Saints vs Arsenal: Preview

By SFC Media time Mon 31 Dec Club

Saints start the New Year with the visit of Arsenal to St Mary’s for a 5.30pm kick-off live on Sky Sports.

Following back-to-back away games for Nigel Adkins’ men over the Christmas period, Saints return to home soil looking to build on respectable draws at Fulham and Stoke respectively at the tail end of 2012.

Their first test of 2013 however, looks a tough one as Arsenal come to town for the first league match between the two since 2005 when a 1-1 draw was the outcome on the south coast.

Earlier in the season Saints met a Gunners side in blistering form on our first visit to the Emirates Stadium with the hosts recording a 6-1 win in the fourth round of Barclays Premier League matches this season.

Goals from Gervinho, Lukas Podolski and former Saint Theo Walcott set Arsene Wenger’s men on their way in that game, with Danny Fox scoring a consolation strike for the visitors.

With the halfway stage of the season now reached, Saints hope that their resilient form of late will make them a different proposition for the North Londoners, who head into the New Year in good form themselves following a stunning 7-3 victory over Newcastle United last weekend.

Former Saints stars Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were on target in that fixture, and both men who still hold the record as Saints’ two youngest ever players, will be hoping to make an emotional first competitive playing return to St Mary’s.

No current Saints player has a link to the Gunners, though Kelvin Davis, Artur Boruc, Danny Fox, Jack Cork, Steven Davis, Jason Puncheon and Richard Chaplow have all lined up against Arsenal prior to joining Southampton.

Team News

Nigel Adkins confirmed in his pre match press conference that he is still without captain Adam Lallana, whilst the manager was also coy on the return of full back Nathaniel Clyne, who missed the trip to Stoke.

Guly, Jay Rodriguez, and Jos Hooiveld all returned to the side over the weekend, but Gaston Ramirez is amongst those who will be hoping to be involved having not made it on to the pitch at the Britannia Stadium.

Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker could be available after illness, whilst Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky who was left on the bench over the weekend, could also come back into contention.

Defender Andre Santos and midfielder Abou Diaby will however, miss out again.

Previous Meetings

The last two meetings in our previous Premier League stint were in the 2004-05 campaign where a 2-2 draw at Highbury was followed up by a 1-1 stalemate at St Mary’s, a game where both teams saw red, with David Prutton and Robin van Persie the men dismissed on that occasion.

Saints last won this fixture on home soil in 2002 the same season in which both teams met in the FA Cup Final. Just two weeks prior to the cup showpiece Saints were beaten 6-1 at Highbury, before battling to a close 1-0 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.

Arsenal were 6-1 winners again earlier this season, but arguably the most famous meeting with the Gunners was the dramatic 3-2 win in the last game at the Dell in 2001.

Tuesday's game is the 82nd all-time meeting between the two teams. Arsenal have the upper hand with 43 victories to Saints’ 16. A further 22 games have ended all square.

Match Information

Lee Probert will referee the game, and he will be assisted by Mr R Ganfield and Mr M Wilkes. M Jones is the fourth official.

Online Coverage

As with every First Team game, we'll be providing minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day on our official Twitter feed plus goal updates on our official Facebook page.

You can listen to live commentary courtesy of BBC Solent on Saints Player, where you can keep up to date with all the stats and scores from around the country.

First Team Manager Nigel Adkins and defender Luke Shaw spoke ahead of the game, and you can read their pre match thoughts on now

Don’t forget, after Saturday’s game there will be plenty more content on and Saints Player, so stay tuned!


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