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Antony Heath 31st Dec 2012 - 15:55

Saints gunner march to a point

Southampton v Arsenal - 17:30 live on Sky Sports

There is a potential  goal filled late cracker to round off New Year's day as Arsenal travel to St Mary's to take on the Saints in the days late Premier League kick-off. Southampton were involved in a 3-3 draw as the usually goal dry Britannia while Arsenal were busy handing out a 7-3 thumping to a weary Newcastle. There was also goals when these sides met back in September as the Gunners ran out easy 6-1 winners.

Southampton (4/1) have proved time and time again this season that they don't have a problem finding the back of the net and even managed to stick three past a usually tight Stoke defence but they own porous back line allowed Stoke back in to the game and they will be disappointed to have only taken a solitary point. With January starting and the window opening Nigel Adkins will be well aware of the improvements his side need to make if they are to book another flight of top season football.

The Saints have found some resilience having only lost twice in their last nine and they historically have four wins against Arsenal in the Premier League, all of which have come on the south coast. They have picked up points and if they can tighten up at the back then they stand a real chance to stop up, They rotated the squad at Stoke and can recall several fresh players, including playmaker Gaston Ramirez (9/1 First/Last, 10/3 Anytime), as they bid to beat a top half team for the first time this season. With their defensive issues Rickie Lambert (7/1 First/Last, 2/1 Anytime) and Jay Rodriguez (8/1 First/Last, 11/4 Anytime) will have to be at their clinical best.

Arsenal (7/10, draw 13/5) have found their confidence since slipping to a 2-0 home defeat to Swansea winning their last four Premier League games while rattling in an impressive 15 goals in the process. The switch of former Saints teenage protégée Theo Walcott has been a revelation these last few weeks after being played through the middle and he will be the main man again when he starts for the first time against his former team.

Theo (4/1 First/Last, Evs Anytime) has scored in two of the last four and has been a majpr influence since being moved centrally, his play has complimented the power of Lukas Podolski (9/2 First/Last, 6/5 Anytime) who has also benefitted vastly from playing alongside him. Santi Cazorla (7/1 First/Last, 2/1 Anytime) remains the playmaking hub of the team and Arsenal are finally starting to look like a complete unit. They can welcome back Per Mertesacker to the defence as they attempt to avoid dropping unnecessary points on their travels.

On paper this looks a banker for over 2.5 goals at 4/7 and is even worth a bet on over 3.5 goals at 13/8 especially with both teams being unable to defend as well as they can attack. Both teams to score is a 4/7 shout and should also be an odds-on banker. I fancy Southampton to dig in and pick up a point as Arsenal have a habit of dropping points against teams towards the bottom. A draw looks a good bet as does Southampton to come from behind and win or draw at 11/2 as I expect Arsenal to come out firing.

As with all Premier League games don't miss out on our enhanced wincasts on each game. For this we have enhanced Rickie Lambert to score in a Saints win from 5/1 to 7/1. While on the Arsenal front Theo Walcott scoring in a Gunners win is boosted from 8/5 to 2/1!

Best Bets

Over 2.5 goals @ 4/7

Theo Walcott anytime @ Evs

Worth a Punt

Southampton to come from behind and win or draw @ 11/2

2-2 Draw @ 14/1



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