- The fourth round of England’s FA Cup takes place this weekend starting on Friday with Chorley vs Wolves
- On Saturday there is an all-EPL tie between Southampton and Arsenal
- We preview the games, look at the odds, and offer a best bet
Arsenal’s defense of their FA Cup crown continues on Saturday, January 23, KO 7:15 am EST when they travel to Southampton’s Mary’s Stadium. The Gunners have emerged from a poor run of form in the EPL at just the right time and will fancy their chances of going deep in this competition again, but Southampton will offer a tough challenge.
Southampton vs Arsenal FA Cup Odds
|Southampton vs Arsenal||SOU +1 (-385) | ARS -1 (+290)||SOU +210 | DRAW +230 | ARS +133||Ov 2.5 (+104) | Un 2.5 (-129)|
All odds taken Jan 21 at DraftKings
The Young Saints Deliver for Hasenhuttl
Key to the outcome of this one will be the team that Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl picks. Their third-round game, a home tie with Shrewsbury, did not take place until this Tuesday due to a coronavirus outbreak at the League One club. But, the match was professionally dealt with by Hasenhuttl’s men who comfortably won 2-0, despite fielding a team that included several youngsters. The big question is whether a similarly youthful team will be able to successfully compete with the Gunners.
Our captain ❤️
⚡️ @Aubameyang7 pic.twitter.com/whxyoL5hy6
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 19, 2021
The Saints’ line-up against Shrewsbury included the unfamiliar names Dan Nlundulu, Caleb Watts, Jake Vokins and Kgagelo Chauke, with Nlundulu opening the scoring for them in the 17th minute, but it was the more familiar name of James Ward-Prowse who sealed the 2-0 win with one of his trademark curling free-kicks.
Dream come true…only thing missing was you fans. First start and first goal ✅ #SaintsFC pic.twitter.com/u8eH6N9KvI
— Dan Nlundulu (@nlundulu) January 20, 2021
Given the Saints’ long injury list, which includes Jannik Vestergaard, Moussa Djenepo, Nathan Redmond, Sofiane Boufal and Danny Ings, Hasenhuttl will likely have to mix and match again, and will also be without the suspended Ryan Bertrand. The Austrian would like to progress in this competition as his FA Cup record since he arrived at St. Mary’s has been average at best with two exits in round four but he will need to balance this with two important upcoming EPL games, against Arsenal (again) and Aston Villa.
Southampton vs Arsenal Head-to-Head Stats
|9th||Current position in EPL||10th|
|18 / 8||Games played / Wins||19 / 8|
|21||FA Cup finals||4|
|14||FA Cup wins||1|
Arsenal eased past Newcastle in midweek with a comfortable and impressive 3-0 win in the EPL but made hard work of beating the same opponents in the third round of the FA Cup. After drawing 0-0 after 90 minutes, two extra-time goals – from Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – were just enough to see them through to the fourth round.
Aubameyang – who by his high standards has had a disappointing season – also managed a brace against the Toon in the 3-0 win (Bukayo Saka scored the other) and so, ominously for Southampton, has started to hit the form that saw him lead the Gunners to FA Cup glory last season.
See you on Saturday (and Tuesday), @SouthamptonFC ?#EmiratesFACup | @premierleague pic.twitter.com/Ye4rHvn590
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 19, 2021
It is no coincidence that Aubameyang’s return to the goals has coincided with his team turning around a terrible run of form and embarking on a run that has seen them go unbeaten in six in all competitions – five wins and a draw. Even more impressive is the fact that along the way they have kept five straight clean sheets.
Greater Pressure on Arsenal?
Ultimately, as things stand, this is a one-off shoot-out between two mid-table EPL teams, albeit it is the Gunners who are the bigger club who, as a result, will expect rather than hope to improve in the second half of the campaign. While the Saints look comfortable in midtable, Hasenhuttl will be acutely aware of how easy it is to get sucked into the relegation dogfight while Mikel Arteta will expect Arsenal to push on now and press for a European place. These differing expectations may well dictate Saturday’s outcome.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 20, 2021
In their last 12 meetings, Southampton has only won twice – the most recent one in December 2018 – with Arsenal winning 2-0 the last time the pair met at St Mary’s, in June 2020, so recent history is against the Saints. So too is the fact Arsenal will be hoping, buoyed by their recent upturn, to salvage something from this season. That something may well be another FA Cup.
With the Gunners’ need for silverware that much greater than Southampton’s, I see the +133 for the away win as decent value.
Pick: Arsenal to win (+133)