Ralph Hasenhüttl believes Southampton’s last meeting with Arsenal acted as a key turning point in his side’s season.
Saints dominated the game at the Emirates Stadium in November, scoring twice and creating many more chances, only to be pegged back by a last-gasp leveller in a 2-2 draw.
Hasenhüttl’s charges have continued to improve ever since, most recently with an impressive 3-0 victory at Norwich, and the boss is keen to build on that result against Arsenal at St Mary’s, where another win would see Saints join the Gunners on 40 points.
“It was an important game, not because we draw, but because it was a very good game from our side,” he began, reflecting on the Arsenal away game.
“We must win this game normally – we had a lot of chances to finish it, but it was a turnaround because we played in a new shape, we did it quite well and it was the first step in the right direction.
“We have a better organised team at the moment. Although they have a few problems with injuries, there are still a lot of very good players in their squad.
“They are still a team with a lot of quality and it is always difficult against a top-six team to get something.
“They had difficult fixtures in the first two games – both away games – and now they have a third one, so we know it’s an important game for us at home.
“We don’t see a reason why we cannot go into this game with a lot of self-confidence and respect, and we will try to bring our game on to the pitch – this is the target we have.
“When we play in the way that we can, showing the good movements we showed in the last game, anything is possible. I think we can cause every club problems.
“We will do our best to take a better percentage of points at home, and to give our fans the feeling that, although they are not here, we are doing everything so they can celebrate at home.”