Arsenal vs. Southampton: Complete Preview, Team News and Projected Lineups
Arsenal have gotten off to a solid, if unspectacular, start to their Premier League campaign.
Southampton, back in the top flight after a seven-year absence that took them as low as the third tier of English football before back-to-back promotions brought them back into the big time, are yet earn a point in their first three games this season.
And yet, Saturday's match at the Emirates Stadium is by no means a formality for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger's side are yet to concede a goal, but it took them until their last match, a 2-0 win at Liverpool, to hit the back of the net.
Nigel Adkins's Saints, meanwhile, can count themselves unfortunate to lose 3-2 to both Manchester clubs, although a 2-0 home defeat to Wigan will have set alarm bells ringing at St Mary's.
Here is a look at the head-to-head record between these two clubs, their recent results against each other and the team news for both sides.
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The first ever meeting between these two clubs was in the semifinals of the 1927 FA Cup, which Arsenal won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge before losing the final to Cardiff City.
Their first league meeting was not until 1966. Since then, Arsenal have won 35 encounters to Southampton's 16, while there have been 19 draws.
In the last decade, these two served up a lot of entertaining games.
In the 2004-05 season, Southampton were relegated, but they managed two draws against the Gunners when they were defending champions.
Two seasons before that, they met in the FA Cup final, with Robert Pires's only goal sealing Arsenal's ninth triumph in the competition at the Millennium Stadium. While Arsenal had thrashed Southampton 6-1 at Highbury just 10 days previously, Southampton had already registered a 3-2 victory at St Mary's earlier in the campaign. This was the club's most recent win over the Londoners.
That was the scoreline by which Southampton beat the Gunners in the last ever official game at the club's old ground, The Dell in 2001. In typical fashion, it was club legend Matt Le Tissier who scored the last winner that day.
Arsenal Team News
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Midfielder Abou Diaby was Arsenal's Man of the Match in the win at Anfield, but the injury-prone midfielder picked up a thigh muscle problem while on international duty. The Frenchman will undergo a fitness test on Friday before Wenger decides whether or not to risk him.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is set to return after missing the last two games with a rib injury.
Theo Walcott could also be passed fit to play after he withdrew from the England squad with a virus.
Elsewhere, long-term absentees Bacary Sagna, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere are nearing returns to full training, but will play no part in first-team affairs for a few games at least.
Southampton Team News
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Uruguay midfielder Gaston Ramirez could make his debut for Southampton following his club-record £12 million arrival from Bologna.
Fellow new arrival Maya Yoshida, a Japan international defender, is also pushing for a first appearance, while a third summer signing, Zambia striker Emmanuel Mayuka, is pushing for a start after coming off the bench against Manchester United.
Defender Danny Fox withdrew from international duty with Scotland and could regain his place, but this game may have come too soon for midfielder Jack Cork after he underwent ankle surgery in the summer.
Arsenal Predicted Lineup
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DF: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs
MF: Cazorla, Ramsey, Arteta
FW: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Podolski
Southampton Predicted Lineup
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GK: K Davis
DF: Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox
MF: Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Ramirez, Davis, Lallana