Southampton vs Arsenal preview: Ralph Hasenhuttl’s home debut

Ralph Hasenhuttl has called on Southampton to be brave when they face Arsenal on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Hasenhuttl will be taking charge of his first home match as Saints head coach, having lost 1-0 at Cardiff last weekend.

Saints are second from bottom in the Premier League and without a win in over three months.


So’ton vs Arsenal

December 16, 2018, 12:30pm

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“It’s not difficult to get a good atmosphere in St Mary’s; it needs one chance and they are immediately behind us,” said Hasenhuttl. “We want to be brave from the first minute.

“The guys have invested a lot this week; we are talking about a style that has many new things for some of them and it is a process that doesn’t change just from one day to another.”

Arsenal extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 22 matches with a win over Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday.

They beat Huddersfield 1-0 in their last Premier League game thanks to a late strike from Lucas Torreira.

Team news

Danny Ings, Shane Long and Cedric Soares are in contention to play for Southampton.

However, full-back Ryan Bertrand is out with a back injury.

Arsenal are without four central defenders. Laurent Koscielny is the only recognised centre-back available but has only just returned from a long-term Achilles problem.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are suspended while Rob Holding (knee) and Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) are injured, with striker Danny Welbeck (ankle) and midfielder Emile Smith Rowe (hip) also sidelined.

Match stats

Southampton are winless in their last four games against Arsenal in all competitions (D1 L3), since a 2-0 victory in the League Cup quarter-final in November 2016.

Arsenal have lost just two of their last 17 games against Southampton in the Premier League (W9 D6), with both of those defeats coming in 2015 with Ronald Koeman in charge of the Saints.

Among teams they have faced at least five times in the Premier League, Southampton’s win percentage against Arsenal is their lowest against any opponent in competition history (15.8 per cent – 38 games, six wins).

Arsenal have won only one of their last seven away games against Southampton in the Premier League (D4 L2), with that lone victory coming in May 2017 (2-0).

Southampton’s Charlie Austin has scored in all four of his Premier League games against Arsenal. Only Raheem Sterling versus Bournemouth (6 games) has a better 100 per cent record of scoring against a specific opponent in Premier League history.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has made more substitutions before the start of the second half of Premier League games than any other manager this season (14). The Gunners have also had their substitutes score a league-high eight goals in 2018-19.

Merson’s prediction

That was a shocking result for Southampton last week. It was end-to-end and maybe they deserved a draw, but the way Arsenal are playing all over the pitch, I can’t see them not getting a result.

It’s getting to the point where Southampton have to win. You need that honeymoon period with the new manager and they’re in danger of missing even that. If they sit back, it will play into Arsenal’s hands even more.

In his first home game, you don’t really want to be sitting 10 behind the ball, so it’ll be interesting to see how they set up.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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