Sky Sports pundit states his prediction for Southampton v Arsenal

Charlie Nicholas is backing Southampton and Arsenal to play out a 2-2 draw on Thursday evening

Charlie Nicholas
Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas (Photo: Sky Sports)

Charlie Nicholas is backing Southampton and Arsenal to play out a 2-2 draw in their Premier League clash on the south coast on Thursday evening.

The Gunners head into the game after having made a dreadful start in the Premier League return following the coronavirus pandemic.

Arsenal lost 3-0 to Manchester City in their first game since the break, and that was followed up by a 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion away from home at the weekend.

Those results have all but ended Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top four this season, with the Gunners currently in 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea FC as things stand.

Southampton are currently battling the threat of relegation and they have won two of their last four games in the top flight, including a 3-0 victory over Norwich last time out.

Former Arsenal star Nicholas is tipping the Saints and the Gunners to play out a 2-2 draw at St Mary’s on Thursday night.

Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Nicholas said: “Norwich were poor but Southampton impressed – they are much better away than they are at home, but what a season Danny Ings is having. Nathan Redmond’s movement and pace is excellent, and he is good with two feet.

“Is this the time for Redmond to really kick on? He has always been troublesome and should be doing this much more.

“I thought Emiliano Martinez did well when he came on, but tell me any goalkeeper who could play behind this back four? They are left so exposed.

“Martinez slightly got it wrong for the last goal but did not play badly at all. I cannot work out where a result is coming from for Arsenal at the minute.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looked more lively, and I do like Alexandre Lacazette but he was out of sorts. He has to earn the right to play and he is not doing enough.

“Nicolas Pepe scored a great goal but is not doing enough either. Eddie Nketiah will probably get a nod again and I do not have a problem with that.

“How do you work it out for Arsenal? The defence is poor – Mikel Arteta left Kieran Tierney out, but he does need games to get fit. He needs games to get confidence, but how do you get that in this defence? He has been brought into this.

“I do not know what his midfield selection is. Matteo Guendouzi is a talent but he needs experience with him, while Dani Ceballos is good on the ball but not without it, and we are in an absolute mess at the minute.

“We do not usually get something at Southampton and the top four is long gone, but I would be grateful for yet another draw, just to get a point on the board.”

Arsenal will return to FA Cup action on Sunday afternoon when they take on Sheffield United away from home in the sixth round.

After that, the Gunners will take on Norwich City and Wolves in their next two Premier League games.

Arsenal have not won the Premier League title since their famous unbeaten triumph in the 2003-04 campaign under Arsene Wenger, and they finished fifth and without a trophy under Unai Emery last term.

MORE: Latest Arsenal news and views

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