Arsenal have their work cut out for them if they wish to remain top of the league.
That’s the case every week from here on out, with Manchester City breathing down their necks, any slip-up from the Gunners could be title death.
Arsene Wenger’s side heads out to a difficult fixture at St. Mary’s this afternoon to take on Southampton at 2:45pm ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
It’s been a tough few weeks for the Saints, falling handily to Chelsea on New Year’s Day, finding themselves held at Sunderland just about a week ago, and dealing with some front-office strain.
Today, however, they get some injury relief, which would be much appreciated by Mauricio Ponchettino. Midfield bruiser Victor Wanyama returns after a 7-week layoff, on the bench for today. It’s a much-needed reinforcement, with Rickie Lambert, Dani Osvaldo, Dejan Lovern, and Gaston Ramirez all out.
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc is also back in goal after being rested in the weekend’s FA Cup bout with Yeovil Town.
For the Gunners, Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen are close to a return but cannot make the squad today. However, Mikel Arteta does return to fitness in time and is in the lineup.
Bacary Sagna also starts, reportedly close to a new long-term contract with the Gunners.
Southampton – Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez, Gallagher.
Bench – K. Davis, Clyne, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Hooiveld, Isgrove.
Arsenal – Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Flamini, Ozil, Cazorla, Gnabry, Giroud.
Bench – Fabianski, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Bendtner.