Arsenal have won just one of the last six league visits to St Mary’s Stadium to face Southampton, but following that statistic might prove to be as wise as spending your Christmas Day watching the Mrs Brown’s Boys special come December 26.
While the Gunners are firing on all cylinders, and have their eyes firmly locked on a first league title since 2004, Southampton are plummeting down the league having picked up just one point from a possible 15 in the last month. With Arsenal dominating the calendar year in the top flight, could this be a case of Saints vs Winners?
It certainly has been Arsenal’s year. The Gunners have racked up an average of 2.14 points per game and have had the meanest defence, keeping 15 clean sheets along the way – no other side in the Premier League has more. The arrival of Petr Cech in the summer has only helped bolster an already tight defence, limiting their opponents to just 0.74 goals per game on average, while Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez have a combined 31 goals since January 1st.
That haul contributes 46 per cent to the Gunners’ total of 68 – an average of 1.89 per game as they continue to keep pace at the top of the table while other teams crumble quicker than a fresh digestive biscuit in a piping hot brew.
Southampton themselves have less to boast about. Ronald Koeman’s side have won fewer games than Watford, West Ham and Stoke this season and have picked up a victory in just three home games this campaign. Their last five games make for miserable reading, as the Saints have lost to Stoke, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Tottenham, while also scraping a point at home to Championship-bound Aston Villa.
At this stage last season Southampton had picked up 29 points – a tally that would see them in the top four currently if they had maintained that form. Instead they sit eight points off the pace in 12th, closer to the drop zone than the Champions League places. It’s unlikely that they’ll find any respite from a rampant Arsenal side on Boxing Day. Who said Christmas was the season of goodwill?
So if you’re rounding off the Boxing Day footballing feast with a punt at St Mary’s, it seems crazy to oppose Arsenal at odds of . The Gunners are firing on all cylinders towards the top of the league and can keep tight on Leicester’s tails with all three points against Southampton.
Petr Cech between the sticks has given Arsenal’s defence a healthy boost, and the Gunners can boast about having the meanest defence in the league this season having conceded just 14 goals. Throw into this mix that Southampton have failed to find the onion bag in three of their last five league games, and the on Arsenal to win to nil has us giddier than a teenager finding a dirty magazine thrown into a hedge.
While Arsenal have been strong at the back, they have also shown plenty of promising intent going forward, in particular star striker, and Paddy Power heart-throb Olivier Giroud. The French front man now has 12 goals in his last 14 games for the Gunners, including the deciding strike against Manchester City on Monday. Punters may be tempted by the that Olivier Giroud scores at any time in an Arsenal win – a bet that would have clicked in four of the last five league games.
If you’re looking for something to spice up the few days between Christmas and New Year however, take a look at Arsenal to win 3-0 at . It’s Arsenal’s most popular winning scoreline this season, while Saints have lost 3-0 at home already this term – against Everton in August. With the Saints heading worryingly south, and the Gunners looking more like title winners every week, it could just brighten up your Boxing Day.