Arsenal will travel to Southampton looking to continue their fine form and increase their lead at the top of the Premier League table over Manchester City, who will play Tottenham a day later. Arsene Wenger revealed in the press conference ahead of matchday that Aaron Ramsey, the club’s best player in the first half of the season, will be available after a four-week injury layoff.
Ramsey’s performance has been phenomenal this season, and one could argue that the break from action has done a world of good after the team’s congested fixture list finally took its toll on him. The news is sure to delight fans and players alike, and Wenger will look to fire his squad into a big February as another tough FA Cup home fixture against Liverpool has been added to the list after the draw was conducted yesterday.
In other team news for the Gunners, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen are also back as Jack Wilshere is expected to sit out with an ankle injury. Arsenal will look to take advantage of the struggling Saints, who have won only two of their last eight League games and are finding it tough to replicate their spectacular form at the start of the season.
With Wenger’s squad firing on all cylinders after dispatching League One outfit Coventry City with ease, the team can bank on its momentum and the return to form of Lukas Podolski, who is no doubt hoping for another start and a chance to increase his goal tally for the season.
Arsenal need to avoid being complacent against a capable Southampton side looking to put some off-field distractions behind. The Gunners need all three points to keep the criticism against their title credentials from returning and most importantly, to keep their biggest challengers in City and Chelsea at bay for yet another round.