John Barnes states his prediction for Southampton v Arsenal

John Barnes is tipping Southampton to make Arsenal work hard for a victory at St Mary's on Boxing Day

John Barnes is backing Arsenal to beat Southampton on Boxing Day – but not without a struggle.

The Gunners head into Saturday night’s game looking to continue their recent fine form and build on their impressive 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester City at The Emirates on Monday night.

Arsenal have been installed as the favourites to win the Premier League title this season following their victory over Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

The north London side are second in the table and two points behind leaders Leicester, who face a tricky trip to Liverpool on Boxing Day.

And although former England striker Barnes is expecting Arsenal to be put through their paces by the Saints at St Mary’s, he does expect the Gunners to secure a victory, tipping a 3-1 scoreline.

Barnes wrote on his blog for Titanbet: “Even though Arsenal are in great form and Southampton have found playing at home difficult, this is no foregone conclusion.

“I’m backing Arsenal to win, but it won’t be easy for Arsene Wenger’s side.

“The goal-scorers [will be] Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Sadio Mane.”

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Arsenal, who finished third last season, are aiming to win their first Premier League title since the 2003-04 season.

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