Arsenal are coming off an important Thursday night victory over BATE Borisov, sending the Gunners through to the last 16 of the Europa League. Advancing in Europe will come as a relief after an incredibly poor first leg, but they’ll have to move on and refocus on their domestic competition. The race for the top four is incredibly tight and they cannot afford to drop points at home to teams like Southampton if they are going to finish inside that top four.
Southampton are involved in their own right race, but theirs is at the bottom of the table. The Saints are one point away from escaping the relegation zone and could jump as high as 13th with a win. Getting anything from a match at the Emirates will be incredibly difficult, but they already beat Arsenal once this season. Another win over the Gunners would be huge in Southampton’s quest for safety.
Arsenal will be without Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck with long term injuries. Laurent Koscielny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles will both have late fitness tests, according to Physioroom.com.
The Saints will be without Danny Ings and Mario Lemina for at least another week, according to Physioroom.com. Michael Obafemi is a doubt for the match as well, according to Physioroom.com.
Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be Arsenal’s top scorer, but Lacazette will be fresh and ready to prove a point after he had to miss their Europa League game through suspension. The Frenchman let the team down with his late red card away to BATE. He will be desperate to make up for his mistake against the Saints. He’s been in good form in the Premier League in the last month and he’ll hope it can continue on Sunday.
Southampton: Charlie Austin
Southampton have struggled to find a consistent striker for a few seasons now. Their win over Arsenal in December came from them getting contributions from up top. All three of their goals were scored by strikers, including the final one from Austin. He has a great record against Arsenal and they have a leaky defense that he can find a way to exploit.
Arsenal have had their struggles this season, but most of those have come away from home. They have more talent and are a very good team at home, so they should have the advantage in this one.
Prediction: 3-1 Arsenal