Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Southampton v Arsenal

Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary's on Boxing Day

Mark Lawrenson is tipping Arsenal to edge to a 2-1 victory over Southampton at St Mary’s in their Boxing Day clash in the Premier League.

The Gunners have been installed as the favourites to win the Premier League title this season after their impressive 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

Arsenal head to the south coast in second place in the Premier League table and two points behind surprise leaders Leicester, who face a tricky tie against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

And former Liverpool man Lawrenson reckons that Arsenal will have just too much for the Saints on Saturday evening.

Lawrenson told BBC Sport: “I watched Arsenal in Athens when they beat Olympiakos and thought they were very good, making the Greek champions look ordinary. And when they went to Aston Villa I thought ‘this is Arsenal, eventually they let themselves down’. But they haven’t.

“They have kicked on and I think the victory over Manchester City will give them great belief that they can win the title. It is games where you win ugly that convince you that you can win the league, not games where you win 3-0 or 4-0.

“The trip to St Mary’s is a tricky match for Arsenal. But if they are going to win the league then they need to win.

“Southampton are not looking like scoring, which is always a problem. Graziano Pelle is a streaky striker – he has runs of scoring – and if he doesn’t score you wonder where are the goals coming from. They are consistently inconsistently.”

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Arsenal, who will face Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League in the new year, are looking to win their first Premier League title since their famous unbeaten triumph back in the 2003-04 campaign.

The Gunners have won the FA Cup for the last two years running.

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