Friday night sees a huge game for both ends of the Premier League table at the Emirates Stadium. We look ahead to the clash with our Arsenal vs Southampton prediction and preview.
Arsenal vs Southampton: Quick Hits
- Arsenal predicted to defeat Southampton by the Opta supercomputer (67.3%), with the away side being given just a 12% chance of a shock win.
- The Gunners are unbeaten in 27 successive home games against Southampton, winning 19 and drawing eight since last a 1-0 loss in 1987.
- Southampton could become the first team that Arsenal have beaten on all seven days of the week in the Premier League.
Friday night sees a clash between the top of the Premier League – Arsenal – and the team at the bottom of the table – Southampton – at the Emirates Stadium.
There have been only four occasions of bottom beating top in the competition history, the last of those coming back in February 2011 when Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Manchester United at home. None of those four defeats have seen the table-topping side play at home.
More evidence that points towards an Arsenal win in this match is their excellent home record against Southampton. The Gunners have never lost a Premier League home match against Saints (W16 D7 L0), the most often that one side has hosted another without losing in the history of the competition.
Overall, Arsenal are unbeaten in 27 successive home games against Southampton in league competition (W19 D8 L0), not losing against them since a 1-0 defeat at Highbury in November 1987. Only against Fulham (30 games currently) have Arsenal ever had a longer unbeaten home streak in the league.
But Southampton did take points off Arsenal in the home meeting earlier this season, drawing 1-1 in October at St Mary’s Stadium. They haven’t avoided defeat in both Premier League meetings with Arsenal within a season since 2015-16.
We might also see a Premier League first for Arsenal on Friday night. The Gunners have defeated Southampton on each of the other six days of the week in the competition – should they win this encounter then it’ll be the first time that they’ve defeated an opponent on all seven days of the week. A nightmare situation for Southampton-supporting Craig David, mind.
Arsenal look set to be without the quartet of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko, William Saliba and Mohamed Elneny through injury, while Southampton will be missing injured key players Che Adams and Mohamed Salisu, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is unable to play against his parent club.
Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: 23 October 2022 (Premier League)
These two clubs shared the points in an unremarkable Premier League encounter back in October.
This 1-1 draw at St Mary’s was just the second time in the opening 11 games of the season that Arsenal had dropped points in a league match, with Granit Xhaka opening the scoring after 11 minutes, firing past Saints’ goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu following a low Ben White cross.
Stuart Armstrong first goal in his 21st Premier League appearance levelled the scores for Southampton midway through the second half, before Martin Ødegaard thought he’d won the game for Mikel Arteta’s side, only to see his goal ruled out by VAR.
This was one of only five Premier League games this season that Arsenal have posted an xG total of 1.00 or lower.
After winning seven successive games following a 3-1 home defeat to Manchester City on 15 February, Arsenal’s chance of a first Premier League title since 2003-04 seemed to be likely. However, those wins against Aston Villa, Leicester City, Everton, Bournemouth, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Leeds have been followed up by disappointment.
On paper, 2-2 draws away at Liverpool and West Ham United might look like decent results. However, they were 2-0 up in both matches and have dropped four crucial points from those two-goal leads. The Gunners have dropped as many points from being ahead in these two games (4) as they had in their previous 47 matches (draws with Southampton and Brentford this season).
Despite this, Arsenal are still on the joint-longest unbeaten run currently in the Premier League, alongside rivals Man City (nine games).
Southampton are now winless in six Premier League games under Ruben Selles (W0 D2 L4) – the third longest current run in the competition behind Nottingham Forest (10 games) and Leicester City (nine games).
Since beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February, Southampton have failed to win any of their three away Premier League games, also failing to score in all three (D1 L2).
Arsenal: Gabriel Jesus
We picked Jesus as our Arsenal man to watch last weekend and it’s no different on Friday night. Arsenal need to win this match and to do that, they need goals (plus another inspired Aaron Ramsdale performance in goal, no doubt).
No player will be a bigger goal threat than this fox-in-the-box. All 67 of Jesus’ goals have come inside the penalty area – no player has scored more goals in the competition with them all coming exclusively inside the opposition box.
Jesus’s goal at West Ham last weekend was the 54th Premier League game that he’d scored in (67 goals in total) and he’s still yet to lose any of those matches. In fact, he’s now level with James Milner’s Premier League record of 54 games scored in and never losing.
Jesus has scored nine Premier League goals this season – with Martin Ødegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka already each scoring 10+, this could be just the second season to see four players reach double figures for the Gunners after 2012-13 (Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott).
Southampton: James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse’s prowess from set-piece situations is well known. He’s now only one away from equalling David Beckham’s all-time Premier League free kick record, while he’s nearly always the man on corner duties for Southampton, taking 123 of their 130 Premier League corners in 2022-23 (95%).
Not only this, but the majority of Southampton’s creative threat comes via the England international midfielder. He’s created 62 chances in the Premier League this season, with 36 of these coming from set play scenarios. This isn’t to say he’s ineffective creatively from open play, either – only Che Adams (2.62) and Mohamed Elyounoussi (2.01) have a higher open play xG assisted than Ward-Prowse this season in the top flight (1.84).
Top scorer Ward-Prowse has scored nine goals in all competitions for the Saints this season and could reach double figures for the second time in his career following his 11 last term. Six of his nine goals this season have come away from home, with four of those strikes coming in London, including league goals at Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Fulham.
Four of his seven Premier League goals this season have come from set-pieces (three free kicks, one penalty), while he’s the only outfielder to play every single minute of Southampton’s Premier League campaign so far. A further display of how integral he is to this Southampton side, no player has averaged as many successful passes as him on a per 90 basis (45), while only Mohammed Salisu averages as many touches per 90 (70).
Arsenal vs Southampton Prediction
It’ll come as little surprise that Arsenal are heavy favourites for this Premier League game against Southampton with the Opta supercomputer. The Gunners are being given a 67.3% chance of victory before kick-off on Friday, with Saints given only a 12% chance of causing a big shock.
Following successive 2-2 draws after throwing away 2-0 leads, Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League title in 2022-23 have dropped to 33.1% behind Man City’s 66.9% – this ahead of their monumental clash at the Etihad Stadium in midweek.
Southampton are in huge trouble at the bottom of the table and are currently four points from safety. The Opta supercomputer makes them favourites for relegation at 93.9%, ahead of Nottingham Forest (74.7%), Everton (56.3%), Leicester City (48.7%) and Leeds United (22.1%).
The south-coast club have only been relegated from the Premier League on one previous occasion. Back in 2004-05, they finished bottom of the league standings and dropped to the Championship with Norwich City and Crystal Palace. This was the only EPL season where none of the relegation spots had been decided before the final day of the campaign.