Arsenal VS Southampton – LIVE Reddit Soccer 16/4/2022
Arsenal will aim to reignite their charge for a top-four finish in the Premier League when an out-of-sorts Southampton welcome them to St Mary’s on Saturday afternoon. The Saints were thrashed 6-0 by Chelsea in their most recent matchup, while Mikel Arteta’s side made it back-to-back losses with a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. For all of their hard work over the winter months, Southampton have been a shadow of their former selves in the past few weeks, and a Chelsea side lacking confidence barely needed to get into second gear to snap their losing streak on the South Coast.
Marcos Alonso, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount and Timo Werner all got their names on the scoresheet before the half-time whistle blew, and the latter two doubled their tallies early in the second half, but Southampton did at least manage to avoid yet another 9-0 thumping in front of their own fans. That may have been the only minor consolation that Ralph Hasenhuttl and his side could take from that 6-0 humiliation, with the Saints slowly slipping down the table after posting just one draw and four losses from their last eight in the top flight.
Southampton suddenly find themselves down in 14th in the table amid their miserable run of form, but only one point separates them from Crystal Palace in the top 10, and the chance to close that gap is upon them as Patrick Vieira’s side prepare for FA Cup semi-final duties. A formerly solid side at home, Southampton have now strung together a three-game losing run at St Mary’s in the Premier League – shipping 10 goals in the process – but Arsenal are not a side riding on cloud nine right now.
It has only taken the loss of three big-name players to injury for everything to go wrong for Arsenal, who have relinquished their spot on fourth place in the Premier League table to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur and are at risk of undoing all their efforts from the earlier months. Brighton’s struggles to find the back of the net before the Emirates trip were well-documented, but the Seagulls had no trouble carving their way through a makeshift Arsenal side, with Leandro Trossard and Enock Mwepu both finishing with aplomb before Martin Odegaard’s deflected consolation.
Back-to-back losses to Crystal Palace and Brighton has seen the same old problems become apparent for Arsenal and Arteta, who have failed to compensate for the losses of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney as the season approaches its business end.
Arsenal now find themselves down in fifth but remain just three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand, so the destiny of the North London clubs in Europe could very well come down to the imminent capital derby on May 12.
Taking maximum points back to base this weekend is therefore simply a must for Arsenal, who also have to take on Chelsea and Manchester United before the month is up, and they did win five away Premier League games in a row away from home before being humbled by the Eagles.
Arteta’s side also eased to a 3-0 win over Southampton at the Emirates back in December – their sixth league match without defeat versus the Saints – but they have not done the double over their South Coast opponents since 2016-17.
Arsenal come into this clash under extreme pressure as they seek to stay alive in the top-four race after back-to-back losses in the Premier League. Those defeats came to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and last weekend against Brighton at the Emirates. Losing some key players has played its part, but the team’s collective effort was lacking at times.
The dropped points have damaged Arsenal’s hold on fourth place as Tottenham took advantage and moved three points clear of their north London rivals, albeit playing a game more. The race for Champions League places is far from over, with all teams involved still with a chance to spring a surprise.
Arteta will be aiming to arrest the slump and get back to winning ways. Despite injuries hurting the squad, the Gunners are on course to finish in a European place, although their ultimate aim would be to play in next season’s Champions League. However, at this moment and given the next set of fixtures, the manager will take a Europa League place. Southampton will surely be mystified in the manner of their defeat to Chelsea, losing 0-6 at home to the Blues last weekend. Their performance was a culmination of their recent displays, which have seen them lose four out of their last five games in the Premier League.
Those results have pushed them down to 14th on the table, something Ralph Hasenhuttl did not envisage after their brilliant form leading to their win over West Ham United in FA Cup fifth round. The Saints are well clear of the relegation zone, although the club would like to see improvement in their position by the end of the campaign.
They remain just a point behind tenth-placed Crystal Palace as a top-half finish will be Hasenhuttl’s aim for the season. However, Southampton now face a wounded Arsenal side, determined to get back on track, which may not be ideal for them, considering the manner of their defeat at home last weekend.
These players may be available to feature on the bench, although there could be a return to the starting XI for Armando Broja. The Chelsea loanee missed last weekend’s clash due to being ineligible to face his parent club. Hasenhuttl will be hoping to have the young striker back on the field and firing against the Gunners.
Hasenhuttl is likely to keep faith in the same backline, with Tino Livramento, Jan Bednarek, Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters expected to keep their places. There could be a slight change in central midfield with Oriel Romeu giving his place to Ibrahima Diallo.