36 mins: Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Willian moves down the right and plays in Pepe gets in a shot that’s block in the box. That’s the best yet from Arsenal with Martinelli impressive in the build up. He’s looked their best player so far and no matter what today’s result is Arsenal can take some positive out of the match.
34 mins: Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Leno clears straight to Ward-Prowse – the high press working well for the hosts – he plays in Ings and Arsenal breathe a sigh of relief clearing for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece Ings has a header peeling away from his marker, the attempt goes just wide.
It’s all Southampton at the moment.
29 mins: Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Arsenal have been limp in attack so far. Pepe is not really involved and their attacks are breaking up too easily. Southampton will be pleased with how the game is going.
27 mins: Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Ings’ volley is goalbound but Bellarin blocks it for a corner. Arsenal need to show some character here – which is what Bellarin did – decent block
GOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Own goal from Gabriel.
Ward-Prowse plays in Walker-Peters on the right, the full-back gets in a great low ball that goes through the legs of Cedric and in trying to deal with the threat Gabriel deflects the ball past Leno and into the back of the net.
Well worked move but fortunate, Leno had that covered.
20 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Arsenal defending deep in numbers, Southampton are seeing most of the ball.
18 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Martinelli is looking sharp at the moment, lively and not like someone just back from injury.
15 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Great chance for Martinelli – the Brazilian times his run from a free-kick brilliantly and is in acres of space in the box BUT he cannot make a decent contact with the ball and Forster collects the ball. That move was very similar to the Southampton one from which Ings scored against Liverpool.
14 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Adams drives at the Arsenal backline, skips past two and fires in low forcing Leno into a fine save. Best chance of the match so far and good play from the Southampton striker
11 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Bellerin gets in a low cross from the right and Southampton deal with it well. Arsenal are seeing a bit more of the ball.
Cedric then gets the ball on the edge of the box and fire high – should have done better, but it wouldn’t have counted as Pepe was deemed to be offside.
9 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Arsenal’s first bit of pressure, Pepe wins a corner. The visitors first serious foray in the match ends up with Pepe’s corner being cleared by Armstrong and the danger for Southampton, that never really materialised, is over.
6 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Bertrand receives a crossfield ball and brings it down with a delightful touch before crossing for Armstrong who heads over. Good early signs for the hosts
3 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Bertrand gets in a decent ball from the left and Cedric heads away for a corner.
Ward-Prowse fizzes one into Ings and it’s another corner. Good early pressure from the hosts.
The next corner nearly goes in – it’s an inswinger that hits the bar. That looked deliberate.
Arsenal then clear then next corner and can breathe…
2 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
Early free-kick for Southampton. Ward-Prowse floats in a ball which Leno rushes out to collect, commanding from the Arsenal keeper.
2 mins: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
I expect Southampton to try get at the visitors early on, they’re the stronger side today and will want to make an early impression.
For those watching in black and white the hosts are in red and Arsenal are in the away dark blue strip.
1 min: Southampton 0-0 Arsenal
We’re under way at St Mary’s, the sun is shining but it is quite cold…
The challenge facing Southampton today
Arsenal have registered five consecutive clean sheets and won four of the past seven FA Cups – impressive
The coaches speak
Ralph Hasenhuttl on his priorities…
“Both matches (today’s Cup clash and next week’s Premier League game) are important us, we want to win both matches.”
Arteta on today’s challenge…
“Today we play in our favourite competition. It’s very much linked to our football club and we have to defend it because we are the winners. But we know we are facing a really tough opponent today.”
Arteta on no Aubameyang…
“He had a personal matter in the last few hours and we had to send him back.”
We all know that Southampton are having a good season and that Ralph Hasenhuttl is one of the best coaches around. Beef up your knowledge of the coach and the south-coast club by reading JJ Bull’s piece on how Southampton have become a Premier League force.
JJ breaks down the side’s impressive campaign so far.
“Southampton are enjoying the benefits of clear vision, excellent coaching, and patience…By letting Ralph Hasenhuttl work his magic and stick to the plan, they have become one of the most difficult teams in the league to play against.”
Here be Arsenal
Arsenal:Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric, Elneny, Xhaka, Pepe, Willian, Martinelli, Nketiah; Subs: Saka, Lacazette, Rúnarsson, Maitland-Niles, Partey, Chambers, David Luiz, Willock, Ryan
So initial impressions – this is definitely a ‘Cup’ selection, there’s no Aubameyang in the squad, Gabriel Martinelli returns after injury problems. He starts up front with Eddie Nketiah in two of seven changes from last week’s league win over Newcastle. Nicolas Pepe and Willian will provide the midfield thrust with Saka on the bench and Smith Rowe not in the squad.
Ralph reveals his cards
Southampton: Forster, Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand, Diallo, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Walcott, Ings, Adams; Subs: Long, Valery, Vokins, Ramsay, N’Lundulu, Lewis, Jankewitz, Watts, Chauke
There are six changes from the side that beat Shrewsbury in the third round in midweek. Danny Ings is back for the first time since scoring the winner against Liverpool. Since then the striker has been recovering from Covid.
It’s a strong side and not too dissimilar to how you’d expect them to line up in the Premier League. Che Adams partners Ings up front, Kyle Walker-Peters and Ryan Bertrand return at full-back, with former Arsenal man Theo Walcott also returning.
The magic of momentum (and the Cup…)
Time always moves quickly in football, but this season it seems to have got itself in a hurry and gone into warp-speed. That can no better be seen than with Arsenal and, to a lesser extent, Southampton.
A month ago Arsenal were in trouble. They looked devoid of ideas and attacking intent and, what’s worse, were losing. Since Boxing Day, however, they have won five matches in all competitions and, much to their fans’ relief, seemingly have found their mojo.
Youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are looking like world-beaters and the more established stars, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney have found their form. Suddenly all is well at the Emirates and the side and fans approach matches without the dread of October and November and in expectation rather than mere misjudged hope.
This season has once again highlighted what a fine coach Ralph Hasenhuttl is. Southampton have looked good and been in and around the top six most of the campaign. But since mid-December – victory over Liverpool aside – they have got into a rut. They have scored just two goals in their past five Premier League matches and fallen back to ninth in the table – one spot and two points above today’s opponents.
This is an FA Cup tie, of course, but matches like these, regardless of how seriously sides take them (more on that later), can add and build momentum. Which considering the pair face each other in the league next week will doubtless be part of the coaches mindset coming into today’s match.
Hasenhuttl says he has no intention of prioritising either game and has simply told his side to win both matches.
“I’d prefer winning both to be honest, if it’s possible we’ll do it, but I know it’s tough,” the Southampton boss said.
“Yes, we have the chance to. On our day we can beat any team in the league, we’ve shown this, especially at home.
“I think this is the goal we have. Yes, tough like always, but not impossible.”
Stay here for the team news and pre-match build up.