Hasenhüttl: Arsenal have changed since last meeting


Southampton host Arsenal in the Emirates FA Cup this Saturday and, while it is only a little more than a month since the teams last met, Ralph Hasenhüttl believes his side will be facing an opponent that has changed a lot in the intervening period.

Saints were held to a 1-1 draw when they travelled to north London in mid-December, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Theo Walcott's opener, with ten points separating the two clubs in the Premier League table that night.

Since then, though, the form of Mikel Arteta's side has improved significantly, with four wins and a draw in their last five league outings, as they have cut the gap on Saints to just two points.

League action will be on the agenda next Tuesday, when the teams again face-off at St Mary's, but before then Hasenhüttl's men will take on the revitalised Gunners in a fourth-round cup tie, with the winners advancing to visit either Chorley or Wolves in the last 16.

"They have changed a lot I think," said Hasenhüttl. "They know they had big problems winning games and hadn't been really compact. But they are a team with a lot of quality, they have changed their shape a little bit and some other behaviours also and they are harder to win against now.

"It is only a question of time when you have such a squad until it comes back to winning, I think. They have so much quality.

"For us, it's important to be brave, to show up again and show our development, and when we play a really good game we have a chance to win."

With back-to-back games against Arsenal coming up, and a while to go yet before Saints don't have to contend with midweek fixtures as well as weekend games, the already-significant physical demands are not likely to ease any time soon.

But Hasenhüttl has no complaints and, while he will not be able to give some players a break, he will take each game as it comes.

He said: "In a few positions we have fewer alternatives, although the young lads did a good job on Tuesday, but automatically you must go through this busy term.

"The past showed we haven't really struggled when we have a lot of games coming up. Normally we are getting better and more automatic in our game and more committed, and this is what we expect for the next weeks.

"We have in the weekend the chance for five subs and this is definitely good. We must have a look. It's not in my mind to think about the Tuesday game, let us first play the game on the weekend and then we can still decide how many players we have for the Tuesday."