Arsenal on a revenge mission

Three days after the end of Arsenal’s F.A cup title defense in the fourth round, Arsenal will travel to the South-coast, to face the same opponent at the same ground, but with different aspiration, and this time, it is the will to continue climbing up on the Premier League table, and this should drive Mikel Arteta’s men for a win on Tuesday evening.

The gunners bowed out of the F.A cup race via an own goal from defender Gabriel Mangalehes, the only goal that separated the two teams at St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday, with the saints claiming an undeserved 1-0 win over the cup holders.

Mikel Arteta led the Gunners to their 14th F.A cup title barely 7 months into his reign as the coach and the Spaniard beating his former boss Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, and also won the Community Shield cup against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, but was forced to watch his men fall out of the race for the crown at St. Mary’s Stadium from a Kyle Walker’s cross which deflected off Gabriel and into the Arsenal net, to give Ralph Hansehutti’s men the win.

A morale-boosting win for the Saints will give them confidence when they host the gunners three days later as they can only boast of one victory from their last six in the top flight {excluding their big triumph over Liverpool earlier this month, a win which they would not want to forget in a jiffy} with their most recent loss against Leicester City last weekend which left Hansehutti’s men level on points with Chelsea but still sits at 10th position in the League Table.

Southampton’s defence have recorded a consecutive 4th clean sheet in all competition, with the win against Arsenal coming from the Manager’s intent to give some fringe players the chance to showcase their good intent and form, but with this, the gunners were the poor and struggling side in the game. The defeat is a devastating blow on the gunners who have let go of some big players including Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastophoulos.

Still to note that Arsenal are still one of the only five teams in the top flight to not have lost any of their last five matches, although there were whispers that they were on the verge of relegation, they have managed to turn it around even if without consistency relating to wins, but manageable even if not acceptable and/or below par for a team like Arsenal shipping just 19 goals, fourth-lowest in the division.

Victory here for Arsenal will see them move temporarily into 8th position, and this means a rejigged Arsenal must fight with all guns to secure this win against the Saints.

Farewell Mesut “Assist King” Özil

on the Southampton press…

“They are one of the most effective teams doing that like we are. It was a really intense game and we were expecting that for sure and we’re expecting it on Tuesday because they don’t really change. They are a really great team, they have a really good manager, they know exactly what they’re doing. They’ve been doing it for years now and they are good at it so we respect that and we expect a similar game on Tuesday.”

~ Mikel Arteta

THE BREAKDOWN:

TEAM NEWS:

SOUTHAMPTON:

Southampton displayed a strong lineup on Saturday and that could be evidence that Hasenhutti wants to leave a strong statement and show his intent and it would be a surprise to see changes from the team that put up a solid fight against the Gunners. However, players like Moussa Djenepo, Micheal Obafemi, Nathan Redmund, Jannik Vestergaard, and Will Smallbone as all are unfit to play due to injury.

Ralph Hasenhutti will also be without first-choice fullbacks Ryan Bertrand and Kyle Walker-Peters through suspension and injury respectively.

ARSENAL:

Skipper Pierre Aubameyang is out of the squad for a while as he has to attend to some personal matters, and it is not sure if he will be lined up in the squad today. Dani Ceballos is having a calf problem while Pablo Mari is still out to injury, but it is notable that Mikel Arteta will go back to his strong starting eleven to avoid being bitten by the same snake twice at the same spot.

Gabriel Martinelli could as well be handed another start on the left flank if Aubameyang misses out, and the return of Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, E. Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, and Alexandre Lacazette could be as well seen today.

POSSIBLE LINEUP:

Southampton possible starting lineup:

McCarthy, Valery, Bednarek, Stephens, Volkins, Walcott, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Ings, Adams.

Arsenal possible starting lineup:

Leno, Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Saka, E. Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Lacazette.

PREDICTION:

With several of the young gunners in form, and with the hunger to go top of the league and/or back into Champions League football, Arsenal will be aiming for more goals and revenge which should be beautiful.

Southampton at this stage cannot be called a walkover for any team, not after surprising Liverpool, but with hope, this should be: Arsenal conceded a goal for the first time in 8 hours game time, and have won four of their last five games, therefore selecting them for a Win or Draw is considerable, but care should be taken as this is the St. Mary’s stadium.

Southampton 1-3 Arsenal

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Gabriel Martinelli: it has been a frustrating season for the youngster, but with his known zeal and with this time, having a chance to be paired with the strong 11, his performance can be shown, and I predict an assist from him if he eventually starts.

Alexandre Lacazette: The Frenchman always has the desire to connect with midfielders and also to struggle for goals, and if chances favor him to be played as the main target man, there’s a 70% chance of him scoring. Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, and the combination of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka can possess great harm for the Saints.

Danny Ings: will be raring to go and willing to have a shot or two at Leno, but not yet finding his goal-scoring form {if he’s ever had it} for Ings to score? That would be a 2/10 chance.

Ward-Prowse: this man seems to know how to move the ball and feed it to hungry strikers, and his dead ball craft is also strong, he could have an assist on him if there’d be a goal from the Saint’s side.

Theo Walcott: he’s fast, he’s furious and seem to have a grudge against Arsenal, he scored when the two sides met in the Premier League last year, and could want to go again, but his speed’s strength will be matched by Tierney Absolutely, but he still proves a threat to the Arsenal defense.

Let’s be hopeful this one works fine for us, and we recover from the F.A cup exit

COYG

Match Preview by Adeyemo Adesola