Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Arsenal have a score to settle as they seek to get
their Barclays Premier League title challenge back
on track against Southampton at Emirates Stadium
on Tuesday night.
Back-to-back draws against Liverpool and Stoke
City, followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat by London
rivals Chelsea, has dropped Arsene Wenger's side
three points behind leaders Leicester City while
Manchester City sit second thanks to a superior
goal difference over the Gunners.
Wenger's men overcame Burnley 2-1 in the FA Cup
fourth round on Saturday as Alexis Sanchez made a
scoring return to the starting XI after a hamstring
problem, and Arsenal will hope the Chilean can
replicate that display against traditionally tricky
Arsenal have beaten Southampton just once in their
last five attempts, losing 4-0 on the south coast in
December, although Sanchez has scored in both of
his home appearances against Ronald Koeman’s
side. Midfielders Tomas Rosicky and Francis
Coquelin returned from respective knee injuries at
the weekend, while Wenger was suitably impressed
by January signing Mohamed Elneny's full debut
after joining from Basel.
The Egyptian has yet to feature in BPL action but
Wenger told Arsenal.com: "I think he has to adapt to
the power side of the game. "But he has shown
interesting ingredients like game intelligence,
mobility and technical ability and had some good
shots. He will be a very interesting player for us."
Southampton were comfortable victors at St Mary's
Stadium in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day but
have won just one of their last 21 trips to Arsenal,
which came under Koeman in the League Cup last
December's triumph over Arsenal was the sole win
in a run of 10 matches either side of the New Year
but successive victories and clean sheets against
Watford, West Bromwich Albion and Manchester
United have the Saints looking up again. Matt
Targett, who featured in the win over Arsenal at
Emirates Stadium, told Saintsfc.com: "The form
we're in at the moment, I think we can beat anyone
in the division. "So it's important that we go there
with confidence but we need to be wary as Arsenal
are such a good team. It would be a massive result
if we could go there and get a win or a draw. "I
think it would give us confidence going forward and
we can take it from there."


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