Arsenal v Southampton Odds : Saints too big to ignore at Emirates

The tough assignments are coming thick and fast for Arsenal as they prepare to face third place Southampton later today (KO 15:00GMT).

The Gunners headed into the International break with a win over Liverpool and a defeat to Manchester United, sandwiched in between a tricky 1-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.

November has historically being a difficult month for Arsene Wenger and his side and with Southampton currently on a run of 8 league games without defeat Saturday represents another big challenge for the Gunners.



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Wenger will head into the game without a number of key men with Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby all out.

However Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky could feature after overcoming injury and illness.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Wenger confirmed that England winger Walcott was set to return after almost two months out “Theo will be back for Saturday in the squad. He’s completely fit again.”

“He has not played for a long time, of course, he has not played even a reserve team game, but I will put him in the squad on Saturday. Yes [I will use him cautiously].”

Southampton meanwhile could go top if they beat their hosts by more than one goals although given that the club lost 6-1 on their last trip to the Emirates, Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino could be forgiven for having less lofty ambitions.

Howover there is a growing confidence within the South East coast, a fact reflected by the inclusion of three players in the recent England squad.

Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriquez and Rickie Lambert will all feature at the weekend and while Pochettino will be delighted to have the trio available, one man he will be focused on, is Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil.

The former Espanyol manager knows that stopping Ozil will be key if he is to continue his side’s meteoric rise up the table.

“Way back when he was playing in Germany he was already showing signs of brilliance with his skills,” said Pochettino.

“At Real Madrid he acquired a lot more experience at European level and as a general player he added to his game. As a player I rate him as one of the top 10 players right now on the European stage.”

Pochettino will be without Jack Cork and Guly do Prado for the clash.

Trevor Keane is an Irish based sports writer and the author of Gaffers, 50 years of Irish Managers and Running through Walls, the Dave Langan Story.