Arsenal vs Southampton preview, team news, kick-off, prediction

Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin suspended; follow Arsenal vs Southampton with our live blog on Sky Sports website and app; watch free match highlights shortly after full-time on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel

Tuesday 15 December 2020 16:53, UK

Team news and stats ahead of Arsenal vs Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday evening (kick-off 6pm).

Team news

Arsenal must do without Granit Xhaka for Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Southampton.

The midfielder starts a three-match ban after his red card in Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to Burnley.

Hector Bellerin will miss out too, having totted up five yellow cards, but Nicolas Pepe could be back after his own suspension has ended.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has a clean bill of health as he heads into the game at the Emirates Stadium.

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Striker Danny Ings started for the first time since November 1 in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United after scoring from the penalty spot as a substitute at Brighton on Monday following his return from knee surgery.

Hasenhuttl has reported a series of bumps and bruises, but nothing more significant and will assess his options with the busy holiday programme in mind.

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How to follow

Follow Arsenal vs Southampton in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

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Jones Knows prediction

The last thing Mikel Arteta needs right now is a revved-up Ralph Hasenhuttl side full of confidence knocking at their door.

If this was a 45-minute match, I’d be happy to side with the Saints. Hasenhuttl’s side are notoriously fast starters and have been ahead in seven of their 12 matches at half-time, scoring 14 goals – no team has scored more.

Meanwhile, when you factor in the lack of confidence within the Arsenal ranks, along with their record of scoring just four times before the break, the 11/4 for Saints to be winning at the break does make sense. However, Southampton do usually wilt when coming under siege late on in games – as seen when blowing a 2-0 lead to Manchester United, shipping three when cruising against Aston Villa and conceding four second-half goals to Tottenham.

As long as Arsenal are still in the game with 25 minutes to go, they should finish strongly. Arteta needs them to.

JONES KNOWS PREDICTS: 1-1 (6/1 with Sky Bet)

Pitch to Post Review podcast

Arsenal are officially in crisis, but at least the merch looks good!

Jasper Taylor is joined by Kate Burlaga and Gerard Brand to discuss the weekend’s Premier League action, as Arsenal lost again at the Emirates, meaning their current points tally has them on track to finish 15th this season (05:27). How low does it have to go for Mikel Arteta to face the sack?

The panel also discuss Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Fulham on Super Sunday (18:30), and why the injury to Diogo Jota could have big ramifications for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

In the Regional Review, we talk all things Newcastle with Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie – takeover talk is on the menu again, as well as Steve Bruce’s intentions for the January window (32:23).

And in part four, we discuss a turgid Manchester derby (45:30) which brought more questions than answers, including: should players really be hugging and smiling after serving up such a dour performance?

DOWNLOAD THE PITCH TO POST PODCAST ON APPLE – or listen on Spotify below…

Opta stats

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 25 home league games against Southampton (W18 D7) since a 0-1 loss in November 1987.
  • Southampton drew this exact fixture with Arsenal 2-2 last season, conceding a 90th-minute equaliser courtesy of Alexandre Lacazette. They’ve not avoided defeat in consecutive away league games against Arsenal since September 1988.
  • Arsenal are unbeaten in all 21 of their Premier League home games against Southampton (W15 D6), the most home games a team has played against another in the competition without ever losing.
  • Southampton are winless in their last 21 Premier League away games played on a Wednesday (D7 L14), since winning 2-0 at Chelsea in April 1995.
  • Excluding own goals, 10 of the last 16 Premier League goals scored in fixtures between Arsenal and Southampton have been scored by English players – prior to this, only 10 of the previous 55 goals were scored by Englishmen.
  • Arsenal have received six Premier League red cards since Mikel Arteta’s first game in charge in December 2019, double that of any other side in this time.
  • Danny Ings has scored three Premier League goals in three appearances against Arsenal for Southampton – no Saints player has ever scored four goals against the Gunners in the competition.

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