FA Cup holders Arsenal face a daunting fourth-round away trip to fellow Premier League side Southampton on Saturday at 12.15pm (UK time).
The Gunners sealed their progression to this stage after dispatching Newcastle 2-0 at home earlier this month, and they have since followed up with another win and a clean sheet against the Magpies in the league at the weekend, generating some momentum for Mikel Arteta heading into this game.
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Where to watch Southampton vs Arsenal on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 1 & BT Sport Ultimate
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Southampton 1-2 Arsenal
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Southampton vs Arsenal build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Ralph Hasenhuttl will oversea back-to-back FA Cup matches after seeing off Shrewsbury Town in Southampton’s rescheduled third-round tie on Tuesday, which has given his side some respite from the league, having won just one of their last six games, though that did come against Liverpool at St Mary’s.
Arsenal, likewise, have been enjoying some recent success in the league and remain unbeaten post-Christmas, following up a Boxing Day triumph over Chelsea with four wins from their proceeding five games, including that third-round win over Newcastle, as Arteta goes in search of defending his domestic cup crown.
- Southampton (vs Shrewsbury): Forster; Valery, Bednarek, Stephens, Vokins; Ward-Prowse, Diallo, Chauke, Watts; Long, N’Lundulu.
- Arsenal (vs Newcastle): Leno; Cedric, Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Partey, Xhaka, Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang; Lacazette.
Hasenhuttl has been rocked by a recent bout of injury problems with the likes of Jannik Vestergaard, Nathan Redmond, Oriol Romeu, Moussa Djenepo, Michael Obafemi, Nathan Tella and William Smallbone all occupying the treatment tables. However, Danny Ings is expected to return here, while Hasenhuttl should make wholesale changes from the unrecognisable XI who saw off the Shrews in midweek.
The only main injury issue for Arteta is that to Pablo Mari, who is struggling with a calf problem, while Dani Ceballos faces a late fitness test.
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Players to watch:
- Southampton: The emergence of Jannik Vestergaard this season as a more consistent and rather prolific threat has been excellent news for Hasenhuttl, with the towering Dane forming a reliable centre-back partnership with Jan Bednarek, but that has pushed Jack Stephens down the pecking order. With Vestergaard now injured, Stephens has a huge opportunity to step up to the plate and give Hasenhuttl a real managerial headache when the former returns from the sidelines. Since stepping in for the injured Vestergaard, Stephens has helped Southampton keep four clean sheets in five games, including that win over Liverpool and Tuesday’s 2-0 triumph against Shrewsbury. An in-form Arsenal will be his latest test, but given his current form, Stephens should be up for the challenge.
- Arsenal: Saturday’s match presents another opportunity for Nicolas Pepe to gain some minutes and start asking questions of his manager’s selection process. As it stands, Arteta has had little trouble starting youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe ahead of the Ivorian, while Gabriel Martinelli also seems to be ahead in the queue, with the club’s record signing really struggling to influence games when given the chance. It will be in these cup competitions where Pepe can silence the critics and start vindicating his lofty price tag, but another anonymous showing like the previous round against Newcastle, and Arteta’s patience will start to wear thin. He must come to the fore now, or face a quiet second half of the season.
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