Arsenal gunning for Saints success on Boxing Day travels
Lee Gormley | December 23, 2015
Southampton v Arsenal
- Premier League
- Saturday, December 26th
- Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
- St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton
Saints set for Gunners Boxing Day battle
Arsenal make a Boxing Day trip to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League’s evening kick-off, with the Gunners aiming to keep pace with leaders Leicester City and will be confident of doing so, having lost just one of their last 11 Saints meetings.
Arsene Wenger’s Londoners took a huge advantage in the title race with a victory over top-flight rivals Manchester City last time out, moving four points ahead in second and just two adrift of Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes.
The visitors are 7/2 with Coral to earn another win on the road and both sides scoring (£20 max stake), though Ronald Koeman’s Saints are searching for successive league games over the Gunners since April 1988 after a 2-0 triumph in January.
Although, the hosts are on a poor run of form, after picking up just a single point from their previous five outings, but they are 13/5 to end that hapless streak with victory on home soil.
Wenger boosted in belief after City coup
Arsenal will take some confidence in the fact they have only ever lost once on Boxing Day in the Premier League, while Southampton have been defeated on once of their last seven clashes post-Christmas Day fixtures.
Wenger may have witnessed his men impressively dispatch fellow title hopefuls City recently, but the long-serving French coach is cautious about his side’s title chances.
“It’s too early to say we can win the league, but [the weekend win over Manchester City] strengthens our belief,” stated Wenger.
“We have to be ready to fight..”
“You realise you earn your right to win these games and for us it is important that we realise that we have to be ready to fight like that in every single game.
“But it is a significant game because when you look at Manchester City and the quality they have on the pitch, we know at the end they will be there fighting for the championship.”
However, the north London outfit will have to overcome Southampton on the south coast before any title talk, though the hosts are on the verge of failing to win in six Premier League matches for the first time during Koeman’s reign.
Giroud proving critics wrong with rampant run
Since being on the end of harsh criticism earlier in the current campaign, especially from club icon Thierry Henry, France international frontman Olivier Giroud has burst into life and become a vital component for Arsenal, particularly in away clashes.
The in-form targetman has now struck in five of his team’s last six away league encounters, as well as 15 in total in all competitions, and he is 11/4 to fire Arsenal to victory once again here (£20 max stake).
Theo Walcott is also a threat to the Saints, having clinically fired in the first goal at the Etihad, and the rapid forward is 6/1 to open proceedings again on his latest appearance.
For the hosts, Graziano Pelle is 6/4 to get on the scoresheet anytime, while Republic of Ireland marksman Shane Long is 7/1 to fire in the game’s last goal and wicked wideman Sadio Mane is 2/1 for another mark on his season tally.
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