Can the Gunners continue their recent renaissance against the top-flight Saints in the FA Cup this weekend?
Arsenal appear to have firmly turned the corner under Mikel Arteta after a difficult winter for London wrestlers.
However, they now have six games unbeaten and took the victory over Newcastle United in midweek in one of the team’s strongest recent performances under the Spaniard.
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Despite their solid form, anything could fall apart quickly – just look at how Chelsea’s strong form fell – and Arteta will desperately need his side to extend their strong form when they face Southampton in the FA Cup this weekend.
Southampton vs Arsenal: team news
Arteta has a plethora of options open to him, but not – of course – Mesut Ozil, who ultimately left the club.
Dani Ceballos and Pablo Mari are both injured and misfired, but expect the Spaniard to stir his field as he seeks to keep everyone cool following the win over Newcastle.
Willian, Hector Bellerin and Nicolas Pepe are among those players who could enter the squad.
Things are a lot less rosy for Ralph Hasenhuttl, who is facing a string of injury issues across the park.
Oriol Romeu and Mohammed Salisu are both doubts, although the former is an outsider to return to the fold.
Moussa Djenepo, Michael Obafemi, Nathan Redmond and Jannik Veestergaard are among the six players permanently absent, although offensive options such as Danny Ings, Che Adam and Theo Walcott can create problems for visitors.
Southampton vs Arsenal: key facts and stats
Worryingly for Southampton, they have only won one of their last nine matches in all competitions against the Gunners, despite never ousting Arsenal in the four FA Cup fixtures between the two clubs.
Indeed, the Saints have a poor record against Premier League opponents in the competition having won just three of their last 17 FA Cup encounters against top enemies.
There has to be a winner, of course, on Saturday with reruns removed in this year’s Cup edition.
Arsenal’s dangerman could well be captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabonese forward has returned to form against Newcastle, scoring twice and scoring in his last four FA Cup appearances, with six strikes in that span.
Can he extend his streak in the competition against the Saints?
Southampton vs Arsenal: Predictions
Despite their booming form in recent weeks, Arsenal have their work cut out for them to overtake a Southampton side who are a strong prospect under Hassenhuttl.
They have lost just one of their last five games – against Leicester City – and their recent 1-0 win over Liverpool was a plan to get results with the big points.
Defensively, Southampton should be a much stronger prospect than Newcastle – they have kept clean sheets in four of their last five games and were unlucky not to have taken all three points at Arsenal when the two teams met at mid-December.