Ralph Hasenhüttl, the new incumbent at Southampton, is a bit of an unknown commodity to the average football fan.
Yet, the Saints board seemed quietly smug that they’d found the right man to take up the reigns from the ever sackable Mark Hughes. The Southampton Vs Arsenal tie will be the Austrian’s second game in charge of the Saints.
He took up his role at Southampton after a resounding contract rebuff from his previous employers RB Leipzig but he had managed in his short spell in charge, to take them into the Champions league for the first time in their history.
After being beaten at the group stage, they then reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, where they were beaten by the eventual finalists Marseille.
His record at Leipzig is reasonable but no more. Played 83, Won 40, Drawn 19, Lost 24, with a win percentage of 48.9% but before adding the German club to his CV, his other clubs resembled the left over letters from a game of scrabble.
Ingolstadt 04, VfR Aale and SpVgg Unterhaching are not exactly names synonymous with trophies but he has a reputation for helping struggling clubs out pf trouble, which will soon be proven or disproven in the most difficult and competitive league in the World.
Southampton will be well prepared and ready to battle it out in the middle in the Southampton Vs Arsenal game but goals are as much of a problem to prevent, as much as they are to score. Only Fulham, who are nailed firmly to the bottom of the premiership table have conceded more.
Southampton have not won at home ALL season (D5 L2) and could set a club record of 13 Premier League games without a win today
Can Ralph Hasenhüttl turn things around for Saints? pic.twitter.com/JKv4Dug0sE
— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) December 16, 2018
I expect a decent contest in the Southampton Vs Arsenal fixture on Sunday, although Southampton don’t possess the quality, on paper at least, to upset the form books. Arsenal, despite their injuries and suspensions should carry their unbeaten run to 23 without too much difficulty.
The intriguing question is how will Emery construct a side with so many key components missing. Monreal and Koscielny are only just back from injury and it would be something of a risk to throw them in at the deep end.
Perhaps Stephan Lichtsteiner, is the most obvious choice to occupy the role of central defender for the Southampton Vs Arsenal but partnering who ? Probably Koscielny even if it isn’t for the full 90 minutes and youngster, Zech Melody is due for a place on the bench as he continues to impress.
It’s likely that Emery may plump for a flat four back line and the defensive shield of Xhaka and Torreira will continue their excellent partnership. I’d prefer Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang in the middle with Lacazette at the head of the trident.
It’s fair to assume that the Gunners will not be unduly troubled and should win the Southampton Vs Arsenal contest quite comfortably by two or three goals but Southampton have to scramble points in a hurry and will at the very least scrap it out for a point, if at all possible.
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