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Arsenal vs Southampton Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Ups, Key Man & Prediction

Arsenal will play-host to high-flying Southampton on Saturday afternoon. Here’s a preview with team news, likely line-ups and predicted score for the game.

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Arsenal will play-host to high-flying Southampton on Saturday afternoon with the north Londoners hoping to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.

We head into the game sitting top of the league despite losing 1-0 to Manchester United before the international break. An opportunity was certainly missed that day to put some daylight between us and the chasing pack, but we held our own and probably deserved something from the game, so we shouldn’t be too despondent.

The loss at Old Trafford was only our second of the season with the last coming way back on the opening day of the campaign, so hopefully we can put a long unbeaten record together again starting this weekend.

However, it’s not going to be easy against an impressive Southampton side who sit third in the table and are fully deserving of their lofty placing after 11 games.  The Saints have lost just once so far and have conceded just five goals all season, which is the lowest tally in the division, so it’s going to be an extremely tricky test.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have already come away from Anfield and Old Trafford with positive results so we should know what they are capable of and not take anything for granted.

Team News

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Theo Walcott is back in the squad after finally recovering from an abdominal injury that’s kept him out for the best part of two months. Whether he’ll be recalled straight back into the starting line-up remains to be seen but I’d like to see him start as his pace will be useful.

Mathieu Flamini is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season at Old Trafford, so Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta are expected to form the central midfield partnership. Jack Wilshere is fit but I think Wenger will choose to keep him in reserve after he played in both England fixtures.

German defender Per Mertesacker will be recalled in place of Thomas Vermaelen and Tomas Rosicky should pass a late fitness test, but Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby remain out.

Southampton have no fresh injury worries to contend with following the international break. Midfielder Jack Cork is missing though after injuring his ankle last week and he joins Guly do Prado on the sidelines with the attacker still recovering from a knee operation.

Gaston Ramirez will face a late fitness check as he only arrived back in the UK on Friday following his exploits for Uruguay.

Likely Line-Ups

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Key Man

Theo Walcott: The England speedster is going to play a vital role if selected from the start. His pace will be important in taking advantage of Southampton’s high defensive line while he is also a goal threat that Arsenal have missed in recent weeks.

Predicted Score

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton: The visitors are expected to be stubborn opposition but we should have too much threat going forward for them to handle.

What team would you like to see start and what’s your score prediction? Share your suggestions below.

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