Arsenal are under pressure to get back to winning ways when they take on Southampton at St Mary’s this evening [6pm kick-off].
The Gunners have endured a difficult season and things haven’t gotten any better since the restart as they’ve suffered consecutive defeat to Manchester City and Brighton.
Nobody was surprised to see Arsenal lose 3-0 away to an excellent City side last week but the 2-1 defeat at Brighton on Saturday shows how far away the north Londoners are from challenging at the top level.
The defeat at the Amex Stadium has left Arsenal sitting 11th in the Premier League table but a win tonight would see them climb to ninth and to within six points of fifth-placed Manchester United.
Therefore, Mikel Arteta cannot afford another slip-up this evening if the Gunners want to stand a chance of making a late run at a European qualification place.
However, they’ll be up against a Southampton side that will be in confident mood following an impressive 3-0 win at Norwich City last time out. The Saints are now 14th and can move level on points with Arsenal with a win today.
Betting odds and tips
The bookmakers are unable to find a favourite for this game as both Southampton and Arsenal are priced at 17/10 to collect all three points. The draw is available at 5/2 and that could be an attractive bet considering Arsenal’s away form.
The Gunners have really struggled for wins on the road this season and goals haven’t been easy to come by either so a 1-1 draw at odds of 5/1 looks a good bet for this game.
Premier League football is huge in countries like Denmark and Switzerland and there will be plenty of interest in tonight’s game with the likes of Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Granit Xhaka playing. Xhaka could be an outside bet for first goalscorer at odds of 22/1 but legislation’s in the Nordics are different so anyone gambling in Switzerland, Sweden, etc, should check their rules before placing any bets.
Arsenal have a number of injury concerns for the game as goalkeeper Bernd Leno has been ruled out for up to six weeks with a knee injury and Pablo Mari is also out for a number of months with an ankle problem.
Brazilian attacker Gabriel Martinelli is also ruled out for several months with a knee injury and Lucas Torreira, Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers are all still missing through injury. David Luiz is also out as he serves the final game of his two-match suspension.
However, there could be some positive news for Arsenal as Granit Xhaka and Sokratis are both back in training and could return to action tonight.
Southampton have a lot fewer injury concerns to worry about as they have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from after Shane Long recovered from a muscle problem – although Moussa Djenepo is unavailable due to suspension.
Southampton have taken just 14 points from their 15 home league games this season but Arsenal have won just one of their last eight visits to St Mary’s [W1 D4 L3] so this is poised to be an intriguing game.
Arteta desperately needs a win to get Arsenal’s campaign back on track but they are struggling with injuries and a lack of confidence in the squad. If there is to be a winner I’d just pick Arsenal but predict the game to end in a 1-1 draw this evening.