The Gunners have dropped points in their last two league matches, which has allowed second-placed Manchester City to close the gap to four points with a game in hand, while Southampton sit bottom of the division, four points from the safety of 17th position.
Arsenal’s title charge has been halted somewhat in their last two matches, dropping points against both Liverpool and West Ham United despite being two goals ahead in the two games at Anfield and the London Stadium respectively.
Indeed, Mikel Arteta’s side were 2-0 ahead against Liverpool inside 28 minutes on April 4 before being forced to share the spoils, while they opened up a two-goal lead over West Ham last weekend before Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen netted to level the scores in the English capital.
Arsenal’s lead at the summit is four points over second-placed Man City, who have a game in hand, so they will be bidding to move seven points clear of the English champions on Friday night.
The top two will meet in a gigantic clash at the Etihad Stadium next Wednesday, meaning that there is no room for error in this game for Arteta’s team, who have won 23, drawn five and lost three of their 31 league matches during an excellent campaign.
Arsenal – bidding to win their first Premier League title since 2004 – have the second-best home record in the league this term, picking up 38 points from 15 matches, but they will be welcoming a Southampton side that have been better on their travels than in front of their own fans.
Indeed, Southampton have collected 13 of their 23 points away from home, recording four wins in the process, including a 1-0 success over Chelsea in the middle of February, while they held Manchester United to a goalless draw at Old Trafford on March 12.
Ruben Selles’s side have not been victorious in the league since the start of March, losing four of their last five, including each of their last three against West Ham United, Man City and Crystal Palace.
The Saints are bottom of the table, but it is not quite time to hit the panic button, as they sit four points behind 17th-placed Everton on the same number of matches (31), and there is still a lot of football to be played before the end of the campaign.
Selles’s team have a huge game at home to Bournemouth on April 27, and they will then end the month away to top-four chasing Newcastle United before travelling to Nottingham Forest in their first game of May.
Southampton are actually unbeaten in their last two games against Arsenal, picking up four points in the process, but they suffered a 3-0 loss when they last travelled to North London in December 2021, with Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Magalhaes on the scoresheet.
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Southampton Premier League form:
We say: Arsenal 2-1 Southampton
This has the potential to be a very tricky match for Arsenal, as Southampton can pull off big results on their travels despite their struggles this season. The Gunners will be desperate to return to winning ways, though, and we are backing them to navigate their way to a huge three points.