After securing Europa League knock out football with a 1-0-win last night over PSV, Arsenal can get back to their impressive Premier League campaign with a visit to St Mary’s. Thursday’s win was an eight successive win across the 2 competitions since Arteta’s team were beaten at Old Trafford in September.
Because of their impressive form Arsenal are priced at 11/20 to beat Southampton on Sunday as per Bet365, which is one of the more generous bookmakers in terms of odds according to this review of Bet365 Canada. Southampton having suffered of late will be buoyed by a narrow win in a South-Coast derby with Brighton, but it is hard to see them troubling the league leaders.
The only minor advantage for The Saints will be the extra day’s rest after playing on Wednesday, and only having the short trip home from Sussex to Hampshire. Arsenal played a slightly stronger team than of late in the Europa League, give the stronger Dutch opposition, so several Premier League regulars were utilised. Thankfully only Gabriel and Xhaka, played the full match but Jesus, Martinelli, Partey,Odegaard, Tomiyasu, White and Saka all featured. The biggest concern will be Bukayo Saka who appeared to pick up a knock or muscle strain late in the match.
Arteta has today confirmed there is some concern over the young England star but has equally been unapologetic for continuously playing his talismanic winger. Arsenal fans are definitely worried at the amount of football Saka is being forced to play as Arteta has loaned Pepe would was covering him last season and seems not to believe summer addition Marquinhos is ready.
With only a handful of matches until we break for the Qatar World Cup, we will have to hope Saka can keep going. I am sure England boss will be watching with interest as well, delighted by the player’s form, but concerned at his continued fitness. If Saka is ruled out or rested for the trip to Southampton, I imagine, Nketiah might be brought in, which may see Gabriel Jesus play on the right where his was often deployed by Pep Guardiola for Man City last season.
The other big selection decision for Arsenal’s boss will be a left back. Zinchencko who has been first choice still seems to struggling with his calf injury and even is passed fit, will not be risked from the start. This leaves a straight choice between Kieran Tierney, who played his 100th match for the Gunners last night and Tomiyasu, who although customarily a right back has been selected ahead of the Scot in the last 2 Premier League outings. Whilst the Japanese international playing on the left against Liverpool did an amazing job to neutralise Salah in the victory over Liverpool, most Arsenal fans felt he looked less convincing there in the narrow win at Leeds last time out. For this reason, I hope it is Tierney who gets the nod on Sunday.
I predict this 11 and a narrow 2-1 victory to keep Arsenal firmly at the top of the Premier League
Ramsdale, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard, Martinelli, Jesus, Nketiah.
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