Arsenal v Southampton: Gunners to secure much-needed win over strugglers
Simon Mail previews this weekend's game between Arsenal and Southampton with the hosts fancied to claim a victory against their lowly opponents...
Arsenal v Southampton Saturday, 15:00
Emery in need of results to appease the fans
While one Premier League team in north London have made a high profile managerial change this week, the pressure continues to grow on Arsenal boss Unai Emery. The club's supporters are growing increasingly frustrated with their failings on the pitch with Arsenal without a win in five matches in all competitions. Their 2-0 defeat at Leicester before the international break left them sixth in the table and eight points off the top four.
It appears Arsenal are no closer to resolving the problems which undermined Arsene Wenger during the end of his tenure. There is a soft centre to the team and their defensive frailties have been badly exposed. Arsenal, who could recall midfielder Granit Xhaka this weekend after missing four games since being stripped of the captaincy, have not won away in the league since their opening match. Even their form at the Emirates has stalled somewhat with successive draws against Crystal Palace and Wolves.
Southampton face long season after terrible start
Things may not be going smoothly at Arsenal but their opponents this weekend are in far greater peril. Southampton got out of trouble under Ralph Hasenhuttl last season and were expected to push on this year but it has not gone to plan. The Saints find themselves second bottom, with only two wins from 12 matches, leaving a long winter ahead.
The undoubted low point came last month after Southampton were thrashed 9-0 at home to Leicester. This capitulation was hugely damaging and was followed by successive defeats at Manchester City, one coming in the EFL Cup. Southampton lost 2-1 at home to Everton in their last match to leave them only one point off the foot of the table.
Arsenal too short in win market
Arsenal are 1.52favourites and the hosts are fancied to continue their superb record against Southampton. The Gunners have won 18 of their last 24 home league games against this weekend's opponents and have not lost any. Arsenal are pretty flaky on the road but should be up to the task of claiming a victory at home to a side in dire form.
Southampton are 6.80outsiders and there is no appeal in chancing the visitors to pull off an upset. The Saints have played more Premier League away games against Arsenal without winning than any side has against another in the competition's history, with just five draws from 20 matches. In their current form, there is no plausible argument for siding with Southampton.
The draw is available at 4.90and this cannot be dismissed considering Arsenal's recent results. Emery's side have been held in four of their last five games across all competitions which suggests it is generously priced this weekend. However only one of the last eight clashes between the teams have finished level and Arsenal are backed to see off Southampton. This market provides little in the way of value though, leaving goals a better way of finding an attractive bet on the hosts.
Gunners likely to concede in home victory
Arsenal always give opponents a chance, with their porous defence easily exposed, having managed to keep just two clean sheets in the league. It is seven matches since Emery's team managed to shut out the opposition with 17 goals conceded in 12 league matches. Two of their three home wins in the competition have seen both teams score which will give the visitors hope.
Southampton have struggled badly this season but their away form has actually been very reasonable with both wins coming away from St Mary's. Hasenhuttl's side have scored in their last eight trips with the opening match at Burnley their only away match where they failed to find the net. The best bet by some distance, on an Arsenal win, is to back both teams to score at appealing odds.
Arsenal have won 35 of their last 36 home Premier League games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone, including the last 32 in a row.