Arsenal open 2013 with a trip to St Mary's to play Southampton. The two clubs enter the midweek fixture in contrasting fashions. The Gunners enjoyed a dominant 7-3 win over Newcastle United at the Emirates but the Saints conceded a 3-1 half-time lead to settle for a 3-3 draw at Stoke City.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 5.30 pm GMT. Live coverage will be available on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. Catch highlights on Match of the Day, on BBC One and BBC One HD at 10.25 pm GMT.
Southampton have not enjoyed a good return to the Premier League, with Nigel Adkins' side having lost 10 of 19 games played so far. The Saints should have moved out of the relegation zone over the weekend, after three goals in the first half gave them a commanding lead over Stoke at the Britannia. Unfortunately they conceded twice in the second half and remain two points behind Aston Villa in 18th.
The problems for Adkins appear defensive in nature. The club has scored 26 goals in 19 games this season - more than fellow relegation candidates Reading, QPR, Wigan and Villa. In fact, you have to look to Fulham in 14th for the first side, counting from the bottom of the table, to have scored more goals.
However, Adkins has seen his men ship 37 times - which is the second-worst count in the league this season; only Aston Villa have more - 39. Even then, if we were to factor out the Villans' 8-0 defeat to Chelsea, Southampton's record is abysmal.
It should be noted Southampton do have a game in hand, although the fixture is against Chelsea. The relegation fight starts with Arsenal though and Adkins will have a difficult task to contain Arsene Wenger's side.
The club's home record is reasonable, with only four defeats from 10 games, and they have lost only twice in the last nine games in the league.
Arsenal enter this game on the back of a strong win at the Emirates and with 13 goals in the three most recent league games. England international Theo Walcott added another page to his ongoing contract saga with a superb hat-trick against Alan Pardew's side and then refusing to comment on his future with the club.
The north London club are unbeaten in the league since the 2-0 home defeat to Swansea City on 1 December and have not lost a game (the defeat on penalties to League Two side Bradford City aside) since 4 December the defeat to Greek side Olympiakos in the Champions League group stages.
Incidentally, like Southampton, Arsenal too have a game in hand. The club's Boxing Day fixture against West Ham United was called off after a tube strike in the capital.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D L W L
- Last Result: Stoke City 3 - 3 Southampton
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W W D W
- Last Result: Arsenal 7 - 3 Newcastle United
Adkins has a near full-strength squad for this fixture, with news Nathaniel Clyne could be ready to feature from the bench, if necessary, after a knock on Boxing Day. Midfielder Adam Lallana is the other player who is a doubt for this match. The 24 year old former England U21 international has a knee injury but could be ready soon. Strikers Ricky Lambert and Jay Rodriguez both scored against Stoke last weekend and will lead Southampton's attacking line-up.
Probable Line-Up: Davis; Clyne, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw; Scheiderlin, Cork; Puncheon, Ramirez, Rodriquez; Lambert
Wenger still has a few long-term absentees but will be delighted the majority of his squad is available for selection. French international Abou Diaby and Brazilian left back Andre Santos are expected to be the only players missing, with Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski joining them.
Diaby's compatriot, centre back Laurent Koscielny started against Newcastle and will likely retain his place for this match, particularly since German international Per Mertesacker is a doubt. Saturday's hat-trick hero, Walcott, will probably have to compete with Frenchman Olivier Giroud for the central striker's role, after the former Montpellier man scored a brace against Newcastle.
Probable Line-Up: Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Cazorla, Arteta, Wilshere, Podolski; Walcott, Giroud