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Southampton vs Arsenal Premier League Preview

December 31, 2012


Arsene Wenger's team will kick-off at St Mary's in New Year's Day's evening kick-off full of confidence after hammering Newcastle United 7-3 in their last outing of 2012.

Former Southampton teenage sensation Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick in that game and will hope to start against his ex-club for the first time since leaving in January 2006. 

Walcott made a 15-minute substitute appearance in September's 6-1 thrashing of the Saints at Emirates Stadium and scored Arsenal's sixth goal. 

But the England international will now hope to be in Wenger's first XI for a game which seems certain to promise goals. 

Relegation zone occupants Southampton have not struggled to score since returning to the Premier League but they have also had problems keeping clean sheets. 

That was epitomised in Saturday's 3-3 draw against a normally defensively stingy Stoke City and Adkins is well aware improvements are needed if Saints are to escape the drop.



Southampton are expected to make changes to their line-up to face Arsenal on New Year's Day but could again be without captain Adam Lallana. 

The midfielder suffered a knee problem in the game with Reading at the beginning of December and since has not featured. 

After rotating his squad for the dramatic draw with Stoke City, Nigel Adkins could decide to recall several men, such as playmaker Gaston Ramirez.


Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker could be available after illness for the trip to St Mary's. 

Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky was left on the bench for Saturday's 7-3 win over Newcastle, so may also come back into contention to feature at St Mary's. 

Defender Andre Santos (stomach muscle) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) are expected to start training again this week.


Source: SkySports


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