Arsenal host high-flying Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Normally at this point all the Premier League demons are cast aside to shift focus towards a tame Europa League fixture against a minnow. Arsenal have no such pleasantries awaiting them. It’s back to the Premier League.
Even on Sunday there was some optimism that a side boasting a woeful record against Arsenal would provide some respite. Burnley, without a win at the Emirates Stadium, proved that not even history is working in our favour.
Agony beyond anything supporters will have felt in their lifetimes supporting Arsenal continued to sting. Most brutal of all, this isn’t even rock bottom.
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Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side head to the capital in electric form, occupying fourth spot in the table with their best start to a season for six years and just one defeat in ten league outings. A healthy squad full of purpose and belief, Wednesday’s opposition are far from ideal.
What can Arsenal do? Signs of life, let alone three points, are all that will bring a halt, albeit likely only temporarily, to this ever increasing pain.
The circumstances facing Mikel Arteta edge nearer to irreparable. Staunch belief in his senior squad members, those who’ve consistently let him down, must be abruptly abandoned. For Wednesday he will make such alterations with a forced hand.
Four wins from 12 Premier League matches have the Gunners hovering five points and three places above the bottom three, demonstrating the level of form reminiscent of a side heading for relegation. Never before in the club’s history have they tasted five consecutive defeats on home soil. That page is open with pen in hand.
Here is your preview of Wednesday’s Premier League clash.