Arsenal travel to Southampton on Boxing Day as the Gunners look to keep in touch with league leaders Leicester City at the top. The Gunners come into the fixture with a morale-boosting win over Manchester City, which has taken them four points clear of their most significant rivals.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 7:45pm GMT. Live coverage of the game will be on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 1 HD.
Southampton are going through a bad patch, having failed to win in their last five games, losing four in the process. This has seen them drop to the 12th spot, only six points clear of the relegation zone. The primary reason behind the slump is their inability to score goals, having managed only two in their last five games. Their defence has also been all over the place, something Ronald Koeman has to address to give the team any hope of getting something out of the fixture.
The corresponding fixture last season on New Year's Day saw the Gunners lose 2-0 following some disastrous decision- making by goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who did not start a single Premier League game since. Should the Saints manage to replicate the result, this will be their first consecutive win over the Gunners since 1988, also putting a massive question mark over the Gunners' title charge.
Arsenal will be desperate to not repeat their mistakes in this fixture from last season. Goals from Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott secured three crucial points against City, but a lapse in concentration at the end almost cost the Gunners two points, something they have to be wary of if they are to end their decade-long wait for the title.
Wenger has revealed that the same squad which started against City will be available for their trip to Southampton, with Alexis Sanchez and Mikel Arteta the closest to returning from the treatment table. The Gunners will also take the opportunity to scout Victor Wanyama, someone they have been actively linked over the summer and a player they may look to sign in January, given their injury crisis.
What Managers Say
Ronald Koeman: "To beat Arsenal it's more difficult this season than it was last year, because I think they play a little bit different. It looks like when they don't have the ball it's more a defensive way to play and of course one of the strengths of Arsenal is when they win the ball and the transition to attack is on a high tempo with very good movements and with very good players. But the goalkeeper makes a difference. [Petr] Cech is a big goalkeeper for Arsenal and I think that makes them defensively stronger than Arsenal was and also that they a little bit more drop back than they usually do.That makes the team a little bit more stronger defensive wise and in my opinion it's more difficult."
Arsene Wenger: "[On Southampton last season] Every loss hurts – and that one has not gone out of my mind. It was a bad moment for us but also a turning point because we responded very well and overall, in 2015, we had a very consistent year on the result front. he vibes coming out after the City game are that we are a real team who want to work together, play together and are ready to fight to achieve a result. I believe you cannot cheat the crowd. The crowd was maybe better than ever but I've always said that to get that, the vibes coming from your team need to be absolutely spot on. We missed passes, we missed goal chances but you could not fault the attitude of any player at any second. As a unit for 90 minutes, the desire to earn your right to win, the desire to commit completely was the most satisfying [part] of the night."
Betting Odds (888Sport)
- Southampton Win: 22/19
- Draw: 18/7
- Arsenal Win: 28/11
- Injured: Jay Rodriguez, Florin Gardos, Fraser Forster
- Doubtful: N/A
- Suspended: N/A
Possible XI: Stekelenburg; Yoshida, Fonte, Van Dijk; Soares, Wanyama, Romeu, Davis, Bertrand; Mane, Pelle
- Injured: Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, Alexis Sanchez
- Doubtful: N/A
- Suspended: N/A
Possible XI: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Ramsey, Flamini; Walcott, Ozil, Campbell; Giroud