Premier League Betting: Southampton v Arsenal - Fan v Fan Preview



Saints perspective: Chris Rann, George Weah's Cousin.

Team news

After mixing the selection and set-up a bit to counter the style of Stoke, it will be interesting to see if Nigel Adkins reverts to the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation to tackle the more fluid Arsenal. Expect Nathaniel Clyne to return to the team after injury and Maya Yoshida to go back to centre half. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gaston Ramirez come back into the starting lineup for that much needed creative spark as Saints look to get the ball back firmly on the ground. Adam Lallana will unfortunately still be missing.

Form

Saints find themselves back in the bottom three after Saturday, but they are much higher up in the form table. Having lost only two games in the last nine, we have put in some brilliant performances and look a far cry from the team that last faced Arsenal. Having said that, the performances against Sunderland and Fulham were disappointing. Saints have turned a corner, but they still have their share of problems.

Head-to-head

It was a 6-1 drubbing at the Emirates earlier in the season, and Saints will be hoping to put on a better show at home. There have been a couple of exciting 3-2 victories for Saints against the Gunners at home over the years, but the last time we beat Arsenal, Matt Le Tissier scored the winner….

Best bets

Over 2.5 goals at 1.60. Both sides look good going forward and leaky at the back. It could be a goalfest.

Theo Walcott to score first at 6.00. Former players ALWAYS score against Saints, and Walcott is on fire. Has Monsieur Wenger finally woken up to something Southampton fans have been screaming at him for nearly six years? Theo is a striker.

Dutch 3-2 and 2-3 at 34.00 and 19.00. 3-2 has been a popular scoreline in this fixture. If the Saints front five fire, they are capable of scoring goals at home, so we could see a thriller.

Score prediction: Southampton 2-3 Arsenal (19.00)

Predicted side

Arsenal perspective: Jamie McNicholas, Gunnerblog.

Team news

Although Abou Diaby and Andre Santos are not yet ready for first-team action, and Per Mertesacker is a little under the weather, Arsenal are in the unusual position of having their entire outfield contingent fit going in to the New Year. Only reserve goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski is unavailable through injury.  That means that should Arsene Wenger choose to, he can rotate a little in this congested part of the season.  I don't expect many changes, but he might consider bringing in Olivier Giroud after his impressive cameo against Newcastle.

Form

Arsenal have managed four league wins on the bounce, which sets them up well ahead of a tricky looking January. With ties against Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool to come, Arsenal will view this match as a must-win.

Head-to-head

In the reverse fixture at the Emirates, Arsenal hammered Southampton 6-1.  The Saints struggled to cope with Arsenal's movement and pace in attack, and considering the Gunners have just put seven past Newcastle, the signs are ominous for Nigel Adkins' side.

Best bets

Over 3.5 goals at 2.4. Southampton and Arsenal's games at the weekend featured a combined total of 16 goals. Four seems the very least this encounter should provide.

Laurent Koscielny to score first at 30.00. Assuming Per Mertesacker fails to recover from his illness, Laurent Koscielny will continue at centre-back.  His forward forays make him a good bet for a goal on any occasion.

Draw/Arsenal HT/FT at 4.8. Arsenal were drawing 1-1 with Newcastle at half-time before a crazy second half saw them run out winners. It wouldn't surprise me to see the pattern repeated at St. Mary's; the Gunners can be slow starters at times.

Score prediction: Southampton 1-3 Arsenal (14.00)

Predicted side