Premier League: Southampton v Arsenal

Of the two games already played between the sides this season, Saints are yet to lose to Mikel Arteta’s side, drawing the league game back in December, before knocking the Gunners out of the FA Cup at the weekend, thanks to an own goal from Gabriel.

The fact that Southampton won the game courtesy of an own goal is a sign of one of their recent struggles, having only scored two goals in their last six league games. Speaking of goals, Danny Ings’ future has became a talking point this month, with the England striker mentioning his ambition to play for a club in Europe – a subject Ralph Hassenhuttl has handled shrewdly, challenging him to score enough goals to fire Southampton there rather than seek a transfer.

Arsenal’s improvement since the turn of the year sees them going into this game knowing that a win will take them above Saints and into the top half of the Premier League for the first time in months. They’ll be hoping the form of Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka can help them get there, as the pair of youngsters have been integral to the Gunners’ recent improvement.

The signing of Martin Odegaard should be complete in time for the game, but the Norwegian playmaker won’t be involved after joining until the end of the season from Real Madrid. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed the FA Cup game at the weekend due to a personal issue, and is likely to miss out again.
Dani Ceballos is struggling with a calf injury and is rated 50/50, meaning a midfield partnership of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey is expected from the start.

Things are worse for Southampton on the injury front, with ten first-teamers struggling with various issues. Jannik Vestergaard, Ryan Bertrand, Kyle Walker-Peters, Oriol Romeu, Moussa Djenepo, Michael Obafemi, Nathan Tella, Mohamed Salisu and Will Smallbone are all definitely missing. Nathan Redmond will be in the squad despite not being fully fit after injury.

If a patched-up Saints can get a win, they could move as high as sixth in the table ahead of another midweek fixture list, and ensure that the gap between themselves and the bottom half remains a healthy five points.

Southampton take on Arsenal at St Mary’s on Tuesday, January 26th. Kick-off is at 8.15pm.

Premier League: Leicester v Southampton

After 17 games, Brendan Rodgers finds his side slap bang in the middle of a title race no one seems to want to run away with, as the Foxes sit four points behind leaders Manchester United. And when United take on Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, a win could see Leicester just a point off top spot come Monday morning.

Perhaps it’s a blessing that no one seems to be talking about Leicester as potential title challengers, just as they didn’t in 2016 when Claudio Ranieri’s side pulled off the ultimate fairy tale by winning the lot.

Fast forward five years and there are still a few players that are still around from that team, with Kasper Schmeichel and Jamie Vardy still as important as ever. The Danish goalkeeper will make his 400th competitive appearance for the club on Saturday.

Speaking of the past, it’s hard to preview this game without mentioning what happened last season when these two sides met, when Leicester ran out 9-0 winners at St Mary’s, with Ayoze Perez and Vardy both scoring hat-tricks.

However, since that landmark moment, Southampton have been a different animal, and a similar score line is almost impossible to expect a repeat of. Ralph Hassenhuttl’s philosophy has been adopted by every member of the Saints squad, and they now look like a solid Premier League side capable of beating anyone on their day.

If they’re to get anything at Leicester on Saturday though, they’ll have to do so without Danny Ings, who is self-isolating after coming into contact with a COVID positive person recently. Jannik Vestergaard is out with a knee injury, while Moussa Djenepo and Nathan Redmond are also definitely missing.

Promising youngster Nathan Tella is also out, as is Michael Obafemi, who has undergone surgery on a muscle issue. There is some good news for the Saints though, as Alex McCarthy is back after missing the win over Liverpool, and Oriol Romeu and Che Adams should also be available.

Leicester have a much shorter injury list by comparison, with only Dennis Praet definitely out with a hamstring injury which requires surgery. The Belgian suffered the problem in the 4-0 win over Stoke City last weekend, a game in which James Maddison and Jamie Vardy weren’t risked with slight knocks.

The pair will be back for the visit of Southampton though, and both Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu could also make the matchday squad, although both aren’t fully fit after injury. Soyuncu’s fellow Turk Cengiz Under should also be involved after an ankle problem.

Leicester take on Southampton at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, January 16th. Kick-off is at 8pm.

Premier League: Arsenal vs Southampton

The Gunners have usually been in excellent form in midweek games this season, winning all six of their Europa League fixtures, but woeful against Premier League opposition, losing four of their last five league games as pressure mounts on Arteta.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored more goals against Arsenal at the Emirates than for them so far this season, but will continue to be relied upon as Southampton visit the capital.

Granit Xhaka will be suspended after ridiculously getting sent off against Burnley on Sunday for grabbing Ashley Westwood around the neck. Whether or not that improves the Gunners’ chances of a result remains to be seen.

Arteta will definitely be without Thomas Partey with a thigh injury, while Nicolas Pepe is also suspended. Reiss Nelson has a chance of returning after a head injury, but Sead Kolasinac is unlikely to make the squad.

David Luiz will be assessed after missing the 1-0 defeat to Burnley with the after effects of a concussion injury sustained in that horrific clash with Raul Jimenez, while the game will come too soon for Gabriel Martinelli, who has stepped up his recovery from an ACL injury in the past week.

As for Southampton, Ralph Hassenhuttl has a fully fit squad to choose from, which seems entirely in keeping with everything going well at St Mary’s at the minute.

Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond are both available after injuries recently, and the pair combined for Saints’ third goal against Sheffield United at the weekend.

A win for Hassenhuttl could send Southampton top of the table for the second time this season, albeit for a maximum of two hours as Liverpool and Spurs play at Anfield ten minutes after the full-time whistle goes at the Emirates.

Arsenal need a win to affect things at the other end of the table, as they bid to pull themselves away from a relegation battle that is starting to tighten up.

Defeat coupled with a win for Brighton could send the Gunners as low as 16th, while a much-needed win could see them leapfrog Leeds United into 14th and stop the rot.

Arsenal take on Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, December 16th. Kick-off is at 6pm

Premier League: Southampton vs Manchester United

Saints are unbeaten in their last six, winning four of those games, and are fifth in the table going into the weekend, as whispers of a finish in the European places begin to grow on the South coast.

Ralph Hassenhuttl will be hoping his side can continue to manage without top scorer Danny Ings, with Theo Walcott netting his first goal for Southampton in almost 15 years against Wolves last week in his absence.

Walcott is set to continue his partnership with Che Adams when United come to town, as Southampton have no new injury worries from that game at Molineux.

Will Smallbone may come back into contention after missing the draw with a hamstring problem, but Nathan Redmond won’t make it due to a hamstring injury. Defender Mohamed Salisu is back training with the team but not expected to be part of the squad.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be without Paul Pogba, who is struggling with a swollen ankle. The injury kept him out of the win over Istanbul Basaksehir in the week and he is rated at 50/50 for the visit to St Mary’s. Donny Van De Beek should continue in midfield alongside Bruno Fernandes.

Jesse Lingard continues to self-isolate after coming into contact with a COVID positive person, while defensive trio Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly are both longer-term absentees.

Solskjaer is hoping Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka shake off back and ankle injuries in time for selection, after both were withdrawn early the Champions League win on Tuesday night.

A fourth straight win would further ease the pressure on the Norwegian manager, after rumours of his sacking intensified earlier this month, and move his side closer to the pack chasing Liverpool and Tottenham at the top of the league.

Southampton could leapfrog Chelsea with a win ahead of their game with Spurs later on Sunday afternoon, and continue their dream start into the congested Christmas period.

Southampton take on Manchester United on Sunday, November 29th. Kick-off is at 2pm.

Premier League: Southampton vs Newcastle

The Saints could go top of the Premier League if they beat the Geordies, having gone five games unbeaten since losing their opening two.

They’ll have to do it without Ings though, who suffered a knee injury against Aston Villa which is set to keep him out for between four and six weeks. It’s a massive blow to Ralph Hassenhuttl, as Ings has netted more than a third of Southampton’s goals this season. Shane Long and Michael Obafemi are on hand to step into his starting role, while Theo Walcott is another option.

Ings isn’t the only one missing though, as Southampton aim to patch up their side after suffering a bruising encounter with Aston Villa. Jan Bednarek fell heavily under an aerial challenge and is expected to miss out through the Premier League’s concussion protocol. Hassenhuttl also confirmed left-back Ryan Bertrand is also likely to miss out with a thigh injury.

Ibrahima Diallo has a dead leg from a challenge and will also be sidelined, while Mohamed Salisu is training but not expected to be fit enough for the visit of Newcastle, according to his manager.

Newcastle on the other hand are getting a few names back to fitness, having suffered plenty of injury worries in the opening seven games.

Matty Longstaff, Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark are all fit for selection after long-term issues, leaving just Dwight Gayle, Martin Dubravka, Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie on the treatment table.

Longstaff’s elder brother Sean has taken the place of Shelvey recently, after the former Swansea man underwent hernia surgery, and is expected to continue alongside Jeff Hendrick and Miguel Almiron in midfield, after the trio played in the win over Everton last weekend.

Callum Wilson will go in search of his seventh goal of the season, as he aims to put the disappointment of missing out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad behind him. There were also calls for Karl Darlow to join the national team, but the England boss explained that in his opinion, no one is pushing his current crop of keepers enough.

A win for Newcastle would send them third in the table ahead of Saturday and Sunday’s games, and keep their unbeaten away run going, having not suffered an away defeat yet this season.

Southampton vs Newcastle United at St Mary’s is on Friday, November 6th. Kick-off is at 8pm.

Southampton hunting for Hojbjerg replacement

Reports have emerged this week linking Ralph Hassenhuttl with Everton midfielder Tom Davies and Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham, with both rumoured to be happy to move on.

Davies has found himself out of Everton’s starting XI for both of their games this season, playing just one minute of league football against Spurs on the opening day. The Toffees’ new trio of Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure are all ahead of the youth graduate in the pecking order, leading to rumours of a loan move for the 22-year-old.

Since losing Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham in the summer, Southampton haven’t yet replaced the Danish midfielder, and have also been linked with Celtic’s Ntcham, who could be allowed to leave after the Scottish champions were eliminated from the Champions League in the qualifying stages.

The 24-year-old is also attracting attention from France, with Marseille and Lyon keen on bringing Ntcham back to his homeland, and West Brom are also rumoured to be taking a look.

Celtic would want around £12m for the former French under-21 international who scored eight goals and registered four assists during Celtic’s title-winning 2019-20 season.