Ralph Hasenhuttl takes charge of his first home match since being named Southampton manager earlier this month
Southampton welcome Arsenal to St Mary’s on Sunday for what is Ralph Hasenhuttl’s home debut as Saints manager.
Hasenhuttl, the Austrian, succeeded Mark Hughes as the club’s boss earlier this month, but has had to wait until this weekend to lead his new side out at St Mary’s.
His Southampton managerial debut ended in defeat last weekend, with Cardiff triumphing at home on Saints’ trip to Wales, and Hasenhuttl will want to start picking up points quickly.
However, a defeat of Arsenal may still not be enough to guide Southampton out of the bottom three on Sunday, dependent on results elsewhere.
The Gunners, on the other hand, have their own ambitions on moving up the table.
Arsenal could also increase the gap between themselves in fifth and Manchester United in sixth to a massive 11 points, further increasing the pressure on Jose Mourinho.
What the managers are saying
Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton): “The guys have invested a lot this week; we are talking about a style that has many new things for some of them and it is a process that doesn’t change just from one day to another.”
Unai Emery (Arsenal): “We are fifth and our mind is focused on being in the first four positions. I think we are doing our way and in one process improving, but the reality is that we need more.
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- Southampton are winless in their last four games against Arsenal in all competitions (D1 L3), since a 2-0 victory in the League Cup quarter-final in November 2016.
- Arsenal have lost just two of their last 17 games against Southampton in the Premier League (W9 D6), with both of those defeats coming in 2015 with Ronald Koeman in charge of the Saints.
- Among teams they have faced at least five times in the Premier League, Southampton’s win percentage against Arsenal is their lowest against any opponent in competition history (15.8% – 38 games, six wins).
- Arsenal have won only one of their last seven away games against Southampton in the Premier League (D4 L2), with that lone victory coming in May 2017 (2-0).
- Southampton are winless in their last 14 matches in all competitions – only once have they ever had a longer run (20 games in March 1989).
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 37 Premier League games against sides starting the day in the relegation zone (W30 D6 L1), losing 1-3 at Swansea in January.
- Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl lost his first Premier League game in charge. The last time a manager’s first ever Premier League win came against Arsenal was in August 2015 (Slaven Bilic).
- Southampton’s Charlie Austin has scored in all four of his Premier League games against Arsenal. Only Raheem Sterling versus Bournemouth (6 games) has a better 100% record of scoring against a specific opponent in Premier League history.
The hosts are definitely without the injured Shane Long, while Ryan Bertrand, Michael Obafemi, Danny Ings and Cedric Soares are doubts.
Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis, the defenders, will miss out for Arsenal through suspension, while fellow centre-backs Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos are injured. They are joined on the treatment table by long-term absentee Danny Welbeck.
Laurent Koscielny could return, however, after making his first start since May in Thursday’s Europa League defeat of Qarabag.
Southampton: McCarthy; Valery; Bednarek, Vestergaard, Targett; Hojbjerg, Romeu, Lemina; Armstrong, Redmond; Austin
Arsenal: Leno; Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi; Aubameyang