- Over 2.5 goals hit the net in three of the last four meetings between Southampton and Arsenal
- Arsenal won just one of their last 14 Premier League away games.
- Southampton won just one of their most recent four home fixtures.
- Arsenal and Southampton drew 2-2 when they last faced off in November.
Saint start with a bang
Southampton exploded out of the blocks in the opening weekend of Project Restart, cruising to a 3-0 win at bottom club Norwich City in what was an impressively dominant display.
Strikes from Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond helped Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side to run up a convincing final scoreline in what was Southampton’s biggest Premier League win of the season so far.
The victory pushed the Saints up to 14th spot and to within touching distance the top half – in fact, a win against Thursday’s opponents Arsenal would draw Southampton level on 40 points with the Gunners, who are currently 10th.
Southampton’s form at home had stuttered badly in the weeks leading up to football’s postponement however, and the Saints signed off on the coast with three defeats in four in front of their supporters.
However, their triumph at Carrow Road should have a galvanising effect on their confidence ahead of a clash with a vulnerable looking Arsenal outfit.
Sheffield United limp back into action
The Gunners will contest their third Premier League away assignment on spin on Thursday, and Arsenal’s road tour since the resumption of play could hardly have gone worse so far.
After they were thumped 3-0 at Man City in their catch-up fixture last week, Arsenal were beaten late on at Brighton in their next game – and their misery was compounded by the loss of key first choice stopper Bernd Leno to injury.
Following their back-to-back humblings, Arsenal’s away record now reads a dreadful one win in 14 attempts since late August – a dismal sequence they will struggle to improve at Southampton this week.
Exciting contest in store
When Southampton and Arsenal went toe-to-toe in last year’s reverse league meeting between the pair, the spoils were shared after a pulsating 2-2 draw in North London – though the Saints were much the better team throughout, racking up 21 shots to their host’s 12.
That was the third time in four meetings between the clubs that saw four or more goals scored – and we think their latest encounter on Thursday promises to be just as goal laden.
Southampton showed at Norwich that they have genuine quality in forward areas when everything clicks, and having watched the Gunners conceded five times in their matches at Man City and Burnley, they will smell blood this week.
With their tails up, the Saints will likely go for the jugular against an Arsenal team with a lengthy list of defensive absentees, and that will in turn free up space for the Gunners to counter. That combination of factors should ensure that we see plenty of goalscoring chances at either end.
Over 2.5 goals were scored in 75% of the last four clashes between Southampton and Arsenal, and the evidence suggests their latest tussle should follow suit. Our correct score prediction of 2-2 also ties in with that train of thought.
While wins on the road for Arsenal are rare occurrences, they had managed to avoid defeat for seven straight away games before their double aberration this week.
The Gunners drew a notable six of those seven fixtures – in fact, no Premier League club has drawn more often as the visiting team this season, and we’re backing Arteta’s charges to carve out another point for themselves at St. Mary’s this week.
Key Battle – Danny Ings vs Shkodran Mustafi
Danny Ings has enjoyed a superb 2019/20 campaign for Southampton, and his opener at Norwich last weekend was his 16th Premier League goal of an increasingly productive season.
Remarkably, 14 of Ings’s 16 goals this term were the Saints’ first strikes in their respective games – further highlighting just how vital the ex-Liverpool forward has been for them.
Shkodran Mustafi will have a tough time keeping the shackles on Ings on Thursday, and with defensive cover around the German light, the often-wobbly centre-half could be in for quite an evening on the south coast.
Southampton vs Arsenal team news
Moussa Djenepo is still suspended after his red card in Southampton’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle before March’s postponement, while striker Shane Long is the Saints’ only injury concern.
After their fine showing at Norwich City last weekend, Ralph Hasenhüttl could choose to keep faith the same XI that served him so well.
Southampton predicted line-up: McCarthy, Valery, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Ings, Obafemi
Arsenal have major selection problems to contend with ahead of Thursday’s game, with first choice keeper Bernd Leno and defenders Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Sokratis and Cedric Soares all likely to miss out.
David Luiz also missed out through suspsension, while holding midfielders Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira are also sidelined.
Arsenal predicted line-up: Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Tierney, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Saka, Pepe, Nketiah, Aubameyang