Arsenal should win this game given their strong home record but they may have to do it the hard way once again by conceding in the process, says Jamie Pacheco...
"Add to the equation that they’ve scored in five of the last seven against Arsenal in all competitions, including the last three in the league and all of a sudden an Arsenal win with both teams scoring at 15/8 makes far more appeal than the straight win for the Gunners."
Arsenal v Southampton
Sunday February 24, 14:05
Torreira and Aubemayang continue to impress
Their current league position isn't that much better than what it usually was under Arsene Wenger in his last couple of seasons at the club but Arsenal just seem a tougher, better-drilled and more dangerous side under Unai Emery.
Lucas Torreira looks a serious player in that sort of destructive Fernandinho-like role and with pre-season under his belt, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been excellent as well, whether deployed out wide or through the middle.
But with Aaron Ramsey leaving in the summer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan horribly inconsistent and the question marks over Mesut Ozil's future still in the air, it's pretty obvious what they really need: one world-class playmaker and a further pretty good one as back-up.
A comprehensive 3-0 win over Bate Borisov on Thursday night means they're through in the Europa League and they'll be feeling better about life knowing they've got a good chance of going all the way in that one.
Last week's setback could cost the Saints
The Saints will have been bitterly disappointed after that home defeat to Cardiff. Not only were those three points they would have expected to bank but they were also three points they gifted to a fellow relegation candidate.
But let's not be too harsh. Everyone is allowed an off-day and all in all they look a far better side than they did under Mark Hughes.
The impressive Mario Lemina is still out injured whereas striker Danny Ings is likely to miss this one, too. Shane Long will probably carry on leading the line but if it's goals they want, they could do worse than give Charlie Austin a game. Especially given this is against Arsenal. He's scored in every one of the five games he's played against them, as Opta tell us.
You could make a good case for just backing Arsenal at 1/2. Given they're 26 points better off, are unbeaten in their last 23 games against the Saints (Opta) and have won their last six in the league at the Emirates, that's not a price to be sniffed at.
Then again, those sorts of prices just aren't how we roll. One of the big differences since Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived in early December is the increase in the number of times Southampton score, even if they're not necessarily picking up points. In the 14 games they've played under him, they've scored in 12 of them.
Add to the equation that they've scored in five of the last seven against Arsenal in all competitions, including the last three in the league and all of a sudden an Arsenal win with both teams scoring at 15/8 makes far more appeal than the straight win for the Gunners.Seems I'm not the only one who thinks so.
There's plenty to like about the chances of both Aubemayang and Alexandre Lacazette to score here. The former has 15 league goals and the latter has 10. The goals have dried up a bit for the Frenchman of late, though. He's scored just four from his last 14 appearances in all competitions.
The former Dortmund man has been a fair bit better with six from his last 10 (including substitute appearances) but that's still not quite good enough for us to want to snap up a price of just 4/6. Lacazette is even shorter at 4/9 and given what we've just said, we certainly don't want to be taking that, either.
I'd much rather be backing someone like Laurent Koscielny at 11/2. He's scored twice in his last five matches and is a constant threat from set-pieces. And if you believe in these sorts of things, he scored in this fixture at the Emirates two seasons ago.
For something a little more original, you can back Southampton to score from the penalty spot at 15/2. That's actually not a bad price. They've been awarded five this season (the fifth most of anyone in the division) and scored four of them.
Why not try your luck with a same-game multi-bet? Value or no value, backing both Aubemayang and Lacazette in an Arsenal win would come to odds of 3.17.
Jamie's 2018/19 P and L
Points Staked: 35.0
Points Returned: 40.27 pts
P/L: +5.27 points