Mark Lawrenson reveals his prediction for Arsenal v Southampton

Mark Lawrenson is backing Arsenal to return to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Southampton at The Emirates on Saturday afternoon

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media)

Mark Lawrenson is tipping Arsenal to return to winning ways against Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Mikel Arteta’s side have lost three of their last four Premier League games to leave the Gunners in seventh position in the table behind West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United in the top-four race.

Arsenal’s 11-game unbeaten run came to an end in a 4-0 loss to Liverpool FC before the north London side initially bounced back with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at The Emirates at the end of last month.

But the Gunners suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats despite breaking the deadlock in a 3-2 loss to Manchester United before Everton came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Monday night.

Southampton are winless in their last four Premier League games to leave Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side in 16th position in the table. The Saints are six points above the relegation zone but level on points with Crystal Palace and Leeds United.

BBC Sport pundit Lawrenson is predicting that Arsenal will end a losing run with a narrow 2-1 victory over the Gunners at The Emirates on Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t like to say ‘same old Arsenal’ because it’s a phrase I’ve used a lot in recent seasons but, at the moment, it feels like we’ve seen this before from the Gunners,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“It must be very frustrating for their manager, Mikel Arteta. After making such a bad start to the season they had started to look like they knew what they were doing, but then all of a sudden you chuck in a couple of poor displays and they are almost back to square one.

“That tells me more about the team’s mindset than any lack of quality in certain areas. Have they got a couple of people who, when it gets a bit tough, do not quite fancy it? I feel that is the case with Arsenal a little bit.

“They play some lovely football – even when they lost 4-0 at Liverpool a couple of weeks ago – but as soon as something goes against them, they don’t seem to be able to deal with it.

“Despite all of that, Arsenal are at home on Saturday, where their record is a lot better, and I still think they will beat Southampton, who should have beaten Brighton easily last week but would probably take a draw here, if they can get one.”

Arsenal have won 58 of their 98 games against Southampton in all competitions.

The Gunners were 3-1 winners against Southampton in their most recent meeting at St Mary’s back in January thanks to goals from Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette.

Arsenal have only managed to win three of their last six games against the south coast club.

Granit Xhaka returned from injury to feature in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat by Everton on Monday night despite initially being ruled out until the New Year.

And Arteta was delighted to be able to welcome back Xhaka ahead of the busy festive schedule.

“It’s the way he works and it’s the way he is,” Arteta told Arsenal’s website.

“Credit to the medical team as well for the work that they’ve done and it’s great to have him back.”

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