Arsenal are unbeaten in their six games since Christmas Day, and they now have to try and continue that run with two games against Southampton in the space of three days. With the Saints just two points ahead of Arsenal in the table, and both sides having aspirations of reaching the European places, it will be interesting to see whether both clubs save their best sides for the League game on Tuesday night or go all out for the Cup.
As the Gunners are on a good run now, there are many fans that could choose to bet on Arsenal to win both games, although I personally wouldn’t be keen unless I used something like the 22Bet bonus terms to get some free money from the bookies.
The reason I wouldn’t be so confident is because just four weeks ago, Southampton came to the Emirates and were very unlucky to leave with just a point, and in the six games since the Saints have only conceded one goal against Man City and two against Leicester. One of the four clean sheets included a win against the Champions Liverpool.
At St Mary’s their record is even better, having seven clean sheets in their last nine, and the only defeats coming against Man City and Man United. So their record has been very impressive to say the least.
Perhaps Saturday’s game may be different as it is an FA cup Fourth Round tie, and Mikel Arteta will be keen to stay in with a chance of retaining the trophy. Arteta was asked today on Arsenal.com about whether he would have a strong team out for the Cup game, and he said: “As strong as it can be. We will assess the players, who is fit to play, who has recovered, we have a few issues after the game as well so in the next two days we will see the best possible line up. Southampton, we’re going to be playing them twice in three days which is strange, and try to keep the FA Cup run going as well.”
It remains to be seen if he keeps any of his big guns fresh for Tuesday night or if he will prioritise aiming to return to Europe through winning the FA Cup again. He may consider that ismore likely than gaining a plce in the Top Six.
If you were Mikel Arteta, would you play your best team on Saturday, or save a few for the League match on Tuesday?