Arsenal match is “massive” says Southampton skipper
Arsenal match is “massive” says Southampton skipper Jose Fonte.
Arsenal and Southampton are set for a “massive” Premier League New Year’s Day clash at St Mary’s tomorrow, says Saints skipper Jose Fonte.
Saints go into the game in fourth place, ahead of the Gunners only on goal difference.
Arsenal beat Southampton at the start of December at the Emirates Stadium 1-0, with a late Alexis Sanchez goal after the Saints had been reduced to ten men.
Toby Alderweireld pulled a hamstring with six minutes to play and with no subs left, Saints had to complete the match with 10 men.
Jack Cork and Dusan Tadic went off injured and Shane Long was also replaced.
Alexis Sanchez then scored in the 89th minute as Arsenal took all three points at the death.
Ronald Koeman’s side did though knock the Gunners out of the Capital One Cup in September, when their 2-1 victory meant a first win at Arsenal since 1987.
Saints have not beaten Arsenal in their last ten league meetings, a run stretching back to November 2002 and a James Beattie double helping Saints win 3-2 at St Mary’s.
Since returning to the Premier League in 2012, both games at Saints have ended with honours even.
A Guly own goal gave Arsenal a 1-1 draw on New Year’s Day 2013, while last January’s clash ended 2-2.
Saints will be boosted by taking a point from table-topping Chelsea on Sunday, which helped them maintain their narrow advantage over the Gunners in the Premier League table.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s clash Saints skipper Fonte said “We want to stay in front of them, so it’s a massive game.”
“We always know Arsenal come up strong in the end of the season.”
“They have so much quality that it’s going to be hard to compete against them, but we’re going to do our job, we’re going to try to add points to our tally.”
“We’re going to keep going and see where it takes us.”
“We’ll take it one game at a time and, obviously, we want to stay in front of them.”
“We know the quality that they have, but we believe in our quality.”
Fonte believes Southampton can take encouragement from their display against Chelsea, in which they restricted Jose Mourinho’s title favourites to just the one shot on target.
“We proved before that we can compete against them, so it was pleasing in the way that we got a point and now we look to get a win,” said Fonte.
“It’s another point to add to the other ones we have.”
“It was against the top of the table, the best team arguably of the league, so we were pleased for that”.