeing themselves a place in the ⅛ finals). Thus, the team suffered only one defeat in 14 games – 93% win rate, the highest in Europe. The gap to second-placed Manchester City is four points.
As for Arsenal’s prospects for the upcoming match, Mikel Arteta is expected to have the same strong starting line-up that started the match in Leeds. Three players will miss the game due to injuries. Midfielders Emil Smith Rowe and Mohamed Elneny and defender Oleksandr Zinchenko will not be available.
The absence of the former Manchester City defender is the most tangible. The 25-year-old Ukrainian made 6 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions this season, scoring 1 assist; alongside Granit Xhaka (2 goals + 3 assists) and Gabriel Martinelli (4 goals + 2 assists) he formed a vital triangle at left-back and helped Arteta revive a previously inactive flank of the London side. Yet Oleksandr has now missed 5 games in succession due to injury. Zinchenko is close to returning from the sickbay, but his involvement in Sunday’s game is in doubt.
However, what makes the news much better is that wingers Bukayo Saka (4 goals + 4 assists) and Martinelli are both ready to take the field at St Mary’s (despite the high workload), these very players have been most useful in the last period. The Saints could really suffer against a trio of these guys including Gabriel Jesus (5 goals + 3 assists).
Southampton form guide: L-L-L-L-D-W
Arsenal form guide: W-W-W-W-W-W
Southampton vs Arsenal Head-To-Head Record:
The Cannoneers have won half of their last 10 league games against the Saints, with two wins for Southampton and three draws. At St Mary’s, the hosts have lost just three matches, with as many as four wins and three draws.
- 16.04.22, EPL, Southampton – Arsenal,1:0;
- 11.12.21, EPL, Arsenal – Southampton, 3:0;
- 26.01.21, EPL, Southampton – Arsenal, 1:3;
- 23.01.21, FA Cup, Southampton – Arsenal, 1:0;
- 16.12.20, EPL, Arsenal – Southampton, 1:1.
Southampton vs Arsenal Predicted XI:
Southampton possible starting lineup (4-4-2): Bazunu; Lyanco, Salisu, Caleta-Car; Elyounoussi, Ward-Prowse, S. Armstrong, Diallo, Perraud; Aribo, Adams.
Arsenal possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tomiyasu; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Jesus.
Statistical preview of the match Southampton vs Arsenal:
- In their last 10 league head-to-head games, Southampton have registered 2 wins, suffered 5 defeats and 3 draws.
- The average total goal productivity of the last 10 games is 3 (with Southampton scoring an average of 1.1 goals per game, and Arsenal – 1.9).
- Southampton have conceded in 12 of the last 13 home games.
- Southampton have scored less than 1.5 goals in each of their last 6 games.
- Southampton have scored and conceded in 6 of the last 7 home games.
- Arsenal have scored in each of their last 11 Premier League games.
- Arsenal have not lost in 10 of the last 11 Premier League games.
- Arsenal have not conceded in 4 of the last 5 Premier League away games.
- Arsenal have scored less than 2.5 goals in 4 of the last 5 away games.
What has been said before the match:
Ralph Hasenhüttl, the Southampton gaffer:
“Every game you win is crucial for self-belief and confidence. The first goal for us every year is to get to 40 points as quickly as possible so therefore you have to get points against every team, no matter how good they are.”
“Arsenal are possibly the best team in the league at the moment and are a super developed team with a lot of individual quality. But we have to have a positive mindset and at St Mary’s, we have shown we can win against teams like Arsenal and Chelsea.”
Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal gaffer:
“Well, the season has been very positive. The winning percentage is extremely high, the way we are performing is really good and we are in the position that we want to be in.”
“We are going to rotate the squad, but I cannot change 11 players in the lineup every three days, it’s crazy and we don’t have enough numbers to change 11 players in every game. We were with 15 or 16 outfield players in the last four or five weeks, so players are going to have to play. If we want robust players, they are going to have to start doing that early in their careers.”
“It’s difficult as we have a day to prepare for the game. We have watched certain games, but we haven’t finalised all of the preparation because we have a training session tomorrow and they can play in various ways. We know what we can expect from them, but we don’t have certainty over how they will start the game… Obviously there was an experience that was painful with the way the game turned out and the consequences of it. We know where the danger is with their team.”
Southampton vs Arsenal Prediction:
The match involves teams with different objectives. The Saints are trying to escape from the relegation zone, while Arsenal are leading the PL standings for the first time in a long time.
Arsenal played in the middle of the week in the Europa League, while Southampton faced Bournemouth a day earlier this Wednesday. One extra day of preparation for the Saints does not guarantee any result or better freshness anyway. Sure, the home stadium will definitely help the Saints give the Gunners a fight, but it’s unlikely the underdogs will cause much trouble in a match against the league leader. The Londoners have shown time and again that they are capable of getting three points despite a lot of things.
In the last three matches played in the English championship and the Europa League, the Red and Whites have limited themselves to one goal, which was enough to win. At St Mary’s, they may have to score more to get three points. And Arsenal, a team that is averaging 1.9 goals over the last 10 games, is well capable of doing so.
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Parimatch News staff prediction:
We say: Arsenal to win and the match total over 1.5 – Yes.