Southampton V Arsenal The Preview
Friday, 10th Dec 2021 14:00
Saints travel up to take on the Gunners at the Emirates looking to end a winless run in the League that stretches back to November 1997 when a 78th minute goal from Danny Wallace gave us our last 3 points at Arsenal.
Saints record in North London against Arsenal is not great, aside from a couple of wins in the League Cup, we have not won at either of their grounds in 34 years in the League.
We have come close on several occasions only to be thwarted by injury time equalisers, so could this be the year we finally break this hold that the gunners seem to have over us in the League.
Given our injury issues at the moment it seems unlikely, however in adversity sometimes teams fine a fighting spirit and we have to hope that is the case on Saturday afternoon.
In goal it looks like we will have a debutant, Willy Caballero has been an emergency signing on a month long deal and he will likely make his debut, although he has barely played first team football in the last 7 years and at 40 is no spring chicken and his last game for Chelsea was 15 months ago he still looks a better bet than Harry Lewis whose only three games for the club came in the FA Cup, with ironically the last of those a 5-0 home defeat be Chelsea back in January 2017.
At the back you would hope that Ralph sticks with Tino Livramento & Kyle Walker Peters as fullbacks, although he has a choice in the centre with Jan Bednarek fit again so he has to decide whether to leave Lyanco in place alongside Salisu.
Perhaps the line up in midfield will be dictated by whether Che Adams is available or not, the Scottish striker from Leicester has a knock but could be replaced buy the Albanian striker from Slough, if there is a change up front it could mean that Ralph makes a change in the centre of the midfield and might opt for a central trio bringing in Diallo alongside James Ward Prowse and Romeu.
But although we have injury issues the squad is big enough these days to cope with it and the only real worry is whether Willy Caballero is still sharp enough to play at this level..
Arsenal have had a good run, but that has ended of late and they have lost 3 out of the last 4, the defeat at Liverpool 4-0 was no shame, but losing to Manchester United and Everton on Monday night were results they will want to forget,, they dominated for la long period at Everton but they showed their vulnerability and although they lost by only 2-1, the Toffee's had two goals disallowed by VAR that were a question of centimetres.
So it could be a winnable game for Saints, Arsenal start the day 7 points ahead of us, but truthfully we have thrown away 5 points in the last three games and we could and should have been a lot nearer to them in the table going into this game.
We have to get back to our rhythm which is about keeping it tight at the back and retaining possession and taking a chance when it comes.
Although it is hard to predict a win in this one, I have more confidence going into and doing so than I have had in many a year against the Gunners, with each year we have taken a step nearer breaking the hoodoo, perhaps it will be this year.
Photo: Action Images
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When Monday Comes #37 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #36 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #35 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #34 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #33 by wessex_exile
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