Southampton v Arsenal - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Tuesday 28th January 2014 at 19:45. Venue: St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton.

Odds: Southampton 16/5, Draw 13/5, Arsenal 18/19

Last season: 1-1

Preview & injury news

This will be a big test for Arsenal as they currently top the Premier League table by a point with Manchester City and Chelsea in hot pursuit, whilst Southampton are no strangers to upsetting sides who harbour ambitions of winning the title and playing Champions League football. Arsenal are in pretty good form having won five league games on the bounce and continued their momentum by booking their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup after overcoming Coventry City.

Southampton seem to be getting well acquainted with ninth place as they seem to be comfortably away from the relegation scrap but a challenge for European places seems to be a big ask for the Saints this season after an impressive start. Their form has been patchy having won two and lost three of their past six league games but they also progressed to the next round of the cup. 

On the injury front, there is a chance that defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama could return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines for the Saints, but they will be without Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren who both have ankle injuries - and are not due back until March. One person they will be without is Dani Osvaldo after being banned by the club for a training ground incident.

Arsenal have their fair share of injury problems with Theo Walcott the most notable absentee as he recovers from a cruciate ligament injury. Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey both missed the FA Cup win against Coventry but there is a chance they could return to the squad for the trip to the south coast, whilst Thomas Vermalen could also be in line for a return to the squad.

Key stats

Here are the side's top scorers in the Premier League this season

Jay Rodriguez Southampton FW 9 22 1,671
Rickie Lambert Southampton FW 6 22 1,646
Adam Lallana Southampton MF 5 22 1,751
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 9 20 1,741
Aaron Ramsey Arsenal MF 8 18 1,495
Theo Walcott Arsenal MF 5 13 858

Here are their average possession statistics

NamePossession PercentageGames
Southampton 57.23 22
NamePossession PercentageGames
Arsenal 56.18 22

And the amount of clean sheets they have kept so far this season

NameClean SheetGames
Southampton 8 22
NameClean SheetGames
Arsenal 10 22

5 players to watch

Adam Lallana - With every week that goes by he seems to be in with even more of a shout of getting into Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad for Brazil. His trickery and ability to unlock defences could have a massive say as to whether or not Southampton can halt Arsenal's title charge.

Olivier Giroud - He was kept on the bench for much of Arsenal's FA Cup win over Coventry but when he was introduced he got on the scoresheet. He may be the Gunners top scorer this season but what can sometimes get overlooked is how well he brings other players into the game, which is going to be a huge asset for the league leaders at St Mary's.

Jay Rodriguez - With Osvaldo sidelined, Rodriguez will be the main man carrying the fight to the stern Arsenal back line as he looks to add to his nine goals he's notched up in this campaign so far.  

Jack Wilshere - Wilshere seems to be in fine form lately at the heart of Arsenal's midfield, especially when he's playing in advanced position. He has been a very good provider as well as a constant goal threat, so the hosts will do well to try and isolate Arsenal's number ten.

Luke Shaw - The left-back's future has been under the spotlight quite a bit in recent weeks with several high profile Premier League clubs said to be considering a bid for the youngster. Regardless, he will be a threat to Arsenal going forward and will need to 

Earlier on in the season

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton, November 2013

It was Olivier Giroud's but he had a bit of help from the opposition as Arsenal kept up the pace at the top of the table. Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc got himself in a right old mess which allowed Giroud to dispossess him and tap in to give the Gunners the lead. Southampton showed some bright spells and illustrated why they had an impressive start to the season but ultimately Arsenal were too strong as Giroud sealed all three points from the penalty spot after Jose Fonte's foul on Per Mertesacker five minutes from time. 

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