Arsenal will go to Southampton today in desperate need of a win, with their Champions League hopes having crashed in recent weeks.
The Gunners were favourites to close in on a top-four finish during the international break, but after losing to both Crystal Palace and Brighton they are now clawing to such hopes.
Tottenham have taken full advantage of our slip to forge ahead of us in the table, and will hopefully drop points against the Seagulls (I’m not holding my breath) to open the door for us to close the gap on our rivals.
Regardless of their result however, the pressure will be on us to keep our dream alive, with us still having every chance of reaching the Champions League, assuming we can get back to form as well as beat our noisy neighbours later in the campaign.
There is little point in looking ahead to other fixtures if we cannot get that ball rolling again by returning to winning ways in Hampshire, and that will not come easy. We have conceded five goals in our last two outings, with our side seemingly struggling to deal with our key injury absences, and an away trip to Southampton is far from an easy task.
With the likes of Armando Broja and James Ward Prowse in their side, you have to weary of the treat that they pose, but we should take some confidence in the fact that they are in terrible form at present. With five losses from their last six fixtures, including a demoralising 6-0 loss at home just last weekend, they are amongst a select group of sides who have worse form than us going into this clash, and we need to put them on the back foot early to not allow them to build up any confidence.
The Saints may have become a little comfortable with their league position, knowing that they are more-or-less safe from relegation and with no hope of challenging for Europe, and the Gunners could take advantage of their lax approach. I’m reserving hope that our side will be able to fire themselves up and claim all three points. A tight 2-1 win could be all that is needed to get us back on track for a big finish to the season, and I feel like an Odegaar goal is in the pipeline also.
What are your expectations from today’s clash?
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Video – Mikel Arteta on the Southampton clash and our injury situation