Southampton vs Arsenal : With less than a fortnight until Christmas, the festive schedule is in full swing for the Premier League – but who will get an early present in their stockings this year?
Will it be Southampton, now under the management of new man Ralph Hasenhuttl, picking up only their second win of the season in the top flight?
Or will it be Arsenal, looking to crack the top four once more under Unai Emery as the Frenchman continues to leave his mark on the Gunners following the exit of Arsene Wenger?
There is everything to play for in a clash between these two sides, 14 places apart in the table – and plenty on the line to shape the course of their season.
|Game||Southampton vs Arsenal|
|Date||Sunday, December 16|
|Time||1:30pm GMT / 8:30am ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV CHANNEL||ONLINE STREAM|
|NBC Sports Live||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, and can be streamed on the Sky Go app.
|UK TV CHANNEL||ONLINE STREAM|
|Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Premier League||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||McCarthy, Gunn, Forster, Lewis|
|Defenders||Sores, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Targett, Valery, Hoedt, Yoshida|
|Midfielders||Romeu, Hojbjerg, Lemina, Redmond, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse, Davis, Elyounoussi|
|Forwards||Gabbiadini, Ings, Long|
The Saints will be forced to contend without Ryan Bertrand and Jack Stephens, with the pair still ruled out through injury – and Hasenhuttl also has three more doubts for Sunday’s clash.
Danny Ings, Shane Long and Cedric Soares are all nursing minor knocks and may be forced to miss the visit of the Gunners, with the lack of the former two a potential blow up front.
Possible Southampton XI: McCarthy; Soares, Bednarek, Vestergaard, Targett; Romeu, Hojbjerg, Lemina; Redmond, Armstrong; Gabbiadini.
|Goalkeepers||Leno, Cech, Martinez|
|Defenders||Bellerin, Lichtsteiner, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Jenkinson|
|Midfielders||Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi, Guendouzi, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Ozil|
|Forwards||Aubameyang, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Lacazette|
Unai Emery has to contend with two suspensions at St Mary’s, with both Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos out with single game bans.
He is also unable to call upon either Rob Holding or Danny Welbeck, with both out for an undisclosed period.
Possible Arsenal XI: Leno; Bellerin, Lichtsteiner, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac; Mkhitaryan, Torreira, Xhaka, Iwobi; Aubameyang.
Aresnal are favourites to prevail, with odds of 5/6 at bet365. Southampton are at 10/3 while a draw is 3/1.
The Unai Emery era is truly up and running at Arsenal now, with the Gunners now unbeaten in 22 games across all competitions following their win against Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday.
That impressive record has ensured that they remain firmly in the fight for a top four spot, on equal points with rivals Chelsea, and set to secure a return to Champions League football if they can keep up their form come the new year.
But Christmas has a way of springing surprises and they face a potential banana-skin in the shape of Southampton, who will be desperate to pick up only their second victory of the season.
Mark Hughes was dismissed earlier this month, having kept Saints up last season, and Ralph Hasenhuttl is now in the hot seat at St Mary’s Stadium, tasked with once again dragging the club out of a relegation dogfight.
His task is far from easy; Southampton have conceded 30 goals this year, and with just nine points to their name, look set to be firmly entrenched in another battle for survival.
They are without the experienced Ryan Bertrand too, though lead scorer Danny Ings could be back in contention.
The visitors meanwhile are without Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck, and Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are out through suspension.