We are all happy that Arsenal managed to topple the Belarus minnows BATE on Thursday, but now we we only have three days to recover before taking on one of our traditional bogey teams, Southampton, at the Emirates. The Saints are drawn into the dogfight for the last relegation spot and are fighting for their lives, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has made them a very hard team to beat since his arrival.
We all know that Southampton broke our 22-game unbeaten run when they beat us 3-2 in December at St Mary’s, and incredibly they have played in five away matches since then and haven’t lost one, including a draw at Chelsea and a win at Leicester, so we cannot expect them to shy away from thinking they can get another result at the Emirates. WE also cannot ignore the fact that they have had a refreshing two-week rest while our players have been playing our double header with BATE.
The boss knows how important this game is in our race for the Top Four. “Like all the teams in the Premier League, they are difficult and they will be preparing for this match with big players and also with time and for us it is difficult,” Emery said. “We have respect [for them] but we need to impose our gameplan and quality and intensity.
“It is very important to get the three points, we are playing at home with our supporters and I want to carry on stronger here but with a big demand from ourselves to find a victory.”
Thankfully we have turned the Emirates into a fortress again with 10 wins and 2 draws from our last 12 League games, and the stats say we haven’t lost to the Saints at home for 23 games! So we should also be feeling very confident in front of our fans, but I can’t help but have a nagging feeling that we are going to be a little fatigued after Thursday night….