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Prediction: Arsenal vs Southampton

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

Having recorded the first win of the season at Vicarage Road, Arsenal will be hoping to extend the winning run when they take on Southampton at the Emirates. The Saints have largely struggled at the start of the new campaign and they are still searching for their first triumph.

Arsenal

Everybody agrees that Arsenal missed a glorious opportunity to end the long wait for the Premier League trophy last season when Leicester City were their only rivals, and chances are the Gunners will face a much tougher task this term. Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea not only signed some world-class footballers, but also lured arguably the three best managers in the business, with every one of them making an instant impact. Meanwhile, Arsenal have again placed faith in Arsene Wenger, who does not seem capable of taking the club any further. While summer recruits Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez should improve the quality of the squad, we seriously doubt the Gunners will have enough in them to mount a serious title challenge in what could easily prove one of the toughest Premier League campaigns in history. Arsenal did show signs of improvement after a shaky start, holding champions Leicester City to a goalless draw before defeating Watford on the road, and they will fancy their chances against out-of-sorts Southampton even though the game comes mere three days before the Champions League clash against star-studded Paris Saint-Germain.

Team News

After building his match fitness by playing for France during the international break, Olivier Giroud is expected to return to the starting line-up.

Alex Iwobi could also make the match squad after recovering from a groin problem, but Aaron Ramsey is unlikely to be risked. New signings Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez are in contention.

Southampton

Southampton did well to keep their results respectable despite selling key men season after season, but they face another challenge this term. In addition to Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama, manager Ronald Koeman also left, with former Lyon and Nice boss Claude Puel brought to replace him. The squad was strengthened with the arrivals of Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jeremy Pied and Sofiane Boufal, but it looks as though the new-look squad will need some time to gel. The Saints did not have such a difficult fixture list at the beginning of the new season and yet they could only take two points from first three games, which is definitely a cause for concern. Claude Puel would have probably liked to have had most key men available during the international break, but that was clearly not the case, with 11 players away on international duty, and that is going to be a problem ahead of the clash at the Emirates. Having been soundly beaten by Manchester United in their previous away fixture, Southampton could find it hard to fare any better against Arsenal, and we seriously doubt their winless run will end this weekend.

Team News

The good news is that all international players appear to have returned to the club unscathed, and even Fraser Forster should be fit to play after pulling out of England duty.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Arsenal failed to score in last three meetings with Southampton
  • Saints won two of those three fixtures (D1)
  • Only one team scored in their last four meetings
  • Saints are still winless this season
  • Arsenal scored three goals in two of their three fixtures this season

Conclusion

Arsenal may not have been impressive this season, but they are showing signs of improvement and should have several important players back to the side. Meanwhile, Southampton have yet to hit the ground running and they head to the Emirates low on confidence and in poor form.

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

Thu 8 Sep, 2016
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