Arsenal vs. Southampton
English Premier League
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
11.45 AM PT/2.45 PM ET/7.45 PM BT
Emirates Stadium, London
Current Form ARS One game winning streak! | SOU Surprisingly good with a dip in the last two games
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I think it's safe to say that nobody saw Southampton as a top four challenger this season. They've had a relatively easy schedule, sure, but they've also managed to score more goals than Manchester City and Chelsea. That's a bit deceptive, though - since destroying Sunderland 8-0 in mid-October, Soton have only scored five in five matches, and in those five, only managed to score more than one in the 2-0 win against Leicester at the beginning of November. When you add to that the fact that their engine and arguably best player, Morgan Schneiderlin, is out with an adductor injury, and all of a sudden Southampton look very beatable.
Arsenal, of course, have injury issues of their own - in addition to the usual injured suspects, Szcz and Arteta are out for sure, and Nacho, Gibbs, and Ox are late decisions. So it'll be the usual patchwork of subs and kids taking on the best defense in the Premier League; Southampton have only given up nine goals all season (including three against City on Sunday).
Both Manchester United and West Ham play today, so depending on what happens in those games, Arsenal may be able to vault into as high as fourth place with a win tomorrow. With Southampton's offense drying up, it's down to how well Arsenal can crack that defensive juggernaut; I would hope that the last two results will give Arsenal the confidence to know they can, in fact, unlock teams, and that they turn that knowledge into three points.