Saturday 28th January. 5:30PM. BT Sport 2
FA Cup fourth round weekend is here, and the tie of the round comes from St Mary’s as Saints host Premier League rivals Arsenal.
With neither team really wanting the replay, this repeat of the 2003 final should be a frantic fixture from start to finish. Meanwhile, both teams will be raring to go after big results in their respective last matches. If it lives up to expectations, it could be a cracker.
With a little luck, our betting selections will land a tidy profit too.
Saints To Keep Marching On For Cup Double?
Whatever happens on Saturday afternoon, it has already been a fantastic week for Claude Puel’s men as they booked their place at Wembley by completing their semi-final win over Liverpool in the EFL Cup. Nonetheless, if they can follow it up with a win over Arsenal, it would be the icing on the proverbial cake.
The Saints can be confident too, not least because they’ve won four of their last five competitive games without conceding a goal. Despite losing Jose Fonte to West Ham, the hosts will be looking to blunt Arsenal’s attack in similar fashion.
Southampton have a pretty decent record against the Gunners too, winning the last two encounters here, as well as the away trip to the Emirates en route to the EFL Cup final. If Shane Long and co. can get at the visitors early on, the momentum could quickly swing in their favour.
It’s sure to be a great atmosphere following Wednesday’s victory. Maybe that 12th man could make all the difference.
Gunners Looking To Sanchez Firepower Once More
While the Premier League and Champions League trophies remain a possibility, the FA Cup is very much Arsenal’s best chance of silverware in 2016-17, and Arsene Wenger’s men will certainly fancy their chances should they overcome this difficult hurdle.
Nobody knows this competition better than the Gunners, who are aiming for a third win in four years. However, if they’re going to win this one, they may have to do it with a central midfield pairing of Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin as virtually all other options are either suspended, injured, or at the African Cup of Nations. Both players are capable, but discipline could be key.
Arsenal have unquestionably looked stronger at the back since Shkodran Mustafi’s return while their attacking options are looking better than ever as players return from the treatment table. Wenger may use this opportunity to rotate slightly, but Alexis Sanchez is one man that will be expected to start.
Last weekend’s penalty hero has been in exceptional form this term. If he links up well with Mesut Ozil here, the visitors should prevail.
Southampton v Arsenal Betting
Even with home advantage, Southampton are the 11/4 underdogs at Ladbrokes while Arsenal are 11/10 favourites. Or if you think it will go to a replay, the draw is available at 13/5.
While this is certainly a clash that could go either way, Arsenal are capable of performing at a higher level than the hosts. Given that the Saints have also had less preparation, and will already have one eye on Wembley, we expect that to show.
If anyone is going to turn the screw for the Gunners, Chilean star Sanchez is probably the most likely candidate. Assuming he starts, we’ll be backing him to score in 90 minutes.
Although Arsenal would probably be happier to get the replay, we do expect them to book their place in round five. Moreover, we expect the contest to be done and dusted long before the final whistle.
Saints don’t concede many, but they don’t tend to score many either. At odds of nearly 3/1, the -1 handicap is very tempting indeed. Weather the inevitable early storm, and a two goal margin is more than possible.