Oh how the tables are about to turn!! Probably for the first time during the whole season, Arsenal have peaked their anxiety. Second matchday in a row and they’ve dropped another 2 points yet again. The title contenders must pull the trigger now, as there are fewer chances to shoot when your league has a team like Manchester City.
Matchday 32 is on the verge. It brings you a clash between the table toppers and the tail of the table. 1st position Arsenal to host 20th position Southampton. The stakes are high, as the Gunner can’t even afford to draw. 7 matches are remaining, rename them as 7 finals for Arsenal. Lose even one and then all are in the hands of Jesus (Not the Brazilian). Southampton lie at the bottom with mere 23 points. They are in dire need of points as well.
It feels like it’s been so long since Arsenal won a match. Would the wait be over this weekend? Studying Southampton’s history, they have done quite a few upsets this year, including drawing to Tottenham and Manchester United. Even defeating City in an EFL quarter finals. The previous fixture between Arsenal and Southampton ended in a draw as well. So clearly, this won’t be a piece of cake for Arsenal. Earning those 3 points will be hard as ever.
Arsenal’s PL form: D D W W W
Southampton’s PL form: L L L D L
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: Emirates Stadium, London.
When: Friday, 21st April 2023.
Time: 7:00 PM GMT.
Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Mark Scholes.
Fourth official: Andre Marriner.
VAR: Peter Bankes.
Assistant VAR: Nick Greenhalgh.
Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are unavailable. William Saliba’s injury is taking time to recover. So he’ll be absent as well. Zinchenko is suffering from a groin injury, but his absence is still not certain. He will be assessed by Arteta prior to the fixture.
For Southampton, Tino Livramento, Mohammed Salisu, Che Adams and Juan Larios are set to miss due to injury reasons. Interestingly, Maitland-Niles will not play due Arsenal being his parent club. The only good news is that Orsic is back and is available.
Arteta sets up in the 4-3-3 shape, with a box midfield. This box is created by Zinchenko after tucking inside. But him being uncertain to be able to play, it’ll be interesting to see how Arteta plans his game. Will he switch to 4-2-3-1 or try something else? It’ll be fun to watch.
Rubén Sellés, for Southampton, uses a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 formation accordingly. It depends on the available players. A skewness right in the centre of the park can be observed, when they play. While defending, they do it in the banks of two 4’s and 2 at front.
Like I said above, if things go beyond repair only Jesus will be able to save Arsenal. But before that, they have another Jesus, a more stylish one to be honest, to help them from going beyond repair. He scored in the previous fixture as well. Man of magic at the feet, grace in the play. Hope he puts Arsenal in the lead here as well.
Arsenal predicted lineup vs Southampton: Ramsdale; Tierney, Gabriel, Holding, White; Xhaka, Partey, Odegaard; Martinelli, Jesus, Saka.
Southampton predicted lineup vs Arsenal: Bazunu; Perraud, Armel, Bednarek, Walker-Peters; Lavia, Ward-Prowse; Elyounoussi, Alcaraz, Walcott; Suleman.