Southampton vs Arsenal
Venue: St. Mary’s
Referee: Kevin Friend
TV: BT Sport
Tuesday evening will see Arsenal visit Southampton for the second time in four days, looking to avenge their FA Cup fourth-round exit from Saturday.
Gabriel’s first-half own goal was the first Arsenal had conceded in all competitions in 2021 but was enough to see Saints through to the fifth round. Gabriel also suffered a nightmare on his previous outing against Southampton in December, getting sent off in a 1-1 draw.
Both sides named strong sides on Saturday but are expected to make further changes to field their first choice XIs on Tuesday, with a host of regulars set to return for Arsenal in particular. Southampton enter the midweek round of fixtures in 10th place, two points and one position ahead of Arsenal, who have played one game more.
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl faces a series of selection dilemmas as several of his first-team squad are unavailable. The 53-year-old Austrian confirmed on Monday that both of his first-choice full-backs would be missing, with Kyle Walker-Peters sidelined with a thigh injury and Ryan Bertrand suspended. Nathan Redmond is ready to return to the matchday squad and offers much-needed competition in midfield, though Oriol Romeu, Mohamed Salisu, Jannik Vestergaard and Moussa Djenepo remain out.
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is expected to return in place of Fraser Forster, who appears to be given the role of Cup keeper for now. The continued absence of Jannik Vestergaard combined with the ongoing injury concerns of Mohamed Salisu means Jack Stephens and Jan Bednarek look set to continue their partnership in the centre of defence, with Yan Valery and Jake Vokins likely to fill in at full-back.
With Will Smallbone, Oriol Romeu and Moussa Djenepo out and Nathan Redmond not likely to start, Saints are not expected to ring the changes in midfield. James Ward-Prowse should start with Ibrahima Diallo in the centre, with Stuart Armstrong and Theo Walcott likely to offer width.
Danny Ings and Che Adams are likely to start together in attack as they did on Saturday, hoping to put to bed their recent struggles in front of goal in the Premier League. Dan N’Lundulu and Shane Long are available if called upon, but will likely feature only from the bench.
The Gunners will again be without club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was a late withdrawal on Saturday due to an undisclosed personal issue.
Bernd Leno will continue in goal despite the competition of loan signing Mat Ryan, with several changes expected in front of him. Kieran Tierney was not involved on Saturday and is expected to return at left-back, while David Luiz could return in the centre at the expense of Rob Holding or Gabriel. Pablo Mari has been struggling with a calf injury and is set to miss out once again, while Cedric Soares and Hector Bellerin appear to be in a straight duel for the starting berth at right-back.
Like Mari, Dani Ceballos has also been struggling with a calf concern, though the Real Madrid loanee is closer to a return and will be assessed. Thomas Partey has impressed in recent weeks and will surely return on Tuesday, with one of Granit Xhaka or Mohamed Elneny likely to make way.
Mikel Arteta named an entirely changed attacking unit for Saturday’s defeat and is expected to recall all four of his regulars if Aubameyang is declared available. Emile Smith Rowe has been a star performer in recent weeks and will start in the number 10 role, while Bukayo Saka could swap the right for the left-wing if Aubameyang is missing. Nicolas Pepe, Willian and Gabriel Martinelli flattered to deceive in their cup cameos at the weekend but remain fit and available if called upon, while Eddie Nketiah will make way for Alexandre Lacazette upfront.
Head to Head Record and Stats
- All-time Premier League H2H record: Southampton 7-23 Arsenal (13 draws)
- Last 10 H2H record (all competitions): Southampton 1-5 Arsenal (4 draws)
- Southampton scored in all but one of their first 13 Premier League matches in 2020/21, but have since failed to score in four of their last five.
- Arsenal have started a calendar year with three consecutive Premier League clean sheets for only the fourth time and the first since 2011. Their record is four, achieved in 1999 and 2011.
- Southampton have scored the first Premier League goal conceded by Arsenal in a calendar year on two occasions (2013 and 2015). Only Everton (four times – 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2011) have done so more often.
Predicted Starting XIs
Southampton (4-2-2-2): McCarthy; Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand; Ward-Prowse, Diallo; Armstrong, Redmond; Ings, Adams
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Partey, Elneny; Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka; Lacazette
Score Prediction: Southampton 0-1 Arsenal
Saints came out on top on Saturday, but we are likely to see a weaker Southampton play a stronger Arsenal XI on Tuesday. I don’t think the Gunners will run away with it though, they rarely have this season.