Match this evening on Emirates may not have a strong smell of revenge. When Arsenal and Southampton last time they met, the Gunners took the field with an emphatic 4-0 defeat by Boxing Day, thus missing an opportunity to overtake Leicester City and climb at the top of the Premier League standings.
Five parties have passed since then, and things in the top league are largely similar. Leicester has a lead of three points against Manchester City and Arsenal in the close season and most interesting. The three leading bands from accumulated at Christmas only 29 points from the 54 available, and with 15 rounds before the final battle is more open than ever.
Any lost points in matches that at Southampton may prove crucial to Arsenal, who enters this showdown after a 2-1 victory in front of Burnley in the FA Cup this weekend. On the other side, Southampton had a ten-day break after the match win away from Manchester United 1-0, are no longer involved in the cup.
Shape guests this evening is very good, they managed three wins and as many clean sheets in the last three consecutive matches and winning three of the last four meetings with Arsenal since Ronald Koeman is manager. However, the land Arsenal, Southampton surprise succeeded only once in the last 21 trips, and before the derby with Chelsea, the Londoners had not been beaten at home in the league since August.
Regarding issues lot, Arsenal can not continue to count on the presence of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla’s, the two being a few weeks of complete recovery. Another bad news is Tomas Rosicky suffered a relapse weekend, when checked first appearance of the season for the team, he will be absent again for a while. Czech 35 year old could leave the team at the end of the season.
“The last time gave us a tough game and we need to correct this,” said McClaren before the match. “They dominated duels. We were coming after a very difficult game at Manchester City and I may not have had the strength to cope. I also had bad luck with referees’ decisions regarding three goals. This time the message is that we are playing at home and we want to make things right, to play well, because the force that will show the remaining home games can be decisive. It is a very important time of the season. Here are some great matches everything. ”
Southampton will come absent Emirates without three long – Jay Rodriguez and Gaston Ramirez Florin Gardoş, but without Steven Davis. Graziano Pelle could return to the scoresheet after the game absence with United.
Coach told guests: “We played against Arsenal four times before Tuesday and won three of them. I won both home and away game in the League Cup. I lost 1-0 the last second in the Premier League last season, which means it closely, even if they are struggling title and we do not. We showed that we can compete against them and that we are a tough team to beat. We want to be as Tuesday. We believe in our qualities. It’s always hard for the opponent to beat Southampton. It’s why I had some good results in recent weeks, and we want to continue that. We obtained an excellent result at home to Arsenal not long ago. They will try to show that they are better team, but we know it is not easy to beat Southampton. ”
The match will be played at 21:45 and will be broadcast on Romanian territory. The referee Lee Mason will be confrontation.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech – Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal – Coquelin, Ramsey – Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez – Giroud
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Forster – Cedric Van Dijk, Fonte, Bertrand – Wanyama Class – Tadic, Mane, Targett – Austin