It’s Groundhog Day at St Mary’s as Southampton take on Arsenal again just a few days after eliminating the ‘Gunners’ from the FA Cup, in what was the first time they have eliminated any defending FA Cup champion since knocking out Tottenham in 1901/02! That result also gave the ‘Saints’ a fifth clean sheet from their last six games (W3, D2, L1) as they look to move towards the Premier League’s (PL) European spots.
Although sitting in midtable, Southampton’s PL home form puts them firmly in the top four (W5, D1, L3), whilst their 1-0 win over Liverpool in their last PL game here gave them an impressive fifth HT/FT home win ‘to nil’ of the top-flight campaign.
Arsenal’s cup elimination will have disappointed manager Mikel Arteta for a variety of reasons, not least because it ended a run of 508 minutes of competitive football without conceding, and a six-game unbeaten run (W4, D2 – 90 minutes only). A win here would see them leapfrog Southampton in the table though, but no first-half goal in four competitive matches indicates Arsenal won’t start with all guns blazing.
They would do well to start strongly though, as all four of Arsenal’s away league defeats this season saw them trail at HT – as did their previous four competitive H2H away losses. However, the visitors tend to come into their own during the second half, conceding a league-low one goal after HT on the road, and subsequently losing just one second half away (SH: W4, D4, L1).
Both sides met in the FA Cup at the weekend with the Saints coming out tops but the Gunners will hope to avenge that defeat on Tuesday. Bookies however call it 50/50 and believe it will go either way with odds of 1.24 on Betpay.
Either side to win.