Arsenal v Southampton
Wednesday December 3, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 1
Although Arsenal beat West Brom fairly comfortably at the weekend, pressure on Arsene Wenger appears to be mounting (again) and it's all making for a slightly difficult situation for the club. At some point, Wenger will obviously have to move on, but fans seem split as to when it should happen and for now they remain in a sort of holding pattern over north London, rather than pushing on and achieving in the wider game.
The Gunners' injury list is currently laughably huge, with almost a full team out injured, and a lack of defensive depth at the club is now being ruthlessly exposed, with players filling in in unfamiliar positions and a lack of solidity proving problematic.
In short, Wenger's men will need to be at their very best to beat a resurgent Southampton on Wednesday night.
Despite the 0-3 humbling at the hands of Manchester City, Southampton are in great shape going into this fixture. Undoubtedly one of the best teams in the division currently, their defence is solid overall and they have exciting attacking players capable of putting Arsenal's makeshift back line under pressure.
The key to a positive result for the Ronald Koeman's men at the Emirates is how they react to their home drubbing on Sunday - do they show mental toughness and bounce straight back, or will it affect them and cause a loss of confidence? Wenger and his side will be hoping the latter, but I suspect it's the former.
This is game two of a pretty tough run for the St Mary's outfit and one thing's for sure - it's winnable. And Koeman will be telling his side the same thing. But if they are to come away with anything, it'll have to be achieved without key midfield player Morgan Schniederlin, who was injured against City.
The Gunners will go into this game as odds-on favourites, currently trading at 1.824/5, but I can't advise a backing of them at that price in the form they're in this season. Arsenal have only won two of their six home league games this season, and Southampton have shown they're more than capable of winning on the road.
Having said all that, I can't get excited about backing the Saints at 5.14/1 because I'm not quite sure how they're going to react to that heavy defeat against City. Overall, Arsenal's record in the Premier League against Wednesday's opponents is good (W5 D4 in their last nine), but interestingly, Koeman has a great record against Wenger - he's only lost once in the seven times he's faced him.
The Draw is currently available at 3.8514/5.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
This market is really evenly poised at time of writing - 1.991/1 on Unders and 1.981/1 on Overs - and I have to say, that seems about right to me. It's a bit of a pick 'em market as far as I'm concerned and really could go either way.
I'm leaning towards Overs, I have to say, purely because both teams are more than capable of scoring goals (Southampton were unlucky to not score at least once against Man City, and that was only the second time they have failed to score in ten league games). Arsenal's defence looks makeshift to me, which only adds to the threat of a high-scoring affair.
Although Southampton have the best defence in the league, again it's important to reiterate that it's difficult to work out how they're going to react after the weekend. Overs is the call.
Both Teams to Score?
I'm attracted by the price on Yes in this market - it should reach about 1.9520/21 before kick off, and that's a great bet for all the reasons I've listed in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals section.
Half Time/Full Time
This market caught my eye purely because this is the exactly the sort of game I can see Arsenal going behind in before coming back to win. As I've said, Southampton are a good side and have the ability to take advantage of a shaky Arsenal defence before the home side find their rhythm and turn it around. Southampton/Arsenal in the Half Time/Full Time market is a massive 29.028/1 and well worth a small interest.
Back Over 2.5 Goals at 1.981/1
Back Both Teams to Score at 1.9520/21
Back Southampton/Arsenal in Half Time/Full Time market at 29.028/1