Southampton Preview: Keep the Momentum Going
While many teams across Europe are currently on breaks. There will be a series of matches in the Premier League as the traditional Boxing Day fixtures come into the fray. The day starts with Manchester United visiting the Britannia to take on a Stoke City side that has been a force at home. Both Chelsea and Manchester City has lost on this ground and with Louis van Gaal under the spotlight, this could be a make or break game for him.
After those sets of fixtures, there would be eight games played between 4.00pm and 6.30pm before Arsenal end the day with a visit to St. Mary’s Stadium to take on a Southampton side in a wretched run of form. The Saints did a Leicester last season and were in second place for a considerable chunk of the campaign, raking up clean sheets with ease as their defense was lauded for their stinginess in conceding goals. However, it hasn’t really clicked for them this season with the likes of Nathaniel Clyne leaving for Liverpool, Toby Alderweireld returning to his parent club and Morgan Schneiderlin departing to Manchester United.
Southampton have had their good moments this season, like their surprise win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and in Graziano Pelle, they have a striker that has been quite inconsistent.
Arsenal’s recent record at St. Mary’s has Ben quite shabby with the Gunners drawing two and losing one in their last visits to the ground. Last season’s fixture will be remembered for Wojciech Szczesny’s horror show on the pitch and smoking shenanigans off it.
Arsenal has been in a good run of form recently and they also had a confidence booster with a win over fellow title hopefuls, Manchester City. With Leicester City visiting Anfield to take on a Liverpool side that was shocked by Watford last week, Arsenal would be hoping that Jurgen Klopp’s side takes some points off the red-hot Foxes while they do their business in St. Mary’s. With Southampton vs Arsenal being the last match of the day, Arsenal would have known how things panned out at Anfield before kick off, which will add it’s own measure of pressure.
To team news, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that there has been no changes from an injury standpoint with the crocked folks still crocked and the fit folks still fit. I expect Wenger to start the same squad that was hugely successful against Manchester City.
It’s only to be another test of the team’s character in their bid to challenge for the Premier League title this season.
They have to keep the momentum going.