The first day of 2015 brings a highly entertaining Premier League game: Southampton host Arsenal for the right to decide the 4th placed team. Both teams have the same number of points, but Southampton have the last Champions League place due to a superior goal difference. Southampton is on an unbeaten run of three matches, Arsenal on one of five, but in the end, only one team will get to continue said record.
Southampton started the season well but then ended up losing five matches in a row, including one against Arsenal at the beginning of December. Their most recent result is a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, but against the Gunners, they will have to do without Schneiderlin who got a red card against Chelsea. Tadic and Ward-Prowse return from injury, but chances are they will come only as substitution, and still be able to help their team in the attack. Notice the fact that Arsenal has conceded the most goals from counter attacks during the first half of Premier League, with three.
Arsenal comes from another well-deserved, but a hard-fought win against West Ham, which puts them in the direct battle for third place with Manchester United. Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain make a good duel for assisting and scoring goals, and with Sanchez in great form, the Gunners will be up for at least the same result as against West Ham. Debuchy and Koscielny’s return kept Szczęsny mostly out of dangerous situations, and Arsene Wenger is hoping for another away win.
In the first half of the season the teams met twice, shared the wins, but looking back at statistics, Southampton is unable to win against Arsenal in Premier League since 2002. However, with how good Sanchez and Welbeck are, they will have to get past Forster who only conceded 15 goals this season. Theo Walcott could also start which will increase Arsenal’s speed and make it almost impossible for the hosts to keep up the pace.
Bet365 gives Southampton 3.00 odds, slightly favoring the Gunners for the three points with 2.50 odds. A draw has 3.40 odds, Southampton for both halves 4.75 odds and Arsenal in the same market 4.00 odds. Over 2.5 goals has 2.00 odds, both teams to score 1.72, Graziano Pelle has 2.40 odds to score, Alexis Sanchez 2.62 and Danny Welbeck 2.75. Southampton to win either half 1.90 odds while Arsenal got 1.72 for either half. We are going to bet 5 units on Arsenal scoring in both halves with 3.75 odds from Bet365.
Southampton: Team’s Formation
Arsenal London: Team’s Formation
Prediction for the match: Arsenal to score in both halves